Saturday, November 7, 2015

King Parrots

We don't see these magnificent birds every year so yesterday we were delighted to see a couple of them feeding on the seeds of the Calliandra Bush.  Such stunning colours - and quite appropriate with Christmas coming up (again!)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Another 'dam' visitor!

As we await the first storms of the upcoming wet season the poor dam is slowly going down.  But this means visits from a variety of water-birds chasing small aquatic creatures.  I just snapped this White-necked Heron slowly wading through the shallows.  It's in breeding plumage as you can tell by the plum-coloured feathers.

Other birds we've seen have been lots of Pygmy Geese, White-faced Herons, Pied Cormorants, Royal Spoonbills and a variety of shapes and sizes of Egrets.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Someone's watching us!

Peter and I have just been for a walk along our walking trail, looking for any ripe limes on our wild-growing trees (found two!  the rest still small and green), and suddenly spotted one of our resident little Northern Swamp Wallabies giving us the beady eye.  I had to quickly zoom the camera so she's a little fuzzy.  They quite often come close to the bungalows if there is any dropped ripe fruit in season - good photo opps for guests!

Friday, October 2, 2015

More Flame

Just when we thought this year's normal two 'flushes' of the beautiful Flame of the Forest vine had finished we're amazed to see yet another flush.  We're not quite sure where it originated as googling various sources name New Guinea, the Philippines and India.  As it is in the trees where guests stop their cars when they arrive there are many oohs and aahs and lots of photos being taken!

Sunday, September 6, 2015


"Der spring is sprung, der grass is ris, I wonder where dem birdies is?  Der little birds is on der wing - ain't that absurd?  Der little wings is on der bird!!!"  One of my favourite old jokes, sorry!  But so true here in Daintree in springtime where the morning chorus is sounding louder and louder and the trees are alive with birds.  This little female Olive-backed Sunbird is patiently sitting in her nest near our kitchen and we really hope all goes well.  They so often fall prey to other birds, like the Black Butcherbird, or the eggs don't hatch or the chicks die of a virus.  Nature can be cruel.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spectacled Monarch

Our blog has been quiet for a while as we're in the middle of a very busy visitor-season.  But by coincidence all our guests left yesterday and we finished cleaning all the bungalows so this morning I had some spare time, before next guests arrive this afternoon, to slip out for a walk along our walking-trail with the camera and just spotted this little Spectacled Monarch in the foliage.  They move so fast so it was a quick shot!

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


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


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).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Butterflies galore

While we wait for Cyclone Nathan to decide where he's going to cross the coast(!) we're enjoying beautiful weather, lots and lots of different Butterflies and ... amazingly for this time of year ... very few Mozzies!  Whatever Nathan does we are in for a lot of wet weather so Peter and I have just been for a walk round our 30 acres and picked a bucket full of wild-growing limes - we like curries and these make wonderful pickles to go with them.  On the way back this lovely Blue-banded Eggfly was fluttering around us and landed long enough for me to get a half-decent shot.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Magpie Goose

A loud honking noise this morning and I looked out of the kitchen in time to see large wings flapping at the top of a tall tree overlooking our dam.  Grabbed the camera, went closer and saw this Magpie Goose - by the time I got back to the house another one had joined it.  They're often seen in large flocks on the nearby Daintree River but we don't often see them here,

Saturday, March 7, 2015

All our own fruits - almost!

Although we have dozens of different tropical fruit trees it's quite rare to have this many in season at once.  I've just made up this breakfast fruit platter for our UK guests - apart from the 3 Limes which I don't think they'd appreciate for breakfast.  Lemonade-fruit, Mangosteen, Carambola (Star-fruit or Five-corner), Rambutan, Yellow Passionfruit and the amazing bright red Dragonfruit, the only one not grown on our property but thanks to our next-door neighbour!

Monday, March 2, 2015


This beautiful weather we've been enjoying (what Wet Season???) has brought out masses of butterflies.  This lovely male Orchard Swallowtail (the female is more colourful) was fluttering alongside our walking-trail yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bridal Veil Fungus

Peter's been mowing the grass and spotted this Bridal Veil Fungus just in time - I tried to remove all the grassy bits but a few have stuck!  We often see amazing fungi during our rainy season, although after all that torrential rain last week we are enjoying beautiful fine sunny weather, while central and southern coastal Queensland, and also the Northern Territory to the west, are both bracing for cyclones.  It's a crazy country - parts of inland Queensland are still in drought.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A symphony of Frogs

The wet season has well and truly arrived although we have so far escaped the torrential rain a little south of us, but the forecast is for a lot more rain to come.  It's such a relief after what must have been one of the hottest, most humid, energy-sapping Januaries for years - now the temperature is much lower and can even feel quite cool while it's raining.

The dam is gradually filling up and the frogs are going mad!  There is an amazing frog-chorus, 24/7!  I took this little video a couple of years ago but the sound-effects are exactly the same.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Breadfruit again

Such a strange season for many of our fruit trees with several which have not produced for years suddenly deciding 'this is our year'!  These are Breadfruit on a huge tree near The Shed.  White firm flesh, very starchy, but sliced thinly and pan-fried in a little oil they make very nice crisps and cut into chunks can be roasted alongside the Sunday roast.  Other trees making a come-back include our one and only Mangosteen, one of our favourite fruits, and one of our several Carambolas (Five-corner, Star-fruit are other names) which hasn't produced for about 10 years.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

These guys look like real characters but I'm afraid they're not really our favourite birds as they are VERY partial to all kinds of tropical fruits, especially the ones which have to stay on the trees to ripen.  We're lucky indeed to salvage many Rambutans, Passionfruit, Star-fruit etc etc for ourselves!

I've been trying for ages to take some photos of our many Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers - heard a couple calling to each other down the driveway this morning, crept down just in time to see one fly off.  Looked up and spotted Cocky eyeing me!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Another new bird for us

This one had us, and local birding experts, scratching our heads.  We found it, late at night, on the verandah outside the front door and it had obviously flown into a window or the door.  We were just off to bed so I took a couple of very quick (and fuzzy!) photos, meaning to check it out in the morning.  After hours of searching apps, books and the internet we all agree it must be a Spotted Crake - colour of legs, size of tail and bill all indicate this but the plumage seems very dark.  If we'd thought(!) to check under it's tail, white feathers would have confirmed it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Turkey named Fred

An update on our visiting - now seemingly resident! - turkey.  He belonged originally to our Vietnamese neighbours (who are growing passionfruit and very kindly insist on giving us buckets of them - I think we're starting to LOOK like passionfruit), escaped from Lon, moved next door to another neighbour before apparently deciding life was better here as we, unlike the neighbours, don't have chickens to constantly peck him!  I'll post another photo of Fred soon - freedom obviously suits him as it's incredible the amount of condition he's put on in the past few days.  He looked pretty scrawny when we first saw him.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A new species for our bird list?

When a guest told us yesterday he had seen a turkey on the property we really did wonder if he'd drunk perhaps a little too much festive cheer.  Then this morning I looked out of the office window and this is what I saw - it looks as if someone's Christmas dinner has escaped!  Not being familiar with domestic turkeys we weren't sure at first if it's male or female but a Google search assures us that only males 'gobble' - and this one is certainly very vocal!  He's now enjoying munching through yesterday's thrown-out veggie scraps (also enjoyed by our Bandicoots, Wallabies and assorted other wildlife).

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year to everyone

Wishing everyone a very happy 2015.  We joined friends and neighbours - and our guests - at the Daintree Village Hotel last night.  Didn't quite make it to midnight, our staying-power isn't quite what it used to be!!!