Saturday, 7 June 2014

Hello from Coquette Point,

June is the calendar start of winter but you would never know it. For the past month we have experienced days of 27 to 28 degrees and night time temps of 23. Drizzly warm rain has been falling and there is no sign of the dry season. The sugar-cane harvest was to start this week but rain will seriously disrupt the cut and delay the start-up of the sugar mills.

On Thursday I saw cassowary Jessie for the first time in two weeks since she was chased by dogs.
Jessie had Snout on her mind and she appeared to be stalking him. She walked down the road, out onto the lawn behind the house and towards the rainforest. As she approached she stretched to her full height while looking into the trees. Jessie pushed her way into the rainforest. I heard but could not see little Ky whistling in alarm.

Snout took one look at Jessie and lunged at her. Little Ky ran for his life and Jessie ran off chased by Snout uttering loud fearsome honking sounds.

Snout returned quickly and reunited with Ky, walked away through the trees as if nothing had happened.

Jessie is showing every indication that she is inviting Snout to commence courtship. Snout is not ready and is only concerned for the welfare of Ky, he wants nothing to do with Jessie. Poor Jessie, rejection is tough.

In the warm weather insects are mating and laying eggs.

Normally the lemon migrant butterflies mate in early spring but in their confusion with the weather they are mating now.

The North Queensland day moth population is stirring and they have been very active feeding in the golden pends blossoms and in the sweet bottle-brushes of callistemon salignus.

Spiderlings are hatching in the warm air. The small orb weaving spiders, pictured, are covering a communal web of grey gossamer. If you touch the web thousands of spiders respond and move away from the perceived danger. The web becomes one moving mass of spiders.

The sticky web picks up pollen grains or other windblown items that are food for the spiderlings. The sticky silk will absorb moisture from the air, which condenses and provides water for the spiderlings.

If you look closely you can see some small cast-skins from the spiderlings first moult still on the sticky web.

The days ahead will hold many dangers for these small creatures as wasps, flies, mantis and other spiders will all try to eat them

This giant mantid's eyes were too big for his belly as he struggled to hold a large fruit piercing moth. The moth was fluttering its wings making a clapping sound. Perhaps the moth was too big or the mantid was frightened off by my interest as it dropped the moth before I could get better focus on them.

Katydids are laying eggs in the foliage of the plants. This leaf katydid had her head down pushing hard as she deposited her egg-sack.

Her amazing camouflage making her hard to see even against the brightly coloured leaves of the dracaena.

The creatures of the forest think spring is in the air.

The crested hawks have been on a feeding frenzy above the nursery. This crested hawk plucked a large giant mantid from a branch took it to his favourite log, spat out the tough parts of the mantid before tackling the soft tasty bits.

While his mate caught a frog and ate every bit of it.

The magpie larks are keeping cutworm under control in the lawn. Their cheerful song evidence of a full stomach.

The beautiful rainbow bee-eaters are flying in squadrons scooping up insects as they criss-cross the skies in the updrafts from the rainforest.

On the beach the waves are crashing ashore as the strong winds continue to lash the coastline for another week.

Resident crested terns, beach-stone curlews and some gull-billed terns  hang out on the exposed sand banks at low tide.

Three Pacific Golden Plovers have remained to winter over at Coquette Point. They share the beach with dozens of little red-capped plovers.

Two resident Pied oyster catches search for crabs at the waters edge, ready to plunge their large red beaks into the sand at the first indication of movement.

I watched a beach stone curlew run along the waters edge but did not fly. Perhaps it was a ploy to disturb a meal.

As I walked back I noticed movement on the rookery and saw several red-capped plovers.

A little ball of fur ran out from the rookery onto the sand in front of me. I quickly walked away.

As I left the beach and entered the mangroves I noticed that kingfisher had started making a nest in a termite mound and sure enough I saw him close by in the mangroves.

Dr Jenny Gilbert and the crew from the Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre visited Flatback Slaty today. He was carefully examined and photographed. Jenny will be sending some of her special turtle food for us to try on Slaty Jenny said he needs to gain weight.

Friday 11 June is World Population Day. The most important single thing we can do to help create a truly sustainable world is to voluntarily choose to have no more than one child.

Go to:-

Mark these dates if you are interested in the history of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest.  From July 3 to 5 a Conference of Rainforest and Reef Stories will be held at Ninney Rise, Mission Beach.

Go to:-  for all the details and to book for the Conference.

Cheers for this week,


1 comment:

  1. Hi Yvonne, wonderful photos as always. I was particularly impressed by the egg-laying Katydid, the Bee-eater and the waders. The Beach Stone-Curlew is one of my favourite birds but something of a rarity in SE QLD.

    Interesting and slightly alarming to see the animals respond to unusual weather. I saw a Common Bronzewing building a nest yesterday, a whole month earlier than its listed breeding season.