Saturday, July 18, 2015

Self-pruning trees

A common sound in the tropical north is the noise of huge branches and sometimes whole trees crashing to the ground.  Age and many years of heavy rainfall take their toll.  Sadly one of our favourite blossoming trees, a beautiful Hawaiian Peach next to the house and right outside our bedroom, has started to fall apart.  You can see the 'bending' branch on the right and the crack in the middle is widening daily so the left branch is bound to go.  Fortunately, last year we removed some branches which were overhanging the roof so when the inevitable happens we should be quite safe.  But if it happens in the middle of the night we're in for a rude awakening!



Monday, July 6, 2015

Why our blog has been quiet!

This year we took our holiday later than normal as we really didn't want to go to Europe in February!  So we've been away for a month, got back thoroughly jet-lagged and had to hit the ground running 2 weeks ago.  Not only almost full-house ever since (July, Aug and Sept are our busiest months) but finishing off kitchen renovations and, as of this morning, preps for tiling the kitchen, lounge, loo, laundry and verandah have started.  Was to have been done while we were away but didn't happen so it's going to be fun juggling breakfast preps, laundry and looking after our guests for a few days!


This is the scene now - the horrible old white tiles (I've been grizzling about them for 18 years!) have been painted with primer and the lovely new ones go down tomorrow.  The kitchen renovation is almost complete - just the splashback to be covered with the new tiles.  Can't wait for it all to be finished!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sunbirds

Continuing the story of our Olive-backed Sunbirds and their nest outside our kitchen, well Mum has now laid her eggs and is spending lots of time in the nest but this afternoon is the first time I've been able to quietly open the screen-door and creep out with the camera without her flying off.  It's amazing how quickly they get used to having people around.  And here she was a few minutes ago:-


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sunbirds

We love our Olive-backed, sometimes called Yellow-bellied, Sunbirds and always leave bits of string and rope hanging around as they like to build their amazing suspended nests from them.  A few weeks ago a little bird started building just outside the kitchen window but then disappeared and we feared she may have been the victim of a deadly Black Butcherbird, then happily this morning she came back and there is now some furious nest-building going on!  Here she was a few minutes ago:-


On the other side of the house, opposite our bedroom window, another nest is under construction and we love lying in bed listening to the morning news bulletin and watching the nest-builder.  This time she has used a bit of vine hanging from an old tree.  It's always the female who builds, supervised by hubby who has a shiny blue-black 'bib'.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Yellow Passionfruit

On my way round our walking trail this afternoon I found the path partly-blocked by vines and was about to cut them back when I spotted quite a few yellow passionfruit - we'd been wondering what all the dozens of noisy Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were into.  Unfortunately they attack them when they're still green and unripe on the vine, often taking a single bite to get to the seeds ... and the fruit has to stay on the vine to ripen!  And they are such a lovely fruit, not as acid and sharp as the purple varieties.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A rare moth?


When we went into one of our guests' bungalows this morning this is what we saw on top of one of their curtains (we think they can't have looked up before they went out for the day!).  Never seen one before and when I googled I found it is a Tropical Swallowtail Moth which is native mainly to Singapore and SE Asia!  It's huge - about 4 inches across!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Rainbow Bee-eaters


We're always seeing these little guys swooping low over the dam, picking up insects, but these two seem to prefer the garden in front of the house.   Here they were yesterday, perched on a bare branch near our front door.  In flight their backs are an amazing irridescent blue.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Butterflies galore - still!

Wow, have we got some butterflies now after the rain has gone and beautiful sun is drying everything out!  For the past few days the lovely blue Ulysses have been everywhere and now the first of the Cairns Birdwings are appearing.  This is a male a few minutes ago on one of the Pagoda flowers outside the kitchen - his back is a stunning irridescent green and the female is darker on the back.  She is also Australia's largest butterfly, with a wingspan of up to 150 mm (6 inches).