Friday, 19 October 2012

Hello from Coquette Point,

One would think that people who walk along a beach would be aware of the wildlife on the beach, which they cannot fail to see. You would think they are walking the beach to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the total beach environment. Sadly, it is not always so.

Access to Coquette Point beach is through the Wet Tropics esplanade and the Wet Tropics has the same management criteria as National Parks: no dogs. Three months ago both the Council sign showing 'no dogs allowed' and the Wet Tropics sign, describing the Coquette Point, mangrove esplanade  were vandalised. The Council sign was repaired but sadly this week it has been vandalised again.
The evidence of dog prints are everywhere on the beach and sand dunes. It is evident the dogs are chasing and harrassing the shore-birds.  As I walked beside the Coquette Point rookery late Friday afternoon I saw five red-necked plovers nesting on the rookery, I saw whimbrels and other seabirds  nesting on the rookery and although I walked down by the low-water mark the birds were very nervous and flew at the sight of me.
                    On the mudflats I watched sanderlings feeding.
Whimberals bathing in the estuary.
Red capped dotterels feeding in the surf.
I was surprised to see how much sand had been washed into the estuary from the strong south-easterly winds we have been experiencing over the last 10 days.
The mangrove forest in front of the dunes which protected the massive, brackish mangrove lagoons of Coquette Point from cyclonic weather events, have all but washed away. This has happened over the last few months of constant strong south-easterly winds.
Matriarch cassowary Jessie is in full courtship with Snout
and every day I see them walking together somewhere at Coquette Point. This is their second courtship this season. Tragedy struck Snout's chicks just after they hatched about two months ago. So it is surprising to see him preparing to undertak the arduous task of nesting again.
Snout waits while Jessie drinks.
Every night Snout leads Jessie into the rain forest.
It is so beautiful to watch Snout's devotion to Jessie. In the photo above I watched them both eating, Snout finished his fruit and he stood and waited, for some ten minutes, while Jessie continued to eat. Snout then led Jessie into the mangrove forest.
Orchard Swallow-tail caterpillars are
munching on the leaves of citrus trees in my orchard.
I leave them alone they do no harm
and the citrus trees possible benefit from the light prune. How wonderful it is to see the beautiful, orchard swallow-tail butterfly laying her eggs on the leaves of the citrus trees.
There are lots of jumping spiders around in the spring warmth. I see them everywhere hunting for tasty insects around my plants.
I think Jumping spiders are fascinating.
Robber flies have also been hunting actively in the nursery, catching honey bees and wasps.
It took this robber-fly six minutes to suck the juices from the bee.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos can cause a lot of damage in an orchard. However, if you plant their natural food-trees you will find they are their preference. In my rain forest sulphur-crested cockatoos are competing with the metallic starlings to feast on the fruits of the macarangas.
Mosquitoes are starting to fly at night, as sure sign of an approaching wet-season, and to balance take advantage of this food source, dragon-flies have hatched in large numbers. When there is imbalance, left alone, nature will sort it out.
I am off now to 'bloodie Wertz's' wake in Mossman. Have a drink tonight for Jim!
cheers Yvonne.

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