Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mangoes

A fun night last night in Daintree Village when the P&C Association of tiny Daintree (junior) School, which has just 18 students, put on a free barbeque to christen the newly-installed bbq, welcome their new Principal and say 'thank you' to our small community for supporting the school. It was a beautiful clear night, pleasantly mild and lovely to sit under the stars with good friends and a few cold drinks in hand!

Spring is now officially two days away and our mango trees are in glorious bloom. Unfortunately mangoes don't do too well here and tend to suffer from various pests and diseases and usually most of the blossoms drop off before the fruit sets. We don't use any chemicals on them so just hope that a small crop will mature and that we salvage some for ourselves once the Spectacled Flying Foxes have had their fill!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Springtime - almost

Spring has almost sprung - officially it starts on 1st September but already our valley is even more alive with birds and the dawn chorus is getting louder and louder.

This Brown Cuckoo-Dove was busily feeding on rainforest fruits a couple of days ago and yesterday we saw and heard a couple of Double-eyed Fig Parrots in the Tahitian Apple tree outside the office - the one in which we had nesting parrots last year (see Archive - Double-eyed Fig Parrots). So fingers crossed that they may nest there again this season.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Peter's new toy!

Finally, the new tractor has arrived today and Peter has a shiny new toy to play with! So now he can catch up with all the jobs which had to be put on hold when our old machine broke down months ago (major problem which was too expensive to fix).

Now to find out how everything works - first problem is that the manual is all in Chinese!!! Oh well, he'll soon work it all out as Peter's had plenty of experience with various types of tractors over the years. This one even has power-steering and a seat-belt!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A beautiful Sunday!

What a lovely day it has been! Our guests were all out and about so we headed for a nearby beach for a long walk along the water's edge then to a local bistro for a light lunch and home to catch up reading our weekly newspaper (no deliveries here so we order the Weekend Australian from the Daintree Store for our weekend reading).

It reminded us again how lucky we are to live in Daintree with such a diverse range of destinations on our doorstep - rainforest, 'outback' Australia, farmland and fantastic beaches all within an hour's drive. And we shared our beautiful beach with (and I counted them) exactly twelve other people!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yellow Oriole

Although it looks green this is actually a Yellow Oriole and the valley is now echoing with their lovely warbling songs - they have a variety of calls and sometimes, especially at dawn, when we hear them calling to each other one will change it's song and the next one will try to imitate the change.

We've had a little rain over the past few days but much of the surrounding country is now starting to look dry and the grass is browning-off. Lovely and green at Daintree Valley Haven though as we are watering several hours a day.

Soon the local cattle-farmers will burn-off their grasslands to get rid of weeds ready for the new season's growth. It's an amazing sight as the cattle paddocks grow right up to the rainforest a little way up the valley hillsides but as soon as the fire reaches the treeline it immediately dies as the forest is so dense that there is no dry ground-cover under the canopy to feed the fire. So farmers and rainforest live happily together.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Honeyeaters

The Flame of the Forest is now abuzz with Honeyeaters enjoying the nectar. This is a Macleays Honeyeater but we also have Graceful, Yellow-spotted, Lewins and Dusky Honeyeaters.

Monday, August 10, 2009

This frog's no mug ... !


For anyone who has been following the sightings of our resident White-lipped Tree Frog (click on it in the Archive on the right) this is his latest resting-spot! At least he's on a tree now - even if it is a mug-tree!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The forest is aflame

This is the time of year when the beautiful Flame of the Forest vine bursts into flower. The forest canopy behind our house is slowly coming alive with these incredible waxy bracts. The vigorous vine grows in great loops between the trees but unfortunately the flowers only last a few days before they start to decline.

The vine only seems to produce seeds very occasionally and they are very slow to germinate. The photo shows another vine on the other side of the house which I started from one of the seeds about 10 years ago and it took about 5-6 years before flowering. Now look at it!

These are actually a number of bracts which just happen to have opened alongside each other - to the bottm right you can see another bract just starting to open - the vine it's attached to is the thick stem just to the right of the big bunch.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Egrets

Slowly but surely the dam is starting to dry up as our dry season progresses and even a couple of inches of welcome rain over the past week or so has hardly made any difference. So the Egrets are back fishing in the shallows at the edge.

A few minutes ago there were two Great Egrets (with the long neck) and this smaller Intermediate Egret, plus a White-Faced Heron which disappeared before I could take a photo.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

More colour in the rainforest

This is the time of year when the Climbing Pandanus starts to change colour. It's a species of freycinetia and I think it may be an excelsa which I believe is endemic to Daintree.

We have lots of them in the rainforest on our property - they actually adhere to other trees and can reach great heights - this one is probably about 10 meters high. Most of the year they are totally green but now their crowns are turning orange and will then change to red and produce their fruits. I'll try to take a few more shots as the colours change.