Tag Archives: Wompoo Fruit-dove

Wet but not awash

Wonderful to have such good rains in late December just as the ground was becoming really hard and dry – while some may find the humidity taxing it is, to me, infinitely preferably to the crackly, tinder dry atmosphere that precedes so many horrific fires.  There is also the bonus of hydrated skin which I am sure makes me look years younger than I appear in dry climates!

After a couple of weeks away enjoying festivities with children and grandchildren we were delighted to return and find Spotted Whistling ducks were temporarily resident on our wetland.   Since 2012 these ducks have made an appearance at Wild Wings & Swampy Things during the summer months – some years they have stayed for a few weeks but last year they were only sighted on one day.  It is always a good feeling to see birds return and especially when they are feeding and roosting here.

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Spotted Whistling duck posing before taking off for the night

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Roosting in a tree on the edge of the wetland

One of the other surprises was to find that the Wompoo fruit dove, nesting above our driveway, had steadfastly stayed on its nest through heavy rain and hatched its baby.  It has a long way to go yet, the parents will have to be on their guard to protect it from a pair of Black Butcherbirds.

Wompoo Fruit-dove on nest

Wompoo Fruit-dove on nest – youngster not visible

Wompoo Fruit-dove nestling

Wompoo Fruit-dove nestling

I forgot to mention that all the photos were taken by Allen.

Feathered Palm with Feathered Friends

Alexandra Palms (Archontophoenix alexandrae) provide a valuable food source for many fruit eating birds in the wet tropics of the Daintree region.  Native to this area the palms germinate easily and a fruiting palm usually has many young palms at its base.  For many months Alexandra palms have been providing a source of fruit, so for a long period our garden has been full of colour, movement and the soft ‘wuk, wuk’ of Wompoo Fruit-doves as they enjoy the plentiful fruit along with Fig birds and Orioles.   There was a regular Wompoo visiting some palms in front of our verandah where we enjoy morning coffee so it was quite entertaining to watch its reaction to the other birds eating from the same panicle of fruit.

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Wompoo with female Figbird above, male Figbird below

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Figbird grabs fruit while upside-down

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Wompoo gulps down another

However, in the last few weeks the dynamics of the garden have changed dramatically since the return of Metallic starlings from their winter sojourn further north.  The fruiting palms in our front garden have been stripped by flocks of these voracious feeders as the slower eating Wompoos made hopeless attempts to discourage them.

The Wompoos are now making the most of the fruiting Quandongs (Elaeocarpus angustifolius) – their blue fruit is also popular with Top-knot pigeons and Cassowarys,  and being much larger in size it is not consumed by Metallic Starlings.

Fruit-eaters in the garden

Photography has been quite a challenge recently – poor light conditions as well as an exceedingly damp atmosphere.   Last week  I thought I might have to test my abilities to write some descriptive prose without the benefit of colour illustrations.   However, luckily we have had a couple of sunny days ………………….

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The first photo shows a Wompoo Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus magnificus) eating the fruit of a Bandicoot Berry (Leea indica) which just happens to be growing not far from our verandah.  From this angle, in the subdued afternoon light, you can see how the Wompoo blends so well into its environment but in the next shot this gorgeous plump pigeon is displaying its rich purple chest and golden yellow underparts.  Wompoos have a variety of strange calls, their common name is somewhat descriptive of a call one often hears in the forest but when they are feeding we mostly hear ‘puck, puck’ which triggers our response to  race for the camera!

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The Bandicoot Berry is a fast growing large native shrub, which fruits frequently and Continue reading