(and sometimes the beast!)

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21.9.18

LAUGHING IT UP ABOUT REPTILES...

I love the kookaburras which visit the Jacaranda tree out the back and finally got a photo of them laughing it up... usually they've finished by the time I get out there and I'm left not getting the joke.  So when I heard a bit of chuckle yesterday morning I was at the window in record time and got to see this...
...poor little snake (because this particular kooka was fairly small) desperately trying to escape that vice-like beak.  It eventually expired but while I wasn't looking bird and reptile disappeared. OK, I wasn't really that sorry for the snake as I couldn't help wondering where he got it.
As an added bonus, another chuckle (obviously, you can't laugh it up too much with your beak full) and a different bird had a ?skink?  Not sure, could be a gecko but we do have a lot of skinks around here. I did actually feel for it though.
 This guy dropped in the other day for after noon tea, common green tree snake, looked a bit taken aback to find me looking at him.
It finally disappeared back into the tree and I've not seen it again.

21.8.18

FIRST IMPRESSIONS...

There's something wondrous about seeing something for the first time and since moving to Maleny, I seem to have had more than my fair share of them.  Here are a few of my favourites, some which I've already posted about here, here or here...
3 "first" butterflies taken through my window not long after I moved in. From left:  Green banded blue, White blue-line and a Macleays Swallowtail.
 I do love a pretty butterfly...
I had seen some tiny birds flitting around my trees but had a lot of difficulty trying to get a decent shot of them, because of their size, wind blowing the branches in and out of focus and their quickness. I couldn't even tell what they were. I was very excited to get this snap of a brown thornbill after playing hide and seek with them...
Eastern yellow robin spotted at Ewen Maddock Dam at Landsborough, where there is a great walk and now, I've observed while driving past, even has public toilets.
 My favourite "first" has to be my first sighting of a platypus in the wild.
I've spotted them in several spots around town now and was surprised at how small they are. There was concern that when Woolworths moved into town some years ago, building on the creek which meanders through Maleny, that the platypus would die out. Doesn't seem to be the case, fortunately.
Thanks to my eagle eyed daughter I was treated to my first azure kingfisher. Absolutely stunning plumage on them, and again, very small.  I've not seen another since that azure letter day. 
The large trees outside my windows are visited by many different birds, so far I've counted 19 different species. Of course, that includes many very common birds like magpies, crows and sparrows.
 So I was very pleased to see a bird with stunning blue eyes which turned out to be a female satin bower bird. I counted six females one day and then a week or so later this male turned up wearing his black coat. 
 I heard a strange call one morning, so was out the door in a flash with the camera, scanning the trees to see what was visiting (sometimes I think I might have a problem) and finally spotted this bar shouldered-dove hiding out on the far side of the largest tree. 
Today I ventured to Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve  where I attempted some photos of the many birds that live there. My talents were lacking in the rain forest gloom unfortunately. Blurry shots galore. Then I found this... a nesting wompoo fruit-dove. My first sighting after hearing their calls! It was too high to get a good perspective but I gave it a go. Perusing the shots when I got home I was very annoyed to find that the only shot that seemed to be not blurred was marred by a twig right in front of her eye! Curse you twig!  Will try again one day. Such colourful birds.
I'd heard of pademelons before but hadn't seen them before moving to this area. The ones at Mary Cairncross are very quiet, obviously very used to humans who wander the trails. Can't wait for my next "first".












17.8.18

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL...

So far I've counted 19 different birds in the trees at the rear of my house in Maleny. Sometimes it's awfully difficult to get the whole of the bird in the shot due to the swaying of the branches so I've started trying to at least get their pretty faces. 
This blue-faced honey eater looked a bit damp the day he flew in. 
I had never seen a bowerbird before this lady turned up. I've since seen a male in the same tree but wasn't able to get as good a shot as this, which shows off her eyes to perfection. 
Kookaburras are frequent visitors, laughing it up out there nearly every morning and again in the afternoon. This one just looks mildly amused...
Wind-swept and interesting pee wee took a break from battling the winds...
Seemed almost impossible to get decent shots of these little sweeties, brown thornbills. They flit around so quickly and are so small I've only managed to focus on them a couple of times in time to get a decent shot.
 And it's not just the birds enjoying the trees. Ringtail possums are out there chomping on most of the trees every night and also on many of my pot plants.  There are little bite marks in lots of my foliage.
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Here are a few of my favourite faces from the last time I visited Australia Zoo. My daughters gave my sister and I a meerkat encounter recently which was thrilling and this chap sat on my lap (and then on my head!). It was a rainy day but very enjoyable. 
This dopey guy looks like someone I know, who shall be nameless...
So does this one! Hello Auntie Joan...
One of the sweet little otters on display. Look at that face!

4.7.18

ANIMAL ROOF TOTEMS...

Oops! Another month passed without me updating the blog.  Good intentions, road to hell etc, will try to do better.
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I've noticed during my meanderings around Maleny that many (but not all) the stores/buildings in town have little wooden sculptures of wildlife on their roofs. I've been googling to try to find out why and whether they have a name. I've chosen to use totem but that hasn't helped in the search. The Chinese refer to similar (but mythical) animal decorations on their buildings as roof charms. The mythical beasts are set to pounce upon man and devour him should he stray from performing his duties with faithfulness and rectitude. The unicorn showing top right above was the only mythical beast I saw in Maleny but I daresay elephants and beavers aren't local to the area. 
I've yet to find a platypus sculpture on a store roof even though it's a local animal which is revered here. I had to make do with this stone sculpture, one of many by local artists, which line a local walk.
The store owners I've asked so far have no info for me either. Will keep asking though because I'm fascinated by them. The one on the local Co-Op store looks like driftwood but might just be meant as a crocodile.
 I know it's a practice that's not only done here as I noticed a few on country Victorian shops last time I was there.
These cockatoos were on opposite sides of the same roof.
This ?wombat? sculpture looks old and definitely a popular spider haunt. 
Thanks to my eagle eyed sister, Pam, I can say this is not a wombat. Got a better view and I'd agree it's probably a possum judging by the baby on the back. Wombats carry their young in pouches don't they?
Originally, I only saw one or two sculptures while wandering around, but once you really look they come out of hiding, so to speak.  I'll have to keep an eye out in other nearby towns.  Let me know if you have any info on them....
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UPDATE!  Found a couple more (how do I miss seeing them time and time again??) and the cat owner knew about them (they used to have a snake which was chasing the cat but it kept getting blown off).  They are purely decorative. Apparently, a former resident of the town who was a timber cutter used to carve them out of left over timber and sold them to whomever was interested. He now lives in the Noosa area so no doubt they'll be up there too.

This one isn't timber but thought I'd include it in my collection of... roof decorations. Can't  help feeling a little let down that there's no mystical reason for them. 
[FURTHER UPDATE! 14/8/18 - This happy horse caught my eye today right next door to where I live (perhaps my eyesight is failing, can't believe I'd never noticed it before today) while walking with my neighbour.  She didn't know about them either but has since found more info on them in a few minutes than I had.  They are part of Matt's Maleny Animal Trail and you can read more about them here in a local paper from 5 years ago.  There's a list of the animals and where they are and it seems some are missing or I can't see for looking. I would point out that the "cat" is actually a possum.  Hmmmm. I guess it's a little hard to be exact with a chainsaw. 

31.5.18

PLATYPUS HUNTING...

Since moving to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in Queensland, I've become obsessed with finding platypus in the wild.  Well, in the urban really as all these photos and have been taken in Obi Obi Creek which winds around Maleny. I had never seen one before even in a zoo so I was thrilled to realise I could see them within walking distance of my new house. 

Unless I can find some way of getting into the creek with a waterproof camera I'll have to be content with snaps taken from above, either from the many viewing platforms thoughtfully provided by Council or from a handy bridge. 
The direction of the light and the time of day makes a big difference to the quality of the photos of course. I've had all my sightings around 4pm. 
One of the first photos I took of my favourite subject, when I only had my small camera and the animal was a long way from the viewing platform.   
I couldn't wait to get back there with a camera which has a longer zoom. Nowadays, I'm more inclined to just watch and not worry about getting the perfect shot.
Of course there are other things to see and occasionally I notice them too. This water-hen was obviously checking her lipstick...
Although I have no photographic evidence of platypus here in the quiet waters above the weir, I have seen one disappear just as I arrived, and something further upstream which I suspect was my quarry but was too far away for a decent shot.
I tell people I reckon this rainbow ended (or started) at the weir but maybe the pot of gold is the platypus, which appear to be flourishing despite dire predictions during the  uproar over Woolworths building a store beside the creek a decade ago.  Many locals will tell you the platypus numbers have decreased. I know I've probably only seen three different creatures as the photos were taken at three difference spots on the creek.
PS: I'm told the plural is platypuses not platypi...