Saturday, 17 January 2015

Hello from Coquette Point,

There was no sign of little cassowary Ky for four days last week however, I spotted matriarch cassowary Jessie in the swamp a few times. Snout visited the damson plum tree, Terminallia sericocarpa on a regular basis and when I didn't see Ky with him I thought Snout had left his chick in another area in order for it to establish its own territory.

On Sunday morning I was enjoying a cup of tea when to my astonishment a 'head' poked around the door and looked at me with nothing short of triumphant glee. I was so surprised,  it was Ky.  I jumped to my  camera and saw that Snout was further out at the entrance to the nursery. It was most unusual for Ky to approach me and it seemed that he had come to see me in order to confirm his landmarks and his territory. Almost to say,"Here I am, Yeh!"

I watched as Snout and Ky walked to the pandanus and damson plum trees to feed.

On Monday morning Snout and Ky were still together. They walked to the damson plum, ate the fallen fruits then disappeared into the swamp. Ky was not happy and was whistling and seemed agitated.                                        

Then I saw matriarch cassowary Jessie in the swamp she was drinking water in big noisy gulps, sucking it into her beak then throwing her neck back, opening her beak and funnelling the water down her neck. However, she made no attempt to approach Snout although she must have seen him and heard Ky's whistles of alarm.            

Snout and Ky disappeared into the rainforest and it was easy to see them both as Ky's neck colours were now strong enough to identify him as he moved through the trees following his dad.

On Wednesday a loud, long pathetic whistle could be heard coming from the shrubs along the driveway. I found Ky by himself sitting in the shade, crying. He did not move when I approached and he stayed there for over three hours.  Then he walked away and into the rainforest alone, constantly whistling a cry for his dad.
He was alone again.

On Thursday morning, a very hot day, I found Ky sitting in the water all alone but not whistling. He sat in the water for two hours looking around at every noise. Eventually he left the water, shook himself off and disappeared into the rainforest. I have not seen him since and can only think he has gone searching for his dad, Snout.

The pandanus fruits continue to fall and are not being eaten nor are the fallen damson plum fruits eaten.  It appears that none of the cassowaries have been around since Thursday.

In the next episode of Coquette Point's Coquettish Cassowaries perhaps we will discover if Ky finds his dad and what will happen if Snout is courting Jessie again?

Meanwhile, the yellow-spotted honeyeater is having a feast. The spectacular pink flowers of the  butterly tree, Melicope elleryana offers an abundance of nectar to both birds and insects. Yellow spotted honeyeater drinks his fill then stealthily waits to catch his second course of sweet insects. The blossoms of the bandicoot berry, Leea indica are also providing nectar for the birds and the insects.

 The pied impĂ©rial pigeons are growing fat on the fruits of the damson plum. Their huge claws enabling them to easily grasp branches both large and small as they flutter through the canopy.

When feasting is done they along with the metallic starlings often sit and socialise in the branches of the paperbark trees. Both the PIPs and the metallic starlings are social birds and while they happily feed in the same trees and on the same fruits they seem to extend this good nature to each other during resting time.

Down on the beach striated heron's huge feet are of great advantage as he negotiates slippery rocks looking for a small pool of water holding a captured fish or two.

On the beach horn-eyed ghost crab is busy filtering the sand looking for nutrients. However, given the opportunity this little fella will eat anything he finds on the beach, dead or alive. Crabs are scavengers and play an important role in cleaning the sand and removing carrion
                                                                                   from the beach.

Lesser sand plover numbers have increased in the last few weeks. These little birds go from resting in the tide line debris to running flat out chasing crabs on the beach in the mid-day sun.

They appear to play with the crabs they are catching. Then for the joy of it they run and chase each other along the sand.

Life can be fun even for a small shorebird. So we can also by example run and jump for joy to celebrate the day.

Cheers for this week and enjoy the gifts that nature offers all around us.


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