An Empty Nest

With the risk of turning our nesting sunbird family into a mind-numbing repetition of sequels - I again decided that you'd like to know how the efforts of these plucky little birds have, or have not, been rewarded.

They've been rewarded ... I might've spoilt things a bit there.

At the very least, a newly breeding pair has succeeded in raising a chick. No mean feat when I consider just how many predators were lined up against them. Not to mention the environmental factors: cyclones, changes in season (complete with unusually dramatic changes in temperature). And perhaps most dangerously of all, the fact that they built right in the path of the beer fridge ...

Such challenges were over-come, (and once more I find myself being completely and unjustifiably proud of that).

Anyway, my lack of emotional distance notwithstanding ... here's some pics:

Caught in the dying light of a tropical winters day. Mum with yet another tasty morsel

I continue to be amazed at the amount of energy raising one chick requires


Still, what goes in ...

(and you thought changing nappies was onerous)

Thus, the closing of another wild window we were privileged enough to peak through in our garden. After leaving the nest, the fledgling and it's parents are still close by, but I've annoyed them enough. So no more pics, at least for a while.

In the past, at our old place, I got some snaps of a newly 'liberated' chick still being cared for by it's parents. If you're not sunbirded-out, here's the link: Garden Birds of North QLD

Lastly, and as always ... take care - Paul :)

Sunbird Nesting

Knocking about the top end for work has left little time for updates, but being home for the weekend, I thought you'd like to know what's happening with the sunbird family ...

The single egg has hatched and mum is dutifully shuttling insects back and forth to feed her rapidly growing chick. Dad turns up periodically, branch hops, tweets, titivates and generally makes a nuisance of himself. His anxiety is palpable - but the female seems to ignore him with studied indifference ... women eh lads?.

The energy these birds expend raising their brood is awe inspiring and these tiny avian jewels have my full respect.

Nesting in the tropical sun ... sux

Even though it's winter here - the sun blanketing her nest is enough to make the bird pant ... she didn't stop roosting though - tough these sunbirds.

Male sunbird on guard


Female - doing most of the actual work (typical, right ladies?)


Spiders seem to be a staple of this chicks diet

A tasty mantis is a welcome change

Mum - having a well deserved sugary drink of necter

Thanks to Jo who stumbled across it, we have a new critter spot in the garden. This badge huntsman spider is about the span of a tea saucer - the underside of it's abdomen accounts for the name with a distinct shield or badge present. This arachnid was very still and didn't move at all - however, they shouldn't be trifled with ...

Neosparassus sp

Badge Huntsman have been known to bite and general symptoms include local severe pain and swelling, sweating, nausea and vomiting. A cold pack may relieve local pain.

Seek medical attention if symptoms persist. ^

Arachnophobia aside, we've also had a new/old friend turn up ... the quizzical and very personable Leaden Flycatcher ... groovy little birds.

Myiagra rubecula

Speaking of birds - this Oriole and her partner stripped our chillie plants of their fruit. I couldn't believe it - but after a bit of research (you know, I 'googled' it) - turns out that birds can't taste chillie (they don't have the heat receptors necessary to be a soccer fan in Coventry).

Who knew?

no no ... help yourself

Like I said, I've been working away and snapping the odd pic with the phone as I go - so here's one from my back yard (for all of us sugar addicts) ...

sugar cane

Cape Tribulation (click to enlarge)

I have SOOOO many ph pics, I'll not bore you with them.

Instead, to finish - when I put the oil for the mower away today - I was watched by an old and trusted friend ... an indicator of global ecological health and in my opinion, one that's continually overlooked ... an amphibian. And a perennial favourite - a rainbow skink on the prowl...

You'll miss me when I'm gone

Carlia longipes

The shield or badge huntsman is nocturnally active and occasionally comes into houses, but less frequently than other huntsman spiders. Outside it can be found hunting for prey on the trunks of trees or in foliage.

During the day it will retreat beneath the bark of a tree. A silken retreat is built in a similar situation for moulting and egg laying. Some species of Neosparassus build a silken retreat in foliage by gluing several leaves together, whilst others construct shallow burrows.

The egg sac, which is a flattish silken capsule, is guarded by the female. During this period she can be quite aggressive and will rear up in a defensive display if provoked ... ^

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