Wildlife Visitors in May 2018

May was a busy month for me as I had a lot going on, so I didn’t get as much opportunity to take photos of the visiting wildlife like usual. So here is a short list of some of my backyard visitors.

Kookaburra
Ladybird
European Honey Bee
Type of grasshopper
A type of moth
Hoverfly
A type of moth
A type of fly
Grey Butcherbird

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.

This is my last Wildlife Wednesday post for awhile, and I won’t be posting as often as I usually do for a bit. Due to a significant change in my personal circumstances, I have left the Gold Coast in Queensland and moved permanently to Launceston in Tasmania. I am starting a new life on my own here in Tassie so please bear with me while I settle in to a new job and new surroundings, and I hope to be back online regularly soon posting my wildlife experiences in Tasmania.

 

 

Backyard Insects

On a walk around the yard recently, I captured some photos of various insects, only a few of which I recognise.

Hard to miss this bright orange coloured Slender Orange Bush Fly
This looks to be a kind of weevil.

A tiger moth

A shield bug
European Honey Bee

 

A long legged fly

A bee fly

And I spotted this strange creature on the trunk of a gum tree. It turns out that it is a gum tree plant hopper nymph!

 

What insects are in your garden?

Making Mountains

ant hill

Having had a good dose of rainfall with the prediction of more on the way, I came across a colony of ants in my backyard making some of the biggest ant hills I’ve ever seen.

ant hills
Ant hills in my backyard

Getting down close to observe the ants, I realised just how big some of these ant hills were – the biggest one a good 4 inches high.

ant hills
Large ant hills about 4 inches high

Each ant hill had lots of openings and there were lots of ants building up the height of each one.

ant hill
Looking at the top of an ant hill

As I watched, I saw the ants working away, carrying grains of sand or dirt and placing them on top of the ant hill and around the entrances. It’s just amazing how strong these ants are and how dedicated they are to their important work.

Here’s a little video of the ants in action. Check out super ant near the end. 🙂

These ants were fascinating to watch, kind of like a large scale ant farm!

 

 

 

A Wasp’s Unfinished Business

Just after demolishing a wasp’s nest right in front of our main house doorway, (sorry wasp, but it was too dangerous a place), I noticed that the wasp had found a new spot to build a nest at another entrance a few metres away. I decided to leave this alone as we can use another door to come and go, and thought this might be a good opportunity to observe the wasp.

The wasp pictured below is a mud dauber wasp, a common solitary wasp, where the female builds cells of mud. When the female has built a mud cell, she collects food like little spiders which she has paralysed using her stinger, places them in the cell, lays an egg, then seals the cell. When she has finished building her nest she will not return and after several weeks the babies will hatch and fly away.

This wasp is quite large at about 3cm in length and looks pretty dangerous if you ask me, however, it rarely stings humans. Even so, I was taking pictures from a good distance and using the zoom!

Here she is starting another cell.

Here’s a video of the wasp in action.

And here’s a different angle.

Did you see how the wasp had a large ball of mud in her mouth and then attached it to the cell and started spreading it out making the cell bigger? She seems to be a very hard and fast worker. It no time at all, the cell was just about done.

The next day I noticed she had started another cell, however, she never came back to finish it. Did she start another nest somewhere else? Or did she become a bird’s meal on her way to collect more mud? In either case, I am thankful for this amazing opportunity to observe this wasp making her nest as I have never seen this before.

These pictures were taken at the end of January, so in a few more weeks the young wasps should make their way out of their cells into their new world. Good luck wasplings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in October 2017

After about two months of  warm, dry weather we finally got rain on the 1st October! And boy, did it rain! It rained almost continually for 18 days before we even got a glimpse of the sun. It was light steady rain, which was great for the ground as it allowed the rain to soak in before we got hit with some very heavy downpours.

October also saw the gradual return of some of our regular birds, as the very bossy and territorial magpies have lessened their violent attacks now their babies are out of the nest.

One of Igor and Maggie’s babies
Igor eyeballing a pied currawong to keep away. You can just make out the black blob in the tree.
The pied currawong trying to look nonchalant while Igor stares at him.
One of the kookaburras has started showing up in our yard again
A pied butcherbird dropped in to say hello and grab a quick snack

I came across this spider and its web in some plants near the veranda. I don’t think I’ve seen this type before, it’s about an inch in size, but I love its colouring!

Here’s another insect I’ve never seen before. It’s only about a centimetre in size and there were a number of them on the leaves of a gum tree sapling. It’s quite unusual looking, so if you happen to know what it is, let me know.

And here’s something I don’t get to see very often- a golden tailed spiny ant. It’s a big ant, about a centimetre in length. Doesn’t it look elegant with its golden colouring?

And the snakes are on the move too. I saw two different carpet pythons during the month. This one was waiting under the carport for me when I got home late from work one night. It’s about 4 feet long.

Carpet python

There’s been a buzz of activity at the insect hotel as well. Among other unknown flying insects, I found this bee visiting over several days. Not sure, but I think it might be a resin bee.

There were plenty of birds to watch during October (which was great because the Aussie Backyard Bird Count was on) including these sulphur crested cockatoos.

This cockatoo was enjoying a casual stroll through the tall weeds during a break in the rain, grabbing a bite of the stems or flowers as it went.

And this cockatoo was very happy with the onset of the rain. In fact, I’d say it was ecstatic!! Check out the video. 😀

A galah made a recurring appearance.
Quite a few of these Pale Headed Rosellas were seen and heard.
It’s not often I get to see these Scaly Breasted Lorikeets.

This pair of rainbow lorikeets were sheltering from the rain. Aren’t they cute?

And lastly, a bird has been visiting that I can’t identify. I first heard this bird call back in April, but it was some distance away. Lately, it has been calling from a gum tree in my yard but I can’t find it amongst all the leaves, plus I don’t know what I’m actually looking for. I captured this audio recording of it.

If you happen to know what this bird is, please let me know. It’s located in South East Queensland. Thanks!

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my backyard 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.

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 July 2017

The month of July was actually the warmest July in Australia on record – no wonder it didn’t feel like mid winter! Here in Queensland, there was only a day or so of rain and the rest were sunny with clear blue skies. On the weekends I was out and about in short sleeves, often in temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius. Looks like spring will be coming early and we may be in for a long hot summer. The wildlife must be feeling the change in the air too. I’ve already seen a magpie flying over with a stick in its beak heading off to make a nest, and also a kookaburra preparing a termite mound for their nest, same place as last year.

So here are photos of some of the wildlife visitors to my place during July.

This Crested Pigeon was busy eating some little seeds that had fallen from the nightshade tree. You can find out more about this bird here.

Crested Pigeon

This Yellow Faced Whip Snake was sighted almost in the same place as the last one I saw some time ago, likely the same snake. You can see more of this snake here.

Yellow Faced Whip Snake

This Ichneumon Wasp is only 1cm big, I’ve seen a few of these around now.

Black And White Striped Ichneumon Wasp

This spider is a Plebs eburnus or Eastern Grass Orb Weaver and is barely 1cm in size and is endemic to Australia. They have a web that shows the time, 5 minutes to 5!

Eastern Grass Orb Weaver

A healthy looking male of the pair of Pied Currawongs that live around my house. You can see more of these birds here.

Pied Currawong

One of the family of four Pied Butcherbirds that often visit.

Pied Butcherbird

I rescued this Monarch Butterfly from a spider web.

Monarch Butterfly

Some Rainbow Lorikeets having a feed. You can see more photos of these birds when they sheltered on my veranda during a rainy day here.

Rainbow Lorikeets

An adult and juvenile Kookaburra.

Kookaburras

I was taking photos of these pretty sweat peas one afternoon then later realised I captured an aphid on one!

Aphid on a sweet pea flower

A commotion one afternoon drew my attention to the return of a Pacific Baza. Here he is in the middle of eating something he caught. You can find out more about these birds here.

Pacific Baza

A Hoverfly can be hard to get a good photo of, but it stayed still for this portrait.

Hoverfly

Here’s something I’ve never seen before – a Sunskink, possibly a dark flecked sunskink. It’s only about 10cm long. Sorry for the quality of the photo, it was on zoom so I didn’t scare it away.

Sunskink

I busted this Brushtail Possum cleaning up the leftovers of the lorikeet food in the bird feeder.

Brushtail possum

This is a Common Crow Butterfly. They are slow flyers and this one stayed still long enough for me to get some nice shots. Read more about this butterfly here.

Common Crow Butterfly

And lastly, I spotted this Eastern Rosella checking out one of our glider nest boxes for a possible nest, but the entrance hole is far too small for them so they’ll have to keep on looking.

Eastern Rosella

Thanks for visiting and reading about my backyard 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.

 

Common Crow Butterfly

I came upon this butterfly in the yard the other day – a common crow butterfly, also known as an oleander butterfly.

These are found along the east coast of Queensland and New South Wales and have a wingspan of about 9cm.

An interesting fact I read about the common crow butterfly is that they produce toxins that have a strong scent to deter being eaten by predators, and the toxins are so strong that it makes them inedible, so if a bird did eat one, the bird would be sick.

These butterflies are slow flyers, seeming to take their time fluttering about casually and spend a lot of time on the flowers. As you can see, this particular one stayed around long enough to get some decent photos. 🙂