Friday, July 23, 2010

Winter in the garden

Winter in the garden at Red Mill House is a very special time. This is the only time of the year that birds regularly visit the feeders because normally we have so much fruit and nectar available naturally that they can't be bothered. There is less so in winter. Banana, papaya and black sapote are the fruits of choice for the honeyeaters, Spangled Drongo, Spotted Catbird and Helmeted Friarbird. Even the Rainbow Lorikeets have decided to have a dabble this year. Needless to say our pair of Orange-footed and the array of Australian Brush-Turkey will clean up the scraps from the ground.
We have one poor old grapefruit tree, which unfortunately is dying, just off the breakfast deck. This is great perching and feeding spot as the following two images show.


Both the Spangled Drongo and Helmeted Friarbird seem to start their days here, announcing their presence to the world


This same tree has a bunch of Mistletoe on it, and this is the favourite food of the aptly-named Mistletoe Bird, a tiny but gorgeous bird, particularly the male. This bird is instrumental in the spreading of the mistletoe seed.










Thursday, July 8, 2010

Holiday Season

July is the busiest time of the year here in Daintree with visitors from the cold southern states of Australia plus those from the northern hemisphere who have summer holidays. It's great meeting so many varied people from around the world.
One of the joys of birdwatching (and meeting people) is introducing people to our local birds and increasing their awareness and appreciation of our feather friends and our local environment. Andrew and I particularly enjoy helping young people to develop their interest in wildlife. It's great to meet seven year olds who know the difference between a male and female Figbird! The Cribb kids from Cunamulla were perfect examples of aspiring birders.


The gardens of Red Mill House have been excellent for several birds in the past week - Spotted Catbird, Victoria's Riflebird, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Azure Kingfisher and Little Bronze-Cuckoo plus all the usual suspects.
There is also a variety of doves and pigeons around at present with flocks of Top-knot Pigeon flying through and Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Emerald Dove and Bar-shouldered Dove in the garden
The Emerald Dove is a lovely unassuming bird who feeds on the forest floor generally and camouflages well with it's bronze and emerald green tones which change with the light.