Saturday, December 26, 2009

The orchids were right!

A lovely peaceful Christmas Day yesterday - and a call from our friend Di in nearby Daintree Village to say that their Dove Orchids were in full bloom, and when we looked out the front window we saw ours were too.

The only time these beautiful fragrant tiny orchids seem to flower is just before rain and, sure enough after a very dry couple of weeks, last night we had a good fall of rain.

A fine day again today and now (it's 5.30 pm) it's just started again and, looking at the weather radar on the internet there's plenty around so hopefully we'll get some more tonight - thanks Orchids!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's greetings to everyone

Christmas is almost upon us and Peter and I are looking forward to a relaxing day tomorrow - lots of emails and phone calls to and from friends and family and tomorrow night our traditional roast turkey - it's far too hot now to have it at mid-day, although lots of folks do, and many more will be tucking into cold seafood instead which is probably much more sensible in the far north of Australia!  But I was brought up having cold Christmases and hot Christmas dinners in the UK so I guess old habits must die hard!

Was hoping to be able to post a lovely colourful shot of a Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher but they continue to elude me!  On my walk just now a magnificent one landed in a tree just in front of me but by the time I'd realised it was there it had gone again.  But then this little Chestnut-breasted Mannikin landed on a grass stem and happily posed for me - pretty little things, only about 11 cm (or 4 in) and usually seen in small flocks swooping for insects amongst reeds and grasses.

So to everyone who celebrates Christmas we hope you have a lovely happy day tomorrow.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Elusive Kingfishers

The Daintree Valley is echoing with birds - especially the fabulous Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers of which we have several nesting around our 30 acres.  But they are sooooo hard to photograph and mostly you just catch a glimpse of their distinctive white tails as they flit through the rainforest.  This is pretty blurry I'm afraid but at least you can see the beautiful colours - will keep trying for a better shot.  Of course the other day I walked down the drive - without the camera - and one landed on a branch right in front of me!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A new little friend

Mowing under the lychee tree this morning and this little Praying Mantis decided to hitch a ride on my back.  He stayed with me for ages, running up and down my arm and finally having a rest on my finger where he proceeded to daintily clean his little feelers.
He's now happily at home amongst our green bean plants!

It's very quiet now with very few guests - everyone getting ready for Christmas I guess.  A lovely young Danish couple in a little camper-van arrived just on dusk last night so they were very happy to plug into the power behind one of our empty cabins.

And this morning a local couple drove in - very interesting folks as they were retired entomologists looking for a certain variety of Dung Beetle on one of the local cattle properties which they were trying to locate.

Life's always interesting - and sometimes surprising! - at Daintree Valley Haven!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Native fig

An interesting tree this - it's a variety of Native Fig and we have quite a few around Daintree Valley Haven. The tree grows to quite a height and the figs grow in clusters all up the trunk and along the branches. They are edible when ripe but tend to be quite dry and not very tasty - but the Double-eyed Fig Parrots love them!

After another dry spell we're having a few more welcome showers and we're just noticed that our one and only Mangosteen tree (which we thought wasn't going to fruit this year) is suddenly laden with small fruit buds.

Mangosteens are totally different to Mangoes - of which we now have a huge crop which is just starting to ripen - yummy! Two of our favourite fruits!