06 January, 2009

Early Wet Season Activity

On the morning of January 4th before the start of the cricket I visited the Curtain Figtree to see what the rainforest pigeons were up to. Wompoos and Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves had shown signs of nest building and there were fruit around to attract them to feed. All the local species of rainforest pigeon and monarchs were seen or heard with the exception of one of each group.

I met a lovely young family from Townsville and their three kids were having great fun trying to figure out where the sounds were coming from and what the noises were. After being shown a few pictures the kids were great at finding the birds and animals. This Wompoo was doing a fast head nodding display with its partner until a third party interrupted and a fight ensued. Wompoo Pigeons are large fruit eating birds of the rainforests of eastern Australia. The smaller fruit-doves were present but not providing photo opportunities.
Whipbirds are normally secretive skulkers of the rainforest floor but this male was spending most of his time in the bushes above eye level. When Whipbirds duet the female usually makes the introduction, he emits the loudest noise and she has the last word. I have never heard of such behaviour in another species!!!

Which raises that great philosophical question: If a man is alone in the forest, without his wife to hear, and he makes a statement; is he still wrong?
Boyd's Forest Dragons are medium to large rainforest predators. They sit on trees and other vantage points from which they observe for the movements of prey which is largely taken on the ground.
Lots of plants are in flower or fruit at the moment and the Atherton Suaropus, Sauropus macranthus, is doing both. This little bush of the understorey is a rare and threatened plant of the Atherton Tablelands.
Calamus, or Wait-a-whiles are climbing palms which uses hooks to get to the light without making their own trunk. The flowers are tiny and the small fruit are sweet but covered in a flaky skin. The plants are also known a lawyer vines but as it is the new year I'll be nice.
Boat-fruit, Neisosperma poweri, usually come in pairs but there are a few triplets around this year. The milky sap of this plant is a cautioning feature. The fruit are poisonous though eaten by Musky Rat-Kangaroos and Giant White-tailed Rats. The seeds are covered with an endocarp with branching ribs reminiscent of some palms.
This Caper vine, I think it might be C ornans, flowers at night only, is highly fragrant and produces a large globular fruit.
After leaving the forest I walked along the creek on my way home. Here I saw the tiny Silver Wisp and a Brown Ringlet enjoying the sunshine. i am starting to get my head around some of the local Dragonflies and Damselflies so that might be my next blog.
Silver Wisp
Brown Ringlet enjoying a bit of dull sunlight after a wet night.

1 comment:

James said...

An enjoyable blog entry all round and a very nice collection of photos. Nothing quite like the Wompoo Pigeon down here in tassie. It's certainly a rather colourful species!