Wednesday, December 29, 2010


DON'T MENTION THE PHONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Since 9th December we've had 3 days of working phone - told it'd be fixed by tomorrow, 30th.  Now they tell us it'll be before 7pm on 6 JANUARY!!!  Thank heavens for email ( - and Skype - at least we can ring out but only folks with Skype can call us.  It's a daily 16km round trip to our nearest mobile reception in Daintree Village to pick up any messages on the diverted mobile - grrrrrr!  Just sent in an another official complaint!

Postscript - amazingly our neighbours still have working phones as this is the main Telstra connection box in the middle of our valley - from here the cable lies, unprotected, under the road then comes up sticky-taped to a post then looped through the trees over a frequently-flooding creek!

Now we do appreciate that there will be many, many people without phones after the current catastrophic floods throughout much of Queensland ... but our small business will have been without a landline for almost a MONTH!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Just to say we hope everyone has a fantastic festive season - not too wet, hot, cold or snowy wherever in the world you are! A fun night at the Daintree Village Restaurant last Saturday - also Peter's birthday - with some of the locals getting into the spirit(s?!).  A few sore heads next morning ... !

A message to friends and family - our phone's out yet again, this time estimated fixed-by date is 30 DEC!!!    No mobile coverage here but thank heavens for Skype and satellite broadband.  Otherwise emails are the way to contact us -

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How do pythons climb?!

I've been really slack with the blog (and the camera!) for a while so I've delved into my Pictures archive and found this Amethyst (or Amethystine) Python which we spotted some time ago climbing up a drainpipe.  What incredible muscle-control!

We've been taking advantage of good pre-main-wet-season weather to catch up on some repairs and maintenance on the cabins and the house.  I know it'll catch up with us soon but recently we haven't had nearly as much rain as the central and southern parts of Queensland.

Anyway we now have new timberwork to replace that which the ever-present termites are determined to feed upon - timber primed and just top-coats to apply, newly-painted office and all the grounds freshly-mowed and looking great for our Christmas guests!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A few updates

The valley continues to echo with the calls of the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers and now the Rainbow Lorikeets (very common throughout the country) are squabbling over various fruits and blossoms.  These guys appear to have upset a little Honeyeater - high up in the foliage so hard to tell what kind but you can see the long slim Honeyeater's beak.

Strange weather for November with a real mix of sunshine and showers - so far 350 mm or about 14 inches of rain this month - and we're still waiting for them to finish our bridge!!!  So close now with just the approach roads to finish before putting down the bitumen.

A sad postscript to our Sunbird nest - the nest was abandoned and now no sign of either eggs or babies.  The nest hasn't been damaged so we don't think they were taken by a predator.  They sometimes suffer from a virus so we suspect that might have been what happened.  Still heaps of Sunbirds around so hopefully 'ours' are trying again!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sunbird babies

A lovely sight this morning with Mum now feeding her offspring which must have hatched overnight.  We don't know yet how many but hopefully both eggs have hatched successfully. 

All this going on with people walking round, cooking barbeques and sitting at the table which is almost underneath her nest!

Such a common sight here but we never tire of watching (and keeping fingers crossed for) our beautiful tiny Yellow-bellied - sometimes called Olive-backed - Sunbirds!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


You learn something new every day!  Our neighbour Lex, who is a keen nature photographer and also works as a tour guide on the Daintree River wildlife-watching tour-boats, has just called in and taken us just down the road from our driveway to show us a Kookaburra nest.  I had no idea they also nest in termite mounds high up on tree-trunks (unlike the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers which use mounds on the ground).  We waited a while but one of the adult birds stayed in a nearby tree - and just laughed at us as only a Kookaburra can do!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And here she is ...

Mother Yellow-bellied Sunbird in her nest ... and below you can see, top left, how close the nest is to the barbeque table!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nesting time

Some furious nesting going on now in the valley! Two of the termite mounds alongside our walking tracks now have Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher nesting-holes - this one is about 18 inches or 45cm high - and we hear their calls from dawn till dusk. Likewise the Wompoo Fruit Doves which seem to be nesting in their usual spot - Black Bitterns around the dam too.

And our Sunbird nest in the shed now has two eggs and Mum sits quite happily as people wander around - still trying to get a good photo of her so watch this space.

This is one of our smaller butterflies, an Orange Bushbrown (Mycalesis terminus), and a fairly common sight flying close to the ground.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wonderful weather!

After so much rain we're enjoying a beautiful spell of magnificent weather - have just about caught up with all the mowing and garden-tidying again although now everything's growing so FAST it'll all need doing again soon.

This is the view from the gardens between Cassowary Castle and Birdwing Bungalow, looking down to the very full dam - such an unusual sight for this time of the year.  Just after this I spotted one of our many Saw-shelled Turtles sunning itself on a semi-submerged branch in the water - next thing a Black Bittern flew overhead so they must, as usual, be nesting here again.

The valley's alive with birds now - the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers are everywhere and their calls echo from dawn till dusk.  We're keeping an eye on all the known termite-mounds for the first signs of nest-excavating.  Still trying to get a clear shot - I took this a few minutes ago from the verandah outside the office.

Sunbirds have built another nest in the shed, right near the barbeque table so if all goes well guests will have a birds-eye view of the growing family.  As long as the terrible Butcher Birds don't interfere - I know it's nature but we hate to see how they attack and kill our smaller birds.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Return of the Kingfishers

Cheating a little with this earlier photo.  But yesterday we heard the first Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher of the season and this morning caught a glimpse of a distinctive white tail flashing past the window.  This is about the time of year they return from wintering in Asia.   From now we'll keep an eye on all our termite mounds for signs of excavations for nest-building - for the past couple of years we've had several of them 'occupied'.

We're still looking for the Papuan Frogmouth nest which recent birding guests reported seeing just near their bungalow - hard to spot unless you know roughly where to look amongst all the rainforest foliage.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Home again

Slowly getting back to normal again after our fantastic holiday and the camera is still full of people and places rather than wildlife.  Here are the intrepid tourists in Santa Eulalia, one of the quieter areas on the Spanish 'party' island of Ibiza where we were meeting up with far-flung family for our nephew's wedding.
Then we were off to stay with friends in N. Wales and a whirlwind few days in a hire car zooming round England visiting places we had both lived at various times - sadly no time to see all the old friends and family we would have loved to - then Eurostar to Paris where we stayed for a week in a lovely little apartment in a 16th century building in the heart of the Marais district - back to London by train again, two days with dear friends and then the long flight home.

Arrived to full-house of guests (being ably cared-for by Chuck, our relieving manager) and the wettest September on record!  Now enjoying a reasonably fine few days so hope the ground will dry enough so that the mower doesn't keep getting bogged.  The big plus for our guests is that, soooo unusually for this normally dry time of year, the dam is brim-full so everyone is enjoying lovely water-views.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


My last Blogger post for a while - tomorrow we're off on a month's holiday!  Leaving our guests in the friendly, very capable hands of Chuck who is managing Daintree Valley Haven while we are away.  But I'll try to post something along the way!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jade Vine

Well here it is in all it's glory, our beautiful Jade Vine!  Up in the trees with the Flame of the Forest and another bract low down just above the dropped Flame petals.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Flame and Honeyeater

The Flame of the Forest is still flaming!  And soon the Jade Vine will open properly and we'll have a curtain of red and green.  This little Macleays Honeyeater thinks it must be Christmas!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Winter ... and Moths

At last a little taste of winter with a couple of cold nights - down to a chilly (to us) 12 deg C last night and this morning our valley is cloaked in soft white mist.  Now the sun is starting to break through, the mist is clearing and it promises to be another magical Daintree winter's day with a forecast max of 27 deg.

And we're being honoured by the presence of this beautiful female Hercules Moth (see my archive for previous sightings).  She's on the insect screen outside our lounge, well-placed to warm up and dry her wings as the sun comes up over the valley hillside.  She's likely to stay there for several hours and I was able to measure her with a ruler - 24cm (about 9 inches) from wingtip to wingtip and 12cm in height.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fire in the forest

It's that magical time of year when the Flame of the Forest vine comes into glorious bloom.  All around the house the trees are roped with this beautiful blossom to the delight of the Honeyeaters and Rainbow Lorrikeets.

Part of the vine is now intertwined with the equally-stunning Jade Vine which tends to bloom a little later on - I'll post a photo when it comes out.

We're still enjoying such a mild winter!  A coolish night earlier in the week, down to 15 deg C but last night back to 21 deg and the overhead fan going!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Love that Watermelon!

A feeding frenzy outside the kitchen!  We've just put new frypans in the cabins and the old ones now make great bird-feeders. 

The Yellow-Spotted Honeyeaters think it's great and have created almost a monopoly, especially when bananas or watermelon are on the menu.

Just had a giggle because these four were watching a Helmeted Friarbird - almost twice their size - becoming more and more frustrated because it was behind the lattice and trying to squeeze itself through.  Finally it managed it!

What strange weather we're having - it's the warmest, wettest July we've had for years and today's the first day we've seen the sun for a long time now.  But at least everything is soooo green!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


At last another Platypus in our wetlands-dam!  It's been a few years since one has been sighted here, although they are plentiful in Stewart Creek.  I think it may be because this winter has been unusually mild and the light showers have helped keep the water fresh - normally by now the dam would be drying out quite fast and as there is no incoming creek the water quickly loses it's freshness.

These creatures are very shy and are usually only seen at dawn and dusk, although we have also spotted them on a dull overcast day.

OK, I'm cheating a little as the guest who spotted it didn't manage to take a photo - this is a 'free' image I found on the net!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

When is a butterfly not a butterfly? When it's a MOTH!

Well that answers my question yesterday - our beautiful new 'butterfly' is actually a 4 O'clock Moth (Dysphania fenestrata)!  We've learnt that it's one of the few Australian moths which flies during the daytime and is often seen in the late afternoon - hence the '4 o'clock'.  So after a comfortable night indoors (thinking the poor thing was on it's last legs!) I've just put it outside onto a Heliconia leaf and it has now fluttered merrily on it's way!

Friday, July 16, 2010

More butterfly photos

My mistake, I thought the butterfly had flown away but Peter's just found it in almost the same spot on the ground as this morning so, sadly, we think it may be dying.  We were able to pick it up and bring it inside - it would definitely be 'dinner' for something tonight if we left it where it was.  So now a couple more closeups.

And it's actually bigger than I first thought as it measures 10 cm (4 inches) from wingtip to wingtip!

Another unknown butterfly

Well, we've never seen one of these beauties before and haven't found it in our small butterfly book.  "Blue and Yellow Butterfly, Queensland" didn't produce anything when I tried a Google Images search either! 

 It was about 6cm (just under 3 inches) across and sat still on the ground for several minutes.

If anyone has any ideas we'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Praying Mantis ... and Cassowary

Traffic slowed on ther front doorstep as guests were leaving yesterday morning - all stopped to watch this cute Praying Mantis making it's 2-steps-forward-1-step-back progress across the doormat and then up the wall.  They are fairly common but this was quite a big one - about hand-size.

The Cassowary appeared on the walking track yesterday which really thrilled the guests who spotted him.  He's still quite wary and took off through the fence at 90 kph!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Malay Apples

Busy, busy, busy now with our visitor season in full swing so the blog has been a little neglected of late.

The Malay Apple tree doesn't seem to know if it's Arthur or Martha!  - it's just finished dropping some blossom, has lots of tiny fruits, many mid-sized ones and now a good crop of bright red ripe fruit.  Now the problem is to pick some before the birds get to them - as you can see!

They don't have a great deal of flavour but add a lovely splash of colour to the guests' breakfast fruit-platters.  We've even managed to salvage a couple of Soursops before the Spectacled Flying Foxes demolish them - but have virtually given up hope of beating the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos to what's left of our yellow Passionfruit! 

The white and purple Star-apples are starting to form but will not be ripe for some time yet.  And I've just pruned the Lemonade-fruit tree to try and encourage it to fruit - after I nearly killed it last year with too much fertiliser!

We're hoping the Cassowary will be back again to check out any dropped fruit - we've seen more of his 'poo' but haven't spotted him for a while now.  There are lots of big purple Cassowary Plums ripe in the rainforest at the moment which have probably caught his attention!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rainbow Bee-eaters

Not a great variety of birds around at the moment apart from lots of these pretty Rainbow Bee-eaters swooping low over the dam after insects and, yes, bees!

Fantails, Fly-catchers and Spectacled Monarchs and of course the ubiquitous Sulphur-crested Cockatoos which have beaten 'Junior', the Cassowary to ALL the ripe Carambolas!  We now have no ripe fruit to attract him back so may have to wait for the warmer months when Malay Apples and Star Apples start ripening.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I find it tricky to take photos of the rainforest - really must learn how to use the camera properly one day rather than relying on 'auto'!  This one didn't turn out too badly and was taken from one of the glades on our walking-track, looking down into the deep gully which leads into the wetlands-dam.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wompoo Fruit-Dove

Heard the very distinctive deep call of a Wompoo Fruit-Dove on my walk yesterday and, amazingly, caught sight of it high up in the rainforest canopy.  The call sounds just like the name - Wom-Poo!  It's not a very good shot as I had to zoom in so much - if you check my archives there are some better earlier photos there.

PS  The Cassowary was back again yesterday.  Hadn't seen him (her?) for a few days and thought it might have moved away but it was back checking out the Carambola (Five-Corner) fruit which are just starting to ripen.   We seem to have named it 'Junior'!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lovely Fairy Wren

For ages now I've been trying to take a good shot of one of these beautiful little Fairy Wrens - lots of them along our walking track at the moment but they move so fast!  This is still blurry but is the best I've managed so far.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More about Cassowaries

We were delighted to have Lloyd Nielsen and Dorothy stay again last night - Lloyd is a famous ornithologist and author of many books (  

The Cassowary didn't appear before they left
this morning (although I heard it 'honking' very early on) but I showed Lloyd the photos and he confirmed that it is a juvenile, about two years old, although at this stage it's not possible to tell the gender. 

They can roam a territory up to 10 square miles but we are hoping that our large variety of fruit trees, fruit being one of their main food sources, will encourage it to stay around here.  Lloyd thinks it could very well become a long-term resident so here's hoping!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cassowary - first sighting!

There we were sitting in the lounge after lunch today - looked out and what did we see, right by our front doorstep?!!!!  We were totally blown away!  It (we're not sure if it's a he or a she - perhaps quite young as the red wattle isn't very bright?) wandered around, had a good look at us, left us another 'message' on the lawn, honked a few times then ambled off into the rainforest!  They are quite territorial birds and the breeding season is from now until November so hopefully it will stay around for a while. 

Great excitement!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Well, it's now official - we have a Cassowary at Daintree Valley Haven!  A while ago a guest saw what he thought was a Cassowary footprint and this afternoon I saw a strange pile of 'something' (below) on the driveway behind the bungalows and upon checking this site -  it confirmed what I suspected!  Very exciting and I do hope to get a photo of it.  We will of course now have to warn guests to be careful as they are very big birds and can be dangerous if provoked.

If you look at the above website you'll see a very rare photo of Cassowaries mating - this photo was taken at Coopers Creek by Rosemary Mulcahy the first time she and Brian stayed with us!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Australia's Biggest Morning Tea

An annual event when community groups throughout Australia host morning teas to raise funds for cancer research and we've just got home from tiny Daintree primary school's (total 13 students) event this morning. 

Everyone took a plate but otherwise the kids organised everything themselves and did a fantastic job - they made the lovely table decorations and organised a series of quizzes (we adults made a complete hash of answering the nursery rhyme questions!!!)

Now there are rumours the school may be closed due to low numbers but there would be local outrage if this happened as the Daintree Village population is very small and not only is it vital for the children to have a local school it is also a focal point of community life, as the great support this morning proved.

(That's the back of Peter's head on the right! - our friends Di and Barry to the left.)

Thursday, June 3, 2010


An orchid at last!  I'm not the world's best orchid-grower and this plant has sat in it's pot outside the front door for many years more or less fending for itself with just the occasional pruning and the even more occasional dollop of water.  So we were tickled pink (or should that be mauve?!) yesterday to find a single, beautiful bloom. 

We've had it so long I can't even remember what variety it is ... !

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Orange Bushbrown Butterfly - Mycalesis terminus

Sooo many butterflies around now and this is one of our more common smaller species - the Orange Bushbrown (although this one doesn't look very orange!).  

They are only found along the coastal strip of far north Queensland, often on clumps of blady grass like this, and they will often sit for long periods sipping juice from fallen fruit.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The blog seems to have been on the backburner for a while as we've been busy planning our holiday for later in the year. Isn't it always the way that when you haven't got the camera with you a bird comes and sits in perfect view on a nearby branch?!  As I was taking over a guests' breakfast tray just now this male Leaden Flycatcher did just that - I raced back for the camera and just spotted him in the Geisha Girl bush in front of Sunbird Sanctuary.  Different birds around at the moment - Silvereyes, our usual Sunbirds - and yes they are always around that bungalow! - lots of Rainbow Bee-eaters round the dam swooping for insects.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Helmeted Friarbird

Oh what magic weather we're enjoying now!   The colours are so vibrant on these beautiful sunny days, the day and night temperatures are just perfect, hardly any humidity - and we just feel so very sorry for all the visitors who aren't here at this fantastic time of year! 

On my walk just now this Helmeted Friarbird kindly posed for me at the top of the traveller's palm where it was foraging for insects in the foliage.  These huge plants are not actually palms but are part of the bird-of-paradise family and got the name because the sheaths of the stems hold rainwater - a handy emergency water-supply for travellers.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Home again

No blog updates for a while - or photos as both my cameras suddenly spat their dummies and required new cards.  I've now bought a new one for my 'main' camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ7, but my handy little stick-in-your-pocket Kodak Easyshare LS420 might be terminally ill as it's multimedia card isn't made any more.

We've also been away for a few days - flew back from Sydney yesterday after a great 3-day break.  So impressed with Qantas this time - good seats, service and (amazingly!) very good meals!  Stayed in a lovely self-contained 1-bed apartment - Oaks Maestri Towers on Sussex St, only one block from Darling Harbour.  Large, airy, modern, quiet and only $134 a night thanks to a 3-night special on Wotif.  To be thoroughly recommended!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fungus or Resin?

Saw this amazing sight on a tree-trunk (species unknown) the other day - it was just too high up to touch and at first I thought it was some kind of fungus.  After such a wet, Wet season they are everywhere and come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes.  But it almost looks as if there's a sort of drip-effect at the bottom so perhaps it's a resin oozing out of the trunk.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tourism Daintree Region

I'm afraid the Blog has taken a bit of a back seat lately.  My other 'hat' is being secretary of our local volunteer tourism association, Tourism Daintree Region.  We've recently changed our name from Daintree Village Tourism Association so I've been very involved in updating and redesigning much of the original website I put together a few years ago.  And as of yesterday the new website is now 'live' at !  Phew!

Now I can concentrate on TDR's government grant application, deadline next week, for funding for regional map, picnic tables, signs and brochure racks for the Information Bay the association leases on the approach road to Daintree.

Wish us luck!!!

PS  Sign at the Daintree Village boat ramp - and it's very true.  Lots of crocs in the Daintree!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why we have no Rambutans ...

The last of the Rambutans!  This tree on the slope in front of the house is the only one still fruiting - the other trees finished a couple of weeks ago.  Oh well, it's quite out of reach to us - this is a fuzzy long zoom shot - so it's nice to see the Macleays Honeyeaters enjoying the fruit.  Mind you, they are also having to compete with hordes of Rainbow Lorikeets for the privilege!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dusky Honeyeater

A few light showers around today (how dare it on Peter's golf-day!!!) after a fabulous week of sunny days and pleasant temperatures.  We even half a half clean house again ... !  Thank goodness for pressure-cleaners which make light work of the after-effects of one of the wettest wet seasons for the past few years.

This is one of our many Dusky Honeyeaters on the Calliandra behind Sunbird Sanctuary.  And we're still regularly catching fleeting glimpses of the Buff-breasted Kingfishers.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Beetle

Well it's been an interesting Easter - one of the wettest for many years.  And with a 'full house' we have felt very sorry for our guests, especially Anni and Per from Denmark who are here for nine days ... and it has rained every day!  But one unusually fine day we were talking outside their bungalow when this huge green beetle landed on the Jasmine.  Both Per and I grabbed our cameras but could only get a shot of it's underside - it was about 3 cm long and I think it might be a Golden Green Stag, but would be happy if anyone can confirm this?

Several times the bridge was underwater so no-one could go anywhere but everyone said how much they loved our lovely old shed and many a happy hour was spent by everyone - playing darts, reading, sitting in the spa, barbequeing, chatting and enjoying the odd cold glass of something refreshing!

Friday, April 2, 2010


Do you believe in coincidences?  For some reason just last night I started thinking about Cassowaries and wondering if we will ever see one in our Valley.  They are often sighted north of the Daintree River next to the Cape Tribulation road and just recently one has been sighted at Wild Wings and Swampy Things, Barbara Maslen's property near Daintree Village.  Then this morning one of our guests told us he had seen what had to be a Cassowary footprint on one of our walking tracks here at Daintree Valley Haven!!!  We have a lot of fallen fruit from our Rambutans and Mangosteens so from now on will keep our eyes peeled for large visitors!  (The photo is a 'cheating' one as I took it a few years ago at Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary near Port Douglas - hopefully one day soon I may be able to post a more current one!)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wet - dry - wet - dry ...

Well, we thought the Wet was over - since last Tuesday we have had 536 mm (just over 21 inches) of rain!  And today some lovely sun and a pleasant breeze to dry out the soggy lawns so we can start mowing again.  This was the view from the kitchen earlier today.

I know I keep talking about butterflies but we never tire of their beautiful displays, and today there are hundreds of them - to the absolute delight of one of our keen-photographer guests!

I'm still trying to get a last shot of a Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher before they leave for their annual migration back to New Guinea and Asia - we can still hear them just below the house, and normally they do leave in about March.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A good harvest

Most of our many varieties of fruit trees produce at different times of the year so it is fairly unusual to have six varieties fruiting at the same time and I've just picked all the ones in the picture.

We have the biggest crop of Rambutans that we have had during our 13 years in Daintree - they are the hairy ones on the left - next to them in the bowl are delicious Mangosteens, bananas of course (these are called Ducasse - I think that's the right spelling) which is a sort of cross between a Sugar Banana and a Ladyfinger, lovely and sweet and soft, and in front are Lemonade Fruits.  Sadly that crop has pretty well failed this year - I was a bit too generous with the fertiliser! - they make beautiful marmalade and I try to make enough to last a year for guests' breakfast trays and for ourselves.  This year I'll have to beg, borrow or buy some from someone else.

Also cropping now are yellow Passionfruit (none around today as the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos have eaten them all!) and Hogplums (or Tahitian Apples) which I don't like so don't bother picking!