We’ve had some fairly hot and humid weather which is usual for this time of the year but watching the storm clouds build yesterday afternoon was something of a relief. In the morning I could hear a lot of Magpie Geese honking – so I left the weeding job in the vegetable garden and walked down to the hide on Graham’s pond where one group of about 60 birds had our single resident Jacana skipping around the outskirts of the flock probably feeling overwhelmed by the noisy invasion. There were 4 Wandering Whistling Ducks tucked away in a quiet corner but no sign of the Spotted W.Ds, however I wasn’t too concerned as there are many out-of-site channels and ponds. Later in the day Allen, who has been working in a different part of the property, reported both Wandering and Spotted W.Ds in the same vicinity. Although they were near each other, Allen said that when disturbed, the 4 WWDs gathered close together and moved away.
The gathering storm clouds passed us by, the huge flock of visiting geese departed and sultry conditions persisted until a welcome 52 mm of rain during the night. A quick check of Graham’s pond this morning before we left for a day in Cairns resulted in a count of 10 Spotted W.Ds enjoying some peace and quiet. We’ll have a good look around tomorrow but we often find the Wandering Whistling Ducks will leave as soon as there is a decent shower of rain.
The big questions are – will the Spotted Whistling Ducks remain in the local area?
– we know they rest on branches during the day, do they roost at night?
– and if they do, where do they roost?
After a few months of dry and cool weather, including some nights that were actually quite cold, the air temperature is beginning to rise. Brown-backed Honeyeaters (Ramsayornis modestus) have returned to breed and some nest construction has already commenced with our stands of Paperbarks (various Melaleuca species) providing their favourite nest building material. Metallic Starlings (Aplonis metallica) are increasing in number as they also return from their northern wintering grounds with nest renovations already underway in their traditional nesting tree high on the ridge. Continue reading
During a recent morning walk when I just happened to spend a few minutes in our hide…. I wondered why a pair of Pacific Black Duck took off in hurried flight. As I sat there pondering their sudden departure a pair of Dingoes came into view. I wasn’t quick enough to photograph them together but the other was black with a white blaze on its chest, not an unusual colouring for Dingoes in our area. We know they’re around as we sometimes hear them howling at night but their presence poses a dilemma. We actively discourage pig dogs from hunting on our property as they will chase /hunt anything including our resident Swampy Wallabies, Bandicoots and any ground dwelling birds.
The following morning I took the next photo in which you can see Magpie Geese occupying the same ground as the Dingoes the previous day, there is also a pair of Latham’s Snipe enjoying this same area, (they’ve been there for several weeks now but they are not in the photo!)
We understand that a healthy functioning ecosystem includes predators and although it is sometimes difficult to watch when a particular favourite animal becomes another’s meal we usually follow our policy of non-intervention. The exception to this rule is discouraging the Black Butcherbirds from feeding on our verandah frogs!
We recently watched a BB killing quite a large Green Tree snake which was rather sad as the snake was badly injured when we saw it and it takes quite a while for the Butcherbird to kill it. The BB’s young were waiting for another feed, although they are almost full size they still follow the parents around and beg for food – so I do feel some sympathy for the BB parents.
Back to the dingo dilemma – as our 40 hectares is close to the Dagmar Range of the Greater Daintree National Park as well as having the long frontage on Barratt Creek which is part of the Daintree River system, we feel that our property is only part of the home range of the Dingoes and while we may notice some impact from time to time we will leave them in peace.