Thursday, 28 November 2013

Hello from under the monsoon,

Rain, heat, humidity, thunderstorms and mosquitoes; it's the Monsoon Season in north Queensland,
and of course a cyclone has been around. Cyclone Alessia formed over the Kimberly Coast last week and on Thursday moved into the Gulf of Carpentaria, it is now heading south as a rain depression bringing drought breaking rain to parched areas of western Queensland. As the Monsoon moves over us we are left in a vacuum of humid calm. Relief can be found by collecting a bucket of mangoes, sitting out under a shady tree and enjoying; its called 'mango madness'. It feels so good when the sweat from the brow blends with the dripping juices of ripe mango.

Matriarch Cassowary
 Jessie is also having her fill of mangoes and wax jambus. Tropical fruits are ripening in the summer heat and without doubt they are the energy foods designed for summer. Sour sop, Jack fruit, guava, pawpaw, banana, pineapples, passion fruit, dragon fruit, gramachanna, star apple and many more. A summer feast for all and plenty for Jessie and her friends.

There is still lots of rainforest fruits available and only that Jessie has taken to a spot of fishing again
that I see her when she tracks through the orchard and has a feed on the way. In the photo on the right  I found Jessie returning from the mangroves, note the wet mud on her feet. I have seen cassowary footprints on the beach every visit  as it is cassowary crabbing season.

Liz G came out to Coquette Point this week and shot a video of cassowary 'Q' eating from a strawberry tree in the front yard of a house at the top of the range. The fruits, although small, are very sweet and a particular favourite of the cassowaries.

The crocodiles are up and out of the water they appear to be moving into the swamps to nest. I saw a very large slide and a waller on one of my dawn walks. No sign of the crocodile but the marks were below the high tide mark so were no more than a few hours old.

Now, while you think I'm  reckless walking at dawn in the mangroves,  let me say after my brush with leptospirosis last year, it put things into perspective for me, while one must not take stupid risks, at least crocodiles are big enough to see, whereas the bacteria that almost took my life last year can't be seen by the naked eye. I know what I'm most concerned about. Meanwhile, millions are being spent in removing crocodiles from our waterways and little is spent on programs to lessen the risk of tropical bacterial diseases like leptospirosis.

                                               Another exciting
week with jumping spiders and I photographed four new ones, at least for me.

 The little fella on the right was as large as my fingernail and iridescent. Even the green stripes across his head shone in the sunlight and the iridescent colour extended to his legs and yellow palps.  I have photographed a similar jumping spider before but I believe this one is the other sex. I think it is Cosmophasis micarioides, however the palps of this species are described as white whereas this little fella has iridescent yellow palps.

The beauty on the left is quite large and I think it is Cytaea xanthopus. He was easy to photograph, not jumping around as most spiders do, I found him on a sour-sop fruit tree.

Jumping spiders are so diverse in their colours, forms and size. The jumping spider, right, is no  bigger than the hair on my arm.

This metallic blue spider tends to like man made structures and is often seen around houses.  I have photographed the male of this species before but not, until now, the female.

Meanwhile, the male white flower spider is on the hunt in my day lilies.

He hides upside down on the pollen filament waiting for an insect to feast and he doesn't need to wait long.

A tiny native bee its legs covered in pollen is easy prey for Mr White-flower spider.

Meanwhile Mrs White-flower spider has built a nest.
Most days she strides the nest in a protective manner. But, the slightest drop of rain sends her into the shelter.

This is the third week of her nesting and no sign of spiderlings. I check on her two or three times a day and I have never seen her hunting or eating during this time of her retreat.

Mrs Butcher bird is at her vocal best as she patiently sets on eggs in the hollow of a paper bark tree, melaleuca leucadendra, when she leaves the nest she vocalises her intention to the male and he replies to her call with a long melodic song. The pair hunt together in nearby trees before she returns to the nest.

On other occasions, particularly early in the morning following the arrival of the foraraging metallic starlings the female butcher bird leaves her nest and sits under the, butterfly plant, macaranga tanarius while watching the starlings and quickly eating the shower of macaranga seed falling from the carless starling's feeding.

Butcher birds have a bad reputation for eating other small birds particularly sun birds, however, they have a varied diet which also includes fruit, seed, insects and reptiles.

When I heard the cries of a frog this week I went to investigate and found butcher bird on the attack. When he saw me he released the frog and a sore and sorry white lipped tree frog made her escape to the pond.

Butcher birds are no angles but their melodious notes are elaborate and delivered in such a way that I have no doubt of their ability to communicate complex messages; if only I could understand.

White-lipped tree frog recovered from her injuries and is still in the pond protected by the waterlily pads.

The Coquette Point fishing mates continue to fish together at sunrise on the beach. Black Bitten observing from a distance and waiting for the opportunity of a carless fish moving close to her while Pelican and Little Black Cormorant pair up for mutual benefit. 

The gull-billed terns are still sleeping on the sandbar at night and fly to the freshwater wetlands every morning.

Only four Little Terns have arrived at Coquette Point this year. These birds are endangered through loss of habitat and it makes me very cross when I see some locals, still ignoring the signs and walking their dogs over the shorebird rookery. Some people have such a small heart they cannot bring themselves to care for little birds that travel thousands of kilometres to lay their eggs on our beaches.  Soon there will be nowhere for birds like the little terns to breed, what an indictment on our society!

Jeanett Dall sent me some photos of her bush stone curlews at Flying Fish Point. The curlews come into Jeanett's backyard and enjoy a bath in a saucer. It is surprising to see how relaxed the chick is laying down with its legs splayed out. Thank you Jeanett for sharing these photos.

Who wouldn't want a swim in this hot weather?

Last week our 'Get Up Day of Climate Action' had a very colourful  and positive attendance and we planted trees around the Turtle Triage Centre. Above left to right, Jenny Dall, James Epong, Margaret Worrall, Henry Epong, Steve Epong and Nellie Epong.

                                                                                              Mandy Walsh joined us and said she wants climate action now.

 Greg Neville, Ruth Lipscombe and Brenda Neville shouted out loud for Climate Action. I won't repeat everything Ruth had to say!!!!!!

Good rain and a few thunderstorms this week has sent the frogs into  mating mania. The frog choir is in full swing and I don't think they will stop performing until the wet season is over.

High school students have finished for the year and it never fails as soon as years 11 & 12 are out young hoons use the Coquette Point Road as a racetrack. Hopefully the Anti-hoon Legislation will catch up with them before they hurt themselves or another road user.

One car has some damage as it collided with our beautiful new sign. I hope the damage to the vehicle was costly to repair.

                                                                         Enjoy the wet season,

1 comment:

  1. Love your post again Yvonne - so varied and interesting. The metallic blue jumper is similar or identical to one that I saw earlier this year at Airlie Beach. I identified is as 'Cosmophasis micans' so check that out and see if it matches.

    Happy you rescued the Tree Frog from the Butcherbird (the latter of which I also saw for the first at Airlie) - sometimes a little interfering with nature can be the right thing to do.

    Also glad that there was a turnout for Climate Change Action up north. I attended in Brisbane and it was nice to be reminded that I'm not the only one who is sceptical of the direction our Government is taking.