Rampant Garden Wildlife

So back to the garden, the seasons are changing yet again. Summer has announced it's arrival with all the subtlety of a drunk 'celebrity' having a wardrobe malfunction. The humidity is up and temps are slowly creeping into the 'bugger me' end of the spectrum.

We have had some rain, well - not 'rain,' more like teasing smatterings of moisture ... just enough to get the mozzies all excited and bitey. The green tree frogs look to be doing it tough - they're underweight and for such usually robust critters, it's a bit dour. We also have a troop of bandicoots (ranging from kitten to fat-cat size), who seem determined to destroy the lawn - never heard Jo swear so much ...

The 'normal' critters are rocking around in abundance though. Our resident white-lipped tree frogs seem to be doing alright, and in fact have grown in number. While the skinks have been dashing about underfoot settling disputes in their usual pugilistic way.

One fellow managed to get himself a 'date' ... and although there didn't seem to be a great deal of 'romance' involved, passion certainly wasn't in short supply. He began their tryst by rather rudely grabbing the female by the tail, he then clung on until together they had maneuvered themselves into a suitably private spot. Before he again clamped onto her with his jaws - at the same time stroking her back with his front leg using a feathering motion.

Copulation was brief (less than a minute), before the male scampered off - no doubt looking for a sandwich. The female remained for a short time - seemingly a little bemused by the whole affair.

The geckos too are pairing up - again with a little frisky nibbling. I better be careful here I suppose - the lip-pursing, knee claspers might show up with the self-appointed moral-thought police and demand an 'R' rating for this blog ... Ridiculous I know, then again - a scientist DID get into trouble for not wearing a nouveau 'defenders of the PC faith sanctioned' shirt during an interview recently...

What would once have been laughably absurd is now the myopically narrow norm ... So a big thanks to all the over-analysing, pseudo intellectual, hysterically bombastic, ideologically conformist, self-righteous shits out there ... cheers for making the world a little meaner - yay you.

Sigh ... anyhoo ... on with the post ...

We've also had an influx of a variety of beetles. Including this rather regal insect. I'm fairly sure it's a member of the Christmas beetle family ... unfortunately, no photo could do this critter justice. The shimmering greens and golds of it's exoskeleton make it a very aussie beetle indeed.

Staying with beetles a while longer we disturbed a male and female rhino beetle while gardening. It doesn't matter how often I see these chaps, their sheer battle scarred bulk and ability to 'hiss' when grumpy never fails to raise a smile. And if the bandicoots don't clean them up - hopefully they'll continue their line in the garden ...

Some feathered friends have also returned from abroad - metallic starlings (Aplonis metallica) are, in my opinion, one of the most under-rated aves we have in North QLD. They appear annually around spring/summer from across the ditch at the top end to breed. We often see small flocks of them, but this guy took a liking to the garden, obligingly 'posing' for a pic (although he did seem a touch put out when I snapped him mid preen ...). The remarkable glossy plumage and striking red eye means this one is a fully-fledged adult.

And then there was this small, delicate bird - perhaps a 'Little Grass Bird' - certainly has the feet for grasping slender reeds and stems.

Well, that's about it - Xmas is roaring towards us like a 400 pound black friday shopper with a fist full of coupons, but I hope you'll find time to treat yourself to the best kinda gift possible - a little bit of self acceptance and a great deal of compassion for others ... (failing that - simply nail the over-proof egg-nog eh?).

Hopefully there'll be another post before Santa, but if not - have a safe, hug filled and mildly wobbly Xmas and we'll catch up soon ...

Take Care - Paul :)

While we're discussing goodwill to mankind and such ... I thought I'd leave you with this ole gem:

Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. 

After that, it really doesn't matter ... 

He's a mile away and you've got his shoes.

~ Billy Connolly


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