Sunday, February 19, 2017

Juvenile Green Tree Snake at Jarowair

18th February 2017

Juvenile Green Tree Snake at Jarowair (new sighting)

This tiny Green Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulata) was camouflaging extremely well in a lomandra near the waterhole down the back of Jarowair when Brendon noticed it.  This is the first sighting we have ever had in 11 years at Jarowair of a Green Tree Snake, despite our neighbour having seen one many years ago.  It is interesting to note that in the same week Brendon saw a full size one cross the road and go over the fence in-between our neighbours place and our place, and disappear in the long grass.

J & B.

Green Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulata) at Jarowair 18/02/17

Not the clearest photo - but I had to add it as it shows how the Green Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulata) is twirled around the old lomandra flower.

Green Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulata) at Jarowair 18/02/17

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Wildlife in the Queensland Heat Wave Feb 2017

12 February 2017

Temperatures soared in mid February during a terrible heatwave in Eastern Australia.  Where we live on the Darling Downs, South-East Queensland, temperatures reached 46 degrees Celsius in the shade!!  During this time we were kept busy ensuring that all local wildlife at Jarowair had access to water.  The bore-pump was busy for days, with sprinklers going in gardens, troughs and waterholes being filled daily with water and we also placed more containers of water around the property for wildlife.

Koala with a wet face, from having a drink from the water container we placed at the base of his tree during the heat wave. He watched us from up high and came down as soon as we walked away to have a long drink of cool water.

Three koalas were witnessed on our property during this weekend, all looking terribly hot and panting in the trees, trying desperately to escape the heat.  We made a decision to put a container of water under each tree that had a koala in it.  One particular tree, we placed the container of water down at the base of the tree and went back to the house to get others to set up at the other two trees - within the time we returned, the koala from the first tree had already climbed down and was lapping the water up from the container at the base of the tree!  We watched from a distance and it proceeded to sit their and have a good drink before it scampered off to some thicker trees close by that were a little shadier.

Another panting koala during the heatwave - a container of cool water was placed at the base of his tree also.

Joeys were steaming in their mothers pouches and the mothers were all congregating around the water holes - the joeys were trying to stretch the pouch open so they could get cool.

This large Eastern Grey Kangaroo Joey was trying to get some cool breeze by stretching out the pouch awkwardly, while his mum rested at "Wallaby Waterhole" at Jarowair during the heatwave.  You can see how stressed mum is as her whole arms are wet from licking them - a method macropods use to cool down when stressed.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos during the heatwave at Jarowair, February 2017
Red-necked Wallaby with wet arms during the heat wave.  Macropods lick their arms to cool and calm down when stressed.

Birds were painting and the tiny waterhole down the back - was busy with many variety of birds coming down for a drink.  We were expecting to see a python waiting at the waterhole for an easy meal with so many birds coming - but I guess they too were staying out of the sun.  There were a tremendous variety of birds coming for a drink including three juvenile Olive-backed Orioles, Brown-headed Honeyeaters, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters to name a few.

Olive-backed Oriole with its' beak open and wings out- trying to cool down near the waterhole at Jarowair during the Febuary 2017 heatwave.

Australian Magpies with beaks open trying to cool down in the heatwave

Laughing Kookaburra with beak open - resting above the waterhole trying to cool down during the Febuary 2017 heatwave.

Noisy Miner - trying to cool down during the  heatwave

Nosiy Miner coming for a drink during the heatwave.

A wild Brushtailed possum in one of the nesting boxes at Jarowair - was unusually hanging out of the entrance hole trying to get cool during the middle of the day during the heatwave.  Brushtailed Possums are nocturnal - so normally you wouldn't see them peaking out from their safe hiding spots in the day time - but I guess the box was getting pretty steamy in the high temps.

The temperatures continued for many days and we kept up the routine of ensuring waterholes, troughs, birdbaths and containers were full of water, as well as putting on the sprinklers in a variety of gardens to cool down some of the local birds.

The heat-wave certainly took it's toll and we lost a few shrubs that were almost at fully grown size.

Anyone can help wildlife during a heatwave such as this, by putting out water for wildlife.  Deep dishes should have  a branch in them so lizards and small birds do not drown.

J & B

Lastly a Lace Monitor was out and about - stealing eggs from the chook pen during the heatwave - he seemed to be tolerating it much better than other animals.

Stingless Bees Trigona carbonaria

12th February 2017

I just love Stingless Bees!  These microscopic little bees are a joy to watch and today I took time to sit and watch them collecting pollen on their feet from the flowering Liriopes in my little tropical garden.  These particular minatures are Native Stingless Bee - Trigona carbonaria and are around 4mm long.  We know of one hive that it is easy to see on our property, but there certainly has to be others that we haven't noticed - as there are large numbers of these tiny pollen collectors. They look so cute with their vibrant balls of yellow pollen sticking to their hairy hind legs, which they use for carrying nectar and pollen.
The photos are a little grainy as I had to have the camera on a high ISO due to them being in the shade.


Native Stingless Bee - Trigona carbonaria at Jarowair 12/02/17

Native Stingless Bee - Trigona carbonaria at Jarowair 12/02/17

Green Long Legged Fly

12 February 2017

This beautiful metallic insect was resting in the shade on a leaf of one of the eucalyptus trees in our latest koala tree plantation this morning.  It was around 4 to 5mm long.  After a little research, I have found that it is a Green Long Legged Fly (Austrosciapus connexus, Family Dolichopodidae).  Thanks to the Brisbane Insects website for help identifying this one.  

Green Long Legged Fly (Austrosciapus connexus) at Jaowair 12/02/17

Musk Lorikeets at Jarowair

12th February 2017

I had been hearing the Musk Lorikeet's for a few days, but when I couldn't spot them in the trees, I second guessed what I had heard.  Yesterday while Mick Atzeni & Rod Hobson were visiting our patch, they too heard the Musk Lorikeet's and saw them fly over and land in the large ironbark trees, so I new I wasn't going crazy!

This morning around 10 Musk Lorikeet's were hanging around the ironbark trees near the bird flight aviary, and one young one even went to say hello to the birds inside the aviary.  It has been some years since I have managed to photograph the Musk Lorikeet's here.  (see previous posts here: 2012 & 2009)

J & B

Musk Lorikeet ~ Jarowair 12/02/17

Musk Lorikeet ~ Jarowair 12/02/17
Musk Lorikeet's ~ Jarowair 12/02/17

On the outside, looking in... Musk Lorikeet ~ Jarowair 12/02/17

Friday, February 3, 2017

Vale Bentley the Butcherbird

Bentley the Butcherbird at home at Jarowair August 2016

Our little Bentley the Butcherbird brought much happiness to our lives and everyone who met him.
Many of you who follow our blog or instagram will remember regular mentions of our resident, Butcherbird full of character.

Bentley arrived at Jarowair on 28th November 2015 (see post) - landing on Brendon's shoulder in the yard after he had finished mowing.  It was the most bizarre occurrence and not like any interaction we have ever experienced with a wild animal. From that day on, Bentley (named by our daughter) was here to stay. He remained a wild bird who would come for mince and insect treats, hop around inside the house, sing and call, then go back outside to be a 'real bird'.  He slept in the trees and on occasion on a wall light inside, if he'd ventured indoors at the end of the day- once he had his cosy spot for the night, there was no waking him up. Early morning though he would be the best alarm clock- waking us up in all sorts of humorous ways.

There was a reason why Bentley came to be a part of our family and to become a friend to all of the birds at Jarowair- where he became 'King'. In his short life he captured the hearts of many- he featured in newspaper articles with Queensland Country Life & Rural Weekly, had his own Facebook photo albums on the Queensland Murray Darling Committee page, impressed journalist Belinda Sanders from ABC Southern Qld so much that a lot of her questions in my interview with her changed topic to Bentley.  (More Here)   He featured in the Toowoomba Field Naturalists Newsletter after the group were smitten with his antics during their visit at the end of 2016.

He captured the hearts of all children who visited here and surprised many with his friendly demeanor. He sang in chorus along with us all when we would whistle to him- and especially loved to sing to Brendon and Kirra early in the morning. He watched Cam practice his discus and shot put safely from the cubby house, hopped around the edge of the pool when the kids were swimming, followed Brendon in the yard awaiting snacks found while gardening and would follow me anywhere from the clothes line to the waterholes and would keep me company at the joey pen during feed time.

He took particular interest in any wildlife in care at Jarowair and while curious to who the 'new patient was' he never harmed anything, making friends with tawny frogmouths, joeys and bandicoots. He was a good watchdog and alerted us to a brown snake in the yard and regularly sang out in alarm when a lace monitor visited the chicken pen- and loved giving it a few swipes. He loved to stash 'presents' or 'save it for later' food items in bizarre places in particular under the windscreen wipers on Brendon's Ute, behind cushions on the outdoor lounge, in potted plants on the deck and inside in the upstairs loft library when he had the chance.  He also loved to steal the kids socks when they would take them off outside to jump on the trampoline. Socks could be found 'stuffed' up high in tree branches, and were a hilarious sign of his antics.

Bentley taught us many lessons, including the importance of laughter and humour, and how there is always something to be happy about.  I never would have expected such amazing things from one little bird, but our lives have been enriched forever and his presence here will always be felt.

Fly forever my friend

Rip Bentley the Butcherbird.

J, B, C & K