Watching Devils At Tasmania Zoo

About a 25 minute scenic drive out of Launceston in Tasmania you will find Tasmania Zoo. The day I visited, it was a very cold winter’s morning, and most of the animals seemed to be hidden away sleeping and waiting out the cold. But there was plenty of action and entertainment from the six Tasmanian devils at the zoo.

For those who aren’t aware, Tasmanian devils are a native Australian animal and are endemic to Tasmania. They are critically endangered because of the terrible and fatal Devil Facial Tumour Disease. For more details about this amazing species and its struggle to survive click here to read one of my earlier posts.

First up, here are some photos of the devils enjoying some winter warmth in the sunshine.

At one point two devils had something to say to each other.

Having a scratch

What a cutie!
What a face!
I smell food!
Where’s the food already!

One of the animal keepers turned up with a big bucket of pieces of wallaby for the devils to eat. Watching tassie devils eat is quite an experience. It’s noisy and looks violent at times, but they all work together tugging at the food to help break it up making it easier to eat. And they eat everything – fur and bones included!

I love the keeper’s tassie devil hat!

The hopping or jumping thing the devils do in this video is something I’ve never seen before, it was so funny. And that little opportunistic devil at the end of the video was quite devillish! 😀

It wasn’t too long before all the food had been eaten. One of the devils came up to the keeper for cuddles and we were able to have a quick pat of the devil while she was occupied playfully chewing on the keeper’s hand. Then she was put on the ground but she wanted some more attention!

Tasmanian devils are such fascinating creatures, I could watch them all day!

If you love devils as much as I do, why not consider joining the Tasmanian Devil Network? I’m the administrator of the group on Facebook and would love to have you on board. Click here to join or click here to find out more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watching Me Watching It

eastern water dragon

With the hot summer days comes the appearance of the local lizards, mainly the eastern water dragons, usually spotted lying in the afternoon sun on the warm pavers.

One afternoon I came across a male dragon who was basking in the sun on a pile of overgrown rubbish down the paddock.

eastern water dragon

If you take a closer look, these reptiles really do remind me of a dragon.

eastern water dragon

 

eastern water dragon

 

eastern water dragon

This water dragon continued to watch me watching him while I paused to take a few snapshots as I moved around him.

eastern water dragon

 

eastern water dragon

I’m sure he was hoping I would keep on walking away so he didn’t have to move out of his sunny position. No worries there old fella!

 

 

 

 

 

Tasty Afternoon Treat

What could be more Aussie than feasting on prawns on the Australia Day long weekend? 😀 But then afterwards there’s the rearranging of the freezer to fit a bag of prawn heads and shells until it’s bin collection day. Well, over this long weekend, I got rid of some prawn leftovers in a most interesting way!

As you may know, there is a family of kookaburras that hang out around my place a lot. Since they were hanging around the veranda, we put a few prawn heads on the railing to see if they would like to eat them. One of the adults investigated them, picked one up, and after a bit of juggling in its beak, downed it in one go. It then got another prawn head, flew over to the juvenile, proceeded to eat it in front of him, then flew off into the gum tree. I threw a couple of prawn bits and pieces over to the young kookaburra and here’s what happened –

Yum! It went down so fast I didn’t get a photo! Not too surprising really, since kookaburras are part of the kingfisher family who eat fish.

Although I was surprised to find that the kookas weren’t the only ones interested in the prawns. I could not believe it when the big eastern water dragon scurried out from its hiding place towards a piece that had fallen on the ground and started getting in on the action.

Mmmm tasty! 🙂

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in December 2017

December was a busy time leading up to Christmas, and it was hot, but I do have some wildlife visitors to share with you. And I am really excited to introduce you to several brand new visitors in my backyard! 🙂

The kookaburras have become regular visitors once again.

A pair of kookaburras

And here at long last, is my first glimpse of a baby kookie!

There have been plenty of noisy miners about, as usual. Here are some taking advantage of some lorikeet feed after the lorikeets flew off when they got scared.

Noisy miners

The pair of pied currawongs have been bringing up 2 young this time. This is one of them, still being fed by mum, but she’s now pecking them after she feeds them, maybe to start pushing them out on their own.

Juvenile pied currawong

Igor and Maggie, our local magpies, also have 2 babies who are growing up fast. Interestingly, one seems to be colouring up quicker than the other. They are starting to feed themselves now.

Juvenile magpie
Another juvenile magpie.

A few Torresian crows have started hanging around. This one was pretty hot, sitting in the gum tree with its beak open.

Adult Torresian crow

I’ve also seen several of these pretty pale headed rosellas.

Pale headed rosella

There have been lots of rainbow loirkeets around and I even managed to spy a baby lorikeet! What a racket they make! 😀

Baby rainbow lorikeet
The noisy little thing finally getting fed

Here are two pigeons taking a stroll around the lawn in front of the house after it was mowed. These are common bronzewing pigeons. They may be the most common pigeon seen in Australia, although I don’t recall having ever seen them before, but they are first time visitors to my backyard!

Common bronzewing pigeons

One early morning I was sitting on the veranda and above the bird chatter I heard a new birdcall. I set a recorder for a few minutes and have edited it so you can hear the call 4 times.

 

I’m pretty sure that bird sounds like an eastern whipbird. They are found along the east coast but I have never heard one in my backyard ever! I wasn’t able to see it or get a picture of it, but here’s what it looks like (photo taken from Birdlife Australia).

Eastern Whipbird photo from Birdlife Australia

The warm weather has seen the reappearance of the eastern water dragon. This one is full size, a metre in length from head to tail and the red colouring shows it’s a mature male.

A male eastern water dragon basking in the late afternoon sun

There has been lots of activity regarding our late night visitor possums. You might remember I have two possums living in our outside laundry occupying a box we put in there. Well, I discovered one morning that both of them have a joey! The possum I named Chloe is all grown up now and has her very first joey. Here’s a glimpse I got of the little one.

If you look closely just above the carrot, you can make out a little paw and pink nose of the little joey.

The possum I named Heidi (Chloe’s mother) has an even younger joey!

Heidi in the possum box with a pinky joey

The poor mum was just waking up when I took the photo, and clearly it was hot inside the box too. That little pinky is definitely the littlest joey I have ever seen in my backyard. How special was that!! You can see more photos of these two possums in my previous post here.

What a month – lots of baby birds begging for food, tiny possum joeys making their first appearance, the long awaited arrival of the baby kookaburras, and even a new bird species dropped by!

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Possums

You may remember me writing previously about two brushtail possums that seem to be making their home in a possum box in our outside laundry. I call them the possum box sitters. They are Heidi, an adult female possum, and Chloe, her joey who has grown up and continues to live alongside her, which I think is a bit unusual for possums. Well, there has been a development …

Heidi and Chloe sharing the possum box

Chloe seems to be always either inside the box or sleeping on top of it, whereas Heidi comes and goes. Sometimes I have found both possums in the box at the same time – it must be a tight squeeze for two adult possums!

Despite being mother and daughter, these girls love their food and don’t like to share, as you can see in the video below.

All’s fair in love and carrot war!

One morning I was in the laundry and noticed something a little unusual.

I could not believe I was seeing a little tail! I waited quietly and patiently and was finally rewarded with this –

Chloe has become a mum!!

The next day I went to check on the possums because it was very hot and I thought I should open up the door and window for them to circulate the air, and I found that Chloe had moved to a spot in the rafters. This may have been cooler for her as there was a gap in the wall around a pipe and she could get a breeze. Then I saw the tiny joey again, probably misbehaving as I could hear Chloe usher quiet little noises to it.

The joey’s little tail hangs down with a cute little curl
The joey drinking from mum’s pouch.
You’re not going anywhere little one!
Come back here and behave! Says mum
Safe and sound snuggled in with mum

I couldn’t get to see the joey’s face, it seemed to have its head buried in mum’s pouch a lot, but it looks a dear little thing.

Having spent some time watching these two, I thought I may as well see if Heidi was in the box, so I grabbed my camera and took a photo through the hole and captured this –

Heidi in the possum box with a pinky joey

Heidi was just waking up when I snapped the photo, and she looks hot in the box as she’s stretched out, but you can see the tiny joey she has in her pouch. Here’s a close up.

A close up of the tiny pinky joey

So Heidi has also become a mum! Heidi is on to her third joey in about 12 months!

I have to say, that little pinky joey is definitely the smallest joey I have ever seen in my backyard!

Two little babies, completely unexpected, what a double delight!

I could not have asked for a better way to end the year. Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in August 2017

August was another month of warmish winter weather here in Queensland, barely a drop of rain all month, and quite a few days of over 25 degrees including two days of 29 degrees! (That’s 84 for the Farenheit people).  Despite the enjoyable, although unseasonal, conditions, I didn’t get to see too much in the way of birds in the backyard this month, all because of this –

This is Igor, a local male magpie. He and his girl have built a nest somewhere close to our house and he has been viciously chasing away all other meat eating birds from anywhere near our place. This year he seems particularly extreme in his actions and has apparently widened his boundaries and has started attacking the little pied butcherbirds which he has never done before.

I often find Igor on the veranda in this defensive pose. He even hangs out in the surrounding gum trees like this too.

As a result, I have had almost no visits from the pied currawongs, pied butcherbirds, and even the kookaburras seem to have moved somewhere else, which is disappointing as they had been starting to prepare an old termite mound on a gum tree near our house for their nest. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of these birds in the gum trees a few doors down, but as soon as they come anywhere closer, Igor is off like a rocket after them.

As for the rainbow lorikeets, there are quite a few around at the moment, however, they just sit in the trees and glare and make a lot of noise. We ran out of our usual lorikeet mix and had to buy another brand and apparently the loris don’t care for it.

That yucky stuff again? Are you serious?

We also had a visit by a rather naughty sulphur crested cockatoo who got stuck into the fruit on the loquat tree with reckless abandon. I posted this video a few weeks ago but I’ve included it here again for anyone who missed it. After watching this video, you can appreciate just how destructive these little beggars can be on crops especially when in large numbers.

Quite a bit has been happening with the visiting possums of a night. It seems that Mummy possum has turfed her joey out of home as they are no longer seen together. Here’s Mummy possum on the veranda and I’m pretty sure she has a tiny joey growing in her pouch, which is probably why the older one had to move on.

Here’s Mummy’s joey that is now out on its own, but I’m a bit worried about how its looking. Maybe it needs to find a better home to sleep in during the day.

This is young Chloe enjoying a banana snack. You may remember her as the young one living in a possum box with her mum.

And this sight was quite a surprise. This is Heidi, Chloe’s mother, who looks like her joey will make an appearance very shortly. I think Chloe is lucky her mum is still allowing her to hang around if she has another baby to care for. But I bet the possum box is getting crowded!

And this is another regular possum, Sassy, who has a joey in her pouch as well – you can see the black tail of the little one sticking out. We should be seeing this little one very soon.

Hopefully next month’s post will have photos of cute backrider joeys for you. 🙂

Didn’t see much in the way of insects during the month, but I did come across this small praying mantis on a milkweed plant. As I watched, it nabbed a little fly off a leaf and proceeded to consume it in front of me. Mmmm, tasty!

And lastly, I captured this lot of Torresian crows in some tall gums at the bottom of our property.

A murder of crows. I’ve been dying to get a photo like this. 😀

I hope you enjoyed this month’s wildlife round up. 🙂

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

Wildlife Visitors in May 2017

brushtail possum eating banana

May was the final month of autumn here in Australia, and it was great to see the regular wildlife visitors out and about. I was also happy to see a rare visitor to our place and we also had a surprise visitor!

Below is a Golden Orb Weaver spider with a massive web that I came across in the yard. The spider is about 10cm in total length (including the legs). Look closely, and you’ll see another much smaller spider just above the big spider. That little one is the male!

golden orb weaver male and female

This Monarch Butterfly was fluttering around the yard at the end of the month. I thought it was unusual to see one at this time of year, but apparently where I live these butterflies are still around because it’s warmer along the coastline.

monarch butterfly

Below is a short video of a Juvenile Grey Butcherbird who has nearly got his adult colours. I watched it sitting on the tree branch watching for bugs after my husband mowed the grass.

Plenty of Brushtail Possum visitors during May as well, and there has been lots of running (or chasing!) up and down our veranda as well as on the roof at night! Here’s a photo of a female possum who looks ecstatic at getting a bit of banana! 🙂

brushtail possum eating banana

My rare visitor during May was the Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo. These are huge birds, about 60cm (24 inches) in length and very majestic to watch. I had 2 sightings of them during the month which is amazing because I’ve only ever seen them a couple of times in the 12 years I’ve been living here. The first visit caught me by surprise, as I was on the veranda and suddenly there were two of them casually flying past my house! I only had my mobile phone on me at the time so snapped this photo.  They were actually a lot closer than they look in the picture.

flying yellow tailed black cockatoos

On the second occasion, I heard the distinctive loud call of one of these cockatoos and raced outside with my camera. One had landed in the gum tree out the back. The photo below is not good quality because it was cropped and enlarged, but it gives you an idea of the lovely yellow colouring on these birds.

yellowtailed black cockatoo

I managed to get a quick video of it before it took off, calling as it went. Sorry if the video is a little dark, it was overcast that morning, but as well as hearing its call, you can see how beautiful this bird is with the lovely black feathers, yellow patch on the cheek and the yellow under the tail. Magnificent!

And finally, here is my surprise visitor (no kidding! 🙂 ).

goat

I’m guessing someone got themselves a goat and it escaped. I thought I could catch it and enquire with the neighbours, but it wouldn’t let me get anywhere near it and toddled off to another neighbour’s place. I haven’t seen it since so I hope it made it home okay.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my wildlife visitors. 🙂

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

Bossy Mother Possum

We have a possum box in our outside laundry (long story!) and whenever I go down there I check if the box is occupied by standing on an old stool and reaching up and pointing my camera in the entrance hole. I never know what’s in there (if anything) until I pull the camera back out and have a look, I’m filming blind you might say. This is quite a precarious feat and it’s always in the back of my mind that one day it may not be a friendly possum that I find in there!

On this occasion, there was a mother brushtail possum (on the left) with her older female joey who were sharing the box.

I had brought some food with me in case there was a visitor, and on this occasion I had a carrot. By the time I broke the carrot in half, the young possum had climbed out of the box and was waiting expectantly for something to eat. I gave her one piece of carrot and before I could offer the other piece to the mother who remained in the box, the joey decided to climb back into the box.  I could hear some scuffling inside the box and the crunching of carrot, so I climbed up and put my camera in the entrance hole to the box and hit record.

The joey had a secure hold on to the carrot and mum was taking any opportunity to eat some of it. Just look at the determination on the little one’s face!

I then waited a bit and put my camera in the box hole again.

I bet the joey won’t be taking food into the box when mum’s there in future! 🙂