Saturday, 14 September 2013

Hello from Coquette Point,

The migratory rainforest birds have returned to north Queensland following their holiday in Batavia.

The first to return to Coquette Point was the Pied Imperial Pigeon. Their pure white feathers shining in the bright sunlight, these birds return to Far North Queensland to breed. I am sure it is not coincidental that this is also the time of maximum productivity in the rainforest and the birds have lots to choose from with most fig trees in full fruit as well as many of the lilly-pillies'.

The metallic starlings have also returned and large flocks of these active birds can be seen busily searching for food trees.                                          Before they start their day's activities the birds leave their nest and sit in the highest trees to warm themselves; the cool mornings not completely to their likings.                          With the arrival of these birds the sound-scape has totally changed. The early mornings are greeted by the welcoming coos of Pied Imperial Pigeon, the days are busy with the charter of hundreds of metallic startling and every now and again the loud urgent warning call of the Indian Koel remains us the storm-season is approaching. 

-from the lower branches on the fig tree they call to each other with songs of alarm and distress. It is obvious they know this bird is a cuckoo and the female Indian koel will be on the lookout for other bird's nests.

The  matriarchs of Coquette Point got together today. Aunty Clara Mow bottom right, Dolly Cassidy on her left and Patsy Mow and myself behind. The girls, including Charlene Dennis who took the photo came to visit me on a day out for Clara. Clara has lived at Coquette Point for 86 years and has many tales to tell of the early days of Innisfail. Bye the way Clara is still as wicked as ever, according to Dolly!               Today was a day for visitors and the tide brought in my nephew (in-law) Martin. Martin and his wife  Lucy have been teaching in Gove for the last ten years and are now heading for Tasmania. Since I last saw Martin he has added three beautiful children to his family.  The children had great fun today exploring the 'Magic Far-away Tree' and searching for crabs on the beach.

Green ants are very active at the moment and new nests are being constructed on almost every tree. 
The green-ants are also very busy in stocking their larders. Small armies of ants are marching captured insects into their nests for consumption.
A zodic moth is captured by green ants.                   

I photographed two more new species (to me) of jumping spider this week. A small brown jumping spider.

And this fawn coloured medium-sized jumping spider brings to 16 species of Salticidae photographed by me at Coquette Point.

Matriarch Cassowary Jessie is walking alone again and there is no sign of her consort 'Snout'
'Q' turned up this week to gobble up the fruits of the fig tree.
By the cropped shape of 'Q's rear feathers it is quite clear 'Q' is a female. The tail feather on a male cassowary hang low.  I thought I'd rename her 'Quine' if everyone is happy with that.  The distinct shape and markings of her wattle make 'Quine' easy to identify.

The short tail feathers can be clearly seen in this photo of 'Quine'
'Quine' is travelling some distance each day to visit the fig tree as I am finding scats containing walnut and cassowary plum; these trees are over the hills from here in the Moresby Range National Park. 
The warm weather this week has developed the molasses nectar in the flowers of the Golden Bouquet Tree, Deplanchea tetraphylla, and many insects and birds are lining up to drink from the flower's cups of sweet black nectar.
How beautiful is nature's design?                  

Friar bird dips his large beak into the flower's cup.

The delicate perfumed flowers of the white cedar Melia azedarach have open to the warm sun and their poisonous yellow berries will soon appear.  
A little bit of fresh in the Johnstone River from some good rain coupled with warm weather has brought to the surface the worms and crabs in the sand and mudflats.
In places the sand-flats appeared alive with the flashing of the claws of the male yellow-clawed fiddler crab.
Pied oyster-catcher found a bed of worms and 
some worms  were a bit of a handful for him as they did their best to escape.

Before he gulped the worms down whole.

Pelicans marched one, two, three.
Grey-tailed tattlers put their heads in the sand.

Sand plovers examined seaweed.

More Pacific Golden Plovers arrived in breeding plumage.

On the Palmerston Ian and Lois Laidlaw report  that cassowaries are re-establishing along the creek lines on the South Johnstone River. Ian travelled downstream towards the junction of the River with a creek from his property and saw many cassowary scats and one sub-adult cassowary. Ian commented 'It was interesting to watch the young cassowary paddling along the creek-line to avoid fallen trees, a skill it has had to use all of its short life'. 
With the warm and wet weather early in the week Ian commented that in his experience he has never seen so many frogs and night tigers so early in the season. The chorus of frogs at night is deafening and the snakes are getting froggy dinners easily.   Thanks for the beautiful photos Ian.   Lois told me you run around with the camera at 2am in order to get these photos: its worth it Ian and thank you.
Cheers from Coquette Point,
Yvonne C.

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