Wildlife Visitors in February

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardener Says ….

And so we see the end of February and another hot month of summer. What a shocker it’s been, too. Record high temperatures broken all over the country. It’s been very dry where I live in Queensland so let’s hope autumn brings some welcome rain and cooler temperatures (especially as the air conditioner in the house broke down on the last day of February and no one can come and check it out until the weekend!!).

First up, here are a few interesting insects I came across during the month.

Native Stingless Bee on a lotus lily in our pond
Native Stingless Bee on a lotus lily in our pond
Hoverfly
Hoverfly
Giant Green Slantface Grasshopper
Giant Green Slantface Grasshopper
A female wandering percher dragonfly
A female wandering percher dragonfly

I was able to get a great short video of the dragonfly pictured above washing her face, so if you’d like to see her up close and personal, click here.

There was lots of possum activity too, although much of it happened late at night when it was a lot cooler. Lately, they seem to be enjoying running up and down our tin roof!

There is a female possum that visits regularly with a little joey in her pouch and I got a glimpse of it one night when she stood up on her back legs when she heard a noise. I saw a couple of legs and part of a cute little face at the front of the pouch and it was just starting to grow fur. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a photo and this was the best I could get – Mum in action munching on banana and licking her face, but if you look closely, you can just make out something in the pouch behind her front left leg.

I did manage to grab a quick video of Mum as she went past on another night, banana in mouth. She’s pretty agile with a baby on board! I love how she negotiates the poles on the railing.

And another female possum and her older joey have returned to the possum box. They’re such characters, I always give them a bit of fruit when I see them. Here are a few pictures of them in the box.

And I think this possum is a young female that may have been one of the little joeys we used to see around, but she’s old enough to be out on her own now. She’s been in the box a few times. On this occasion, she stuck her head out of the box, saw me, then climbed out and waited for her treat. Here’s a short video compilation I made of her taking the banana, munching on it, then getting up close to the camera after more food.

Birdwise, the usual crowd is still around, I just wasn’t able to get any photos of them all this time. We still have the magpies, rainbow lorikeets, pied butcherbirds, grey butcherbirds and pied currawongs, torresian crows, and of course the noisy miners are always around.

I did, however, get to see a new bird in February, a Pacific Baza. It’s a type of hawk with a large crest on its head and it has the most remarkable coloured banding on its front. You can just make out the remains of a meal the bird has been eating if you look closely at the bird’s talons in the photo. I was able to watch two of these magnificent raptors fly around, dive down and catch prey, perch on a gum tree branch and eat their meal, all the while listening to their calls. It was amazing. If you want to see some more photos and video of these birds, click here to see my previous post.

Pacific Baza
Pacific Baza

If you’ve been following my blog, you might recall I have been sharing videos and photos of a family of kookaburras over the last few months or so. I have this short video I took on 25 February 2017 of one of the parent kookaburras with a toad in their beak. It’s quite funny watching the juvenile kookaburra looking on with interest, clearly hoping it’s going to be given to them to eat. I was, however, concerned about the kookaburras eating the toad because it looks like it’s a cane toad. For those who don’t know, cane toads are an introduced species to Australia and they are extremely invasive, we have heaps of them around here in Queensland where I live and are an absolute pest.  This toad has a poisonous toxin that will ooze through their skin at the back of their head as a defence mechanism, and sometimes it will squirt the venom. Animals die quickly from eating them. I didn’t get to see if any of the birds ate the toad because it flew off with it. Thankfully, I saw all four members of the kookaburra family the following day, so I don’t know if they ended up not eating the toad, or maybe they know how to eat it without getting the poison, as some native birds and animals seem to be gradually learning to do.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you liked seeing my wildlife visitors to my backyard. 🙂

 

16 thoughts on “Wildlife Visitors in February

  1. WOW, how cute and adorable those possums are, they make me smile! Love that sticking tongue out shot! Awesome insect captures, the first one in the purple flower is a stunning photo! Great post Sue!

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    1. Thanks Donna. It’s been fascinating watching the family of kookaburras, getting to see the young ones just out of the nest and growing up, learning from their parents.

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    1. Thanks Denis. I think the brushies all have different personalities too. Like you, I can hear noises on the roof or on the wall as they climb trees alongside the house on their way to the veranda for a snack before venturing off into the night. Some are like clockwork!

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  2. A great post, Sue! Your little possums are quite charming. I leave out apple pieces for my squirrels, but have never hand fed them; it was fun to see the possum munching on the banana. Interesting about the kookaburras and the toad. I wonder if mom was teaching the youngster and if they disgarded the toad after catch and kill? Your insect shots were wonderful, I especially like the bee in the water lily–sigh, a beautiful shot! Thanks for joining in this month!

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    1. Thanks Tina. A few of our visiting possums are quite friendly, I guess they must be used to humans. One possum waits at the glass sliding door on the veranda on her visits and almost comes inside the house when you open the door to give her a bit of fruit!

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  3. I love your possum photos and the Grasshopper was great too. Maybe when the Kookaburra bashes the toad all the toxin is released. It’s very clever if they have somehow managed a way to eat them safely, I believe Crows flip them over and eat the belly.

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    1. Hi Sue, I have also heard about the crows and the way they eat these toads. Maybe the kookies learned off them. It’s a terrible thing that we introduced the cane toad and now it’s out of control. When will we ever learn?

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      1. I was disgusted when we were at Undara and there were the first signs of Cane Toads in the lava tubes. Instead of doing something about them the authorities were measuring the impact. I’ll bet now they wish they could turn back the clock!

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  4. Love the possum shots they are so cute, that little guy you fed was coming out for more. I had heard that many Kookas have died from eating Cane Toads, so it would be good to know if this one survives. Your macro shots of the insects are great too Sue. Great Baza shots, still waiting for our local one to appear, my young birder friend has seen it several times.

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    1. Thanks Ashley. It would be good if the kookie parents had learned how to eat cane toads safely and were teaching the young ones. I am still seeing all 4 kookaburras in the family so they are all well. Hope you get to see a Pacific Baza soon!

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