Wildlife Spottings At The Wetlands

Now that daylight savings has started, I have decided to go for a walk almost everyday at the local wetlands. I find that walking helps to unwind from a day’s work and it feels good to get out in the fresh air. Also, it is good exercise and great for the mind and spirit, and it’s even nice to say hello to regular walkers and joggers or stop and have a chat with someone taking photos of the birds.

Here are some of the gems I have spotted on my walks at Tamar Island Wetlands.

Surprisingly, I have seen a small number of geese. These are likely domesticated escapees from people’s homes around the area. I have spotted 2 pairs but only one had these little golden cuties.

Sadly, none of the goslings have survived.

A plentiful bird at the wetlands is the black swan. I have identified 5 different families so far, all with babies of varying ages. It’s been nice to watch the little balls of fluff growing up. Here is one family.

And look at this adorable scene!

If I go walking early in the morning or late in the evening, I am usually lucky enough to see one of these lovely creatures – a pademelon!

In a previous post, I shared a photo of a Native Hen (or turbo chook) with half a dozen chicks that I came across in the car park. Sadly, there is only one chick left. Look how its grown!

Lately I have seen several Great Egrets fishing in the river. This one was fascinating to watch as it went after some food.

There was even a snake having a snooze by the boardwalk. Funnily enough, it was conveniently sleeping only 2 metres away from the snake warning sign so I knew it was a copperhead!

I was even lucky enough to see two Australasian Swamphen chicks up close. Aren’t they cute!

And finally, this is a video I took one afternoon of the 360 degree view from the end of the boardwalk at the Tamar River. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a magnificent view and well worth the walk. 🙂

What little gems of nature do you see on your daily walks?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in March 2018

Some welcome rain in March (but maybe a little bit too much!) made for a very tropical climate for the beginning of autumn. There was plenty of wildlife around plus I also had the opportunity to capture some bird audio recordings which might be of interest to my overseas readers.

One morning, a couple of sulphur crested cockatoos dropped by to be annoying as they were screeching and carrying on as they do. This is the only one that sat still for a minute before taking off with the others and leaving us all in peace.

The eastern water dragon isn’t seen as often now, but here he is basking in the late afternoon sun.

The kookaburra family is often seen in the surrounding gum trees or perched on my veranda. The baby kookaburra is on the far right of the photo and it’s getting harder to tell the difference between them all now. (I think the one on the far left is having a bad hair day!)

I’ve seen more and more of the lovely grey butcherbirds and regularly hear their melody during the day.

Here is just a snapshot of some of its calls:

 

I am still visited by the grey butcherbird’s nemesis, the pied butcherbirds, who also have a lovely repertoire.

Pied Butcherbird

Here’s just a sample of their song:

 

And here’s a quick snippet of another of the pied butcherbird’s song, this one near the end sounds like the bit in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind when they are playing the musical notes with the alien ship. 😀

 

The pied currawong is one of my favourite birds. This is the male of the adult pair that live around my home.

Pied Currawong

I love the different calls of this bird and I managed to capture them calling just on dusk one day.

 

This is a noisy miner, a very common bird and a nuisance a lot of the time. Small and gregarious, these birds often gang up on other birds.

Noisy Miner

I got this recording when there were about 8 of these birds in a tree carrying on about something.

 

Here’s my magpie family, Maggie on the left and one of her juveniles on the right.

The carrolling of the magpie has to be one of the most recognised bird calls of Australia.

 

Hope you enjoyed seeing (and hearing) some of 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 February 2018

cane toad

Welcome to another monthly round up of wildlife visitors in my backyard, and this time there was a bit more variety other than just birds coming to visit.

It was lovely to see the bright colourful rainbow lorikeets dropping by. They didn’t visit very often as there were plenty of flowers around for them.

rainbow lorikeets feeding

A few times I managed to spy these lovely little scaly breasted lorikeets, finishing up the leftovers after the rainbow loris.

scaly breasted lorikeets

Do you remember the baby kookaburra we have visiting with his parents? Here he is all grown up now.

kookaburra

This pied currawong is a young adult looking for a new territory to call its own. He has been turning up a number of times but my regular pair of pied currawongs come out of nowhere bellowing an alarm call and chase him away.

pied currawong

And this is one mean looking torresian crow!

torresian crow

We had a fair amount of rain at the end of February, making it a very hot, humid and tropical end to the summer, and as a result we had two rather unwelcome visitors.

The first was this carpet python. He was about 6 feet long and it seemed that he had come onto the veranda out of the deluge that night. Unfortunately he was only a few feet from our door, so we had to move him along and away from the house. He wasn’t very happy about being made to go back in the rain and he was quite stubborn about the whole thing!

carpet pythonThe other unwelcome visitor was this cane toad, and unfortunately he wasn’t the only one around. This is a highly invasive species and very toxic.

cane toad

My last visitors were, of course, the brushtail possums.  You may recall I previously shared a video of Chloe with her little joey who are living in the possum box in the laundry. Well, here is a  more recent video of them.

And last time, Sassy had a little joey leg sticking out of her pouch, well here she is with the little one now a backrider. Unfortunately, another possum arrived and scared them off.

And finally, I just had to include these photos of the pretty colours of my frangipani flowers that are out. They smell divine!

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Did you notice the tiny spider photobombing my picture of the flowers with a pink tinge? 😀 (Bottom left flower hiding behind a petal).

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in January 2018

male eastern water dragon red chest

January was a busy month for me as I was taking on extra work on weekends, but I still managed to see plenty of wildlife visitors in my backyard, some of which are featured here.

The kookaburra family only has one baby this year, and they have been visiting quite a lot. Here’s a photo of the baby (not so little anymore!) with one of the parents on the left.

kookaburras in a gum tree

Here it is again looking very hungry.

kookaburras in a gum treeI was fortunate one day to see the young one being fed a mouse, so if you would like to see pictures click here and if you would like to see the young kookaburra eating some leftover prawns I had one day click here.

The backyard was also a abuzz with the arrival of some blue faced honeyeaters. Apparently they like the flowers on the banana tree.

The rainbow lorikeets have increased in numbers again, possibly food was getting scarce since we only had the briefest drop of rain all month. And they have been cooling off in our roof guttering again. I think the water is cool because it’s run off from the air conditioner, and as you can see in the video below, they are thoroughly enjoying themselves!

I also got to see more of the eastern water dragon. Late one afternoon I spied him warming himself on the concrete, his big red chest on display. Doesn’t he look magnificent?!

male eastern water dragon red chestThis guy also turned up unexpectedly one day to eat some leftover prawns along with the kookaburras, click here to see pictures.

A visitor we don’t see very often was this big guy – a goanna, or lace monitor, as it’s also known.

goanna lace monitor in treeThis goanna caused quite a stir when he made an appearance. You can see more photos and video in my earlier post here.

My little posse of possums seems to be ever growing. This photo is of Sassy (the one who has her tongue sticking out all the time) and she has a joey as you can see.

Sassy munching food on the roof. You can just see a joey’s leg sticking out of the pouch.

And this is no kookaburra hanging out in the kookaburra nesting box, but at least it’s being used!

possum in kookaburra nesting box

This is newcomer Minnie and she has an older joey with her. But the young one must be quite a handful because most nights there is such a loud screeching coming from the box. I went out with a torch one night to investigate in case there was an unwelcome visitor causing trouble, but it was just Minnie screaming at her joey in the box. Maybe she’d had enough of his whining to go out and play and sent him to the naughty corner.

And this possum was too far away to tell who it was.

brushtail possum in box

brushtail possum in box

But he or she likes their new home.

And lastly, I’d like to share a few short clips of one of my favourite possums, Chloe, who has a young joey. In my last monthly wildlife round up post I shared some images of the glimpses I got of the tiny joey, well, now it has grown. Here they both are on 6th January –

Isn’t that little one adorable? It’s so young it doesn’t even resemble mum yet!

And here they are on 28th January –

You can see that the joey has more fur on and actually looks like a possum now. It’s also starting to investigate its surroundings, from the safety of mum’s back of course!

 

Thanks for 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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! 🙂

 

 

Just hangin’

Earlier in the week I heard a very loud raucous going on in the backyard that just seemed to go on and on. A whole group of birds of different species all congregating together in the one spot making a racket can only mean one thing – an unwelcome visitor.

Seeing as my chickens were out free ranging for the afternoon, I donned my boots and grabbed my camera and went out to investigate to make sure everyone was okay. Rounding the corner, this is what I saw:

A goanna up a tree! And a big healthy looking one too! He is well over 4 feet in length from head to tail.

Here is a closer look. Check out those huge claws!

goanna up a tree

He may have been either passing through or perhaps searching for food and wanting to get closer to the chook pen, seeing as they eat eggs and birds and other small animals. It seems like the birds had upset him so he’s made a dash for the nearest tree and biding his time for an escape.

In the video below you can hear some of the noise being made by the birds – kookaburras, magpies, pied currawongs, grey butcherbirds, blue faced honeyeaters and even rainbow lorikeets! They were all in the trees around, pointing out where the goanna was. Even the neighbour’s dog got in on it!

Goannas, also known as lace monitors, are very large and quick reptiles, and can be unpredictable, so I stayed well away. My girls were safe scratching around the yard at the front of the house far away from him and I collected the eggs from the chook shed so there was no reason for him to hang around. He hung out in the tree for a good hour after I spotted him, then he was gone and peace returned.

Common House Gecko

asian house gecko on ceiling

I’m sure many of you would have heard this sound around your home  –

That noise belongs to the Common House Gecko, also known as an Asian House Gecko. Love ’em or hate ’em, you see them, and even hear them, everywhere – inside the home, in the garage, even at work. They are even common culprits in short circuiting your electrical equipment, including air conditioners, because they get in everywhere!

I decided to do a little investigating on the internet about these geckos and here’s what I found.

The Common House Geckos were first seen in the 1960s. No one knows how they got here from South East Asia, but quite likely they were stowaways in shipping containers.

They are about 10cm in length and have spines on their tail, and they change colour. During the day they are dark coloured, and at night they are pale pinky-brown.

Like other geckos, these lose their tail when frightened or trying to get away in a hurry. Here’s a photo of one that recently lost its tail.

asian house gecko with no tailWhen the tail regenerates, it’s smooth with no spines, like in the photo below.

asian house gecko on ceilingThese geckos are found in the north east of Australia and down south to Coffs Harbour.  They live inside people’s houses, garages, and buildings, and can often be seen on the walls or ceilings at night. They feed on the insects that are attracted to light.

asian house geckos on ceiling

I see quite a number of these geckos on the veranda ceiling at night. When the outside light is on, they all seem to appear out of nowhere, ready and waiting for their next meal.

One night I was in the study and had the window open, the blind open, and the light on while I was working at the computer, and I saw one of these geckos hanging on the fly screen catch a rather large moth.

asian house gecko eating a mothIf you look at the mid left of the photo above, you’ll see the head of a second gecko, probably hoping to join in the feast. Surprisingly, this moth somehow got away and managed to live another day!

These geckos are very invasive and have sadly displaced our native geckos because of the competition with food as well as the quick breeding cycle they have. The Common House Gecko breeds all year round and the female lays 2 eggs every 4 to 6 weeks. Amazingly, you can actually see the eggs in the underbelly of the female as shown in the photo below.

asian house gecko female with eggs

The other problem these geckos have is they carry little red mites. You can just make out a few of them in the photo below if you look carefully at the rear toes. It is unknown at this point if these introduced mites will cause a problem with our native geckos. Let’s hope not!

asian house gecko

If you’ve ever seen one of these geckos on the ceiling or on a glass window, you might be thinking they can move with ease due to suction cups on their feet. However, they actually have tiny hairs tipped with a pad on their toes that enables them to walk on these smooth and slippery surfaces.  You can make these out if you look closely at the photos in this post.

Do you see, or hear, these geckos around your place?