All last week a thick smoke haze filled the Johnstone River valley. The Defence Department lands at Cowley Beach are undergoing a ‘controlled burn’. This area at Cowley Beach is a ‘ hot spot’ for cassowaries. The forests consist of a mosaic of sand dune vegetation, mangroves and melaleuca swamp blending into rainforest, a favoured cassowary habitat. August is the prime month for cassowary breeding and over the last few weeks most male cassowaries have disappeared and are believed to be sitting on eggs. If by chance the birds escape the fire certainly the eggs cannot. Insult upon insult; cars, pig cages, dogs, loss of habitat and burning what hope do the cassowaries have?
Living with wildlife can sometimes have some unexpected outcomes. The water pump that deliver water to the property has been playing up lately and it has required constant priming. Unable to sort the problem myself I called the friendly Watershed man, he pulled up the line and stuck in the foot-valve was the decomposed body of a snake.
Yuck, the water flavour didn’t seem to suffer!!!!!!!!!!!
I have a new assistant she is called ‘Miss Daisy’ and she helps my co-worker Gloria. ‘Miss Daisy’ is an eight week old Jack Russel with real personality, a present from my son Martin.
Going around to pick vegetables this week I saw a small bird on the lawn. I did not recognise it but managed to get one photo before it flew away. The bird is a Japanese snipe. They migrate to Australia in mid-August after breeding in Japan. The birds head for South-east New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. I wonder how many were lost in the earthquake and tsunami?
This was a first sighting of this little bird for me.
The pheasant coucals are showing their breeding plumage of a mantel of shining black feathers covering their neck and head. They build their nest on the ground from branches and grasses that they collect. The pheasant coucal is particularly vulnerable to fire at this time of the year.
The sounds of spring are in the air and this week the Orange footed scrub fowl and the pheasant coucal are competing in a chorus to celebrate the end of each and the beginning of the new day. Their calls echo across the mangrove forests as they sing to attract their mates.
Every afternoon a few agile wallabies go down to the river to drink. They do not seem to mind the salt water and their footprints are always on the beach with the cassowaries.
My lychee tree is covered in blossom. Hundreds of zodiac moths are feasting on the nectar: what a sight to see the tree covered in fluttering blue and gold.
The last of the old Jubilee Bridge has been brought to Coquette Point, the steel removed and taken away for scrap and soil brought in to cover the old concrete.
I then went on to Cardwell to spend the afternoon with my old seafaring mates Cocky and Frisco Watkins. We walked along the beach looking at the calophyllums.
Cheers for another week,