Monday 20 November 2023

Mass Emergence: Termites

 On the morning of 20 November 2023 the small dome of Termes sp. located near the Brush Turkey mound erupted for about a half hour with thousands of alate (winged) reproductive termites taking flight. This was noted before in this Blog on 20 September 2010 from the same mound. See: The weather was cloudy and it has not rained for weeks. So just what triggered the emergence is hard to say.  If it rains later in the day, then maybe the termites are good weather forecasters.

Click on the photo to enlarge

Close examination will reveal that the mound is completely covered with termites that are about to fly off.
One of the flying termites. 

Having mated, females select a suitable site for a new nest and commence housekeeping. Only an extremely small percentage of individuals are successful in establishing a new nest. Birds, lizards, insects and other wildlife feast on the insects and other environmental factors limit successful establishment of a nest.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Cassowary update 2

 The young cassowaries are growing nicely despite the extraordinary dry conditions that we have at present. It seems that there are palm fruits and other rainforest trees dropping fruits and flowers that they eat to sustain them. The stream is still running so there is no thirst problem. Hopefully the chicks are beyond the desires of the local goannas. Wild pigs might be a problem should they encounter the sleeping birds at night.

Remember to click on the image to enlarge

Mr Cassowary and the three chicks.
Mrs Cassowary presents no threat to the chicks but the male bird gives way when she appears. He moves well away and waits until she leaves. The chicks wander around under her feet and she makes no threatening moves.

Cattana Wetlands Night Walk 11 November 2023

Cattana Wetlands is a developing coastal rainforest north of Cairns, Queensland. It was once a sugarcane field but the Cattana family gifted the area to the Cairns Regional Council for natural replanting. Ponds were already present at the site and have been naturally populated by aquatic plants, fish, insects AND the odd crocodile.  Replanting of thousands of trees and shrubs has been undertaken largely by the volunteers of the Friends of the Cairns Botanic Gardens

It is remarkable to see the growth of trees and shrubs over a ten year period. The Friends have had a number of Night Walks and Moth Nights to stimulate interest. In addition, Bird Walks, Bat Nights and Fish Surveys have proved popular. An astronomical night is planned as some of the open areas and lack of ambient light seem perfect for star gazers. As with many tropical activities, the weather can be a problem.

Remember to click on the photos to enlarge

Green Lacewing, Chrysopidae
Glyphodes multilinealis, Crambidae

Oenospila flavifusata, Geometridae

Thalassodes pilaria, Geometridae

Asura sp, Arctiidae

  Haritalodes sp., Geometridae BR

Agrotera sp. Crambidae
Palpita sp., Crambidae


Calolampa sp., Blaberidae, BR

Balta sp female on Lomandra flower spike, Ectobiidae
                                                 Balta sp female on Lomandra flower spike
Carbrunneria maxi, Ectobiidae
                                                           Carbrunneria maxiEctobiidae
Neomantis australis, Iridopterygidae
Xanthogryllacris punctipennis, Gryllacrididae, last instar male
Nunkeria sp., Gryllacrididae

Friday 20 October 2023

Let Me In!

 Might is right. 

Cockatoos get what they want using a combination of numbers, loud squawking and display of the very menacing beak.

The Brush Turkey usews much the same technique but the cockatoos are no match.

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Cassowaries 2023 Update 1

 Remember to click on the image to enlarge

 Today the male Cassowary showed up with the three chiks and the large female.

The male was intimidated by the female and kept his distance while the chicks moved freely amongst the two adults.

Saturday 23 September 2023

Cassowary Chicks of 2023

Cassowary Chicks of 2023

On 23 September 2023 Mr Cassowary showed up with three young chicks. He usually ends up with one or two, additional chicks succumbing to predators or accidents. One year he ended up with no chicks at all.

It was obvious that they were young and inexperienced. They stayed close to Pops and were very observant. They will have to be because it is early springtime and hungry snakes, goannas and predatory birds are nesting. A slight error could spell death.

The bubs are very curious about all the new sights, sounds and smells. It seems that they are very young and the dad must have been nesting rather close to our house. Now let's hope the neighbourhood dogs and cats behave themselves. 


Sunday 23 April 2023

Autumn Beauties

 The season is changing in the northern tropics of Australia. Daily temperatures are gradually lowering and the "wet season" is coming to a close--hopefully. With the days slightly shorter, there is a changing regime of insects. Many of the same species stick around until conditions become too dry or cool, but many others are appearing.

Here are a few insects that have been coming t the lights.

Remember to click on the photo to enlarge

Drepanidae Tridrepana lunulata 

Geometridae Eumelea rosalia female 
Crambidae Diaphania indica broadcasting
Aganaidae Asota caricae
Geometridae Genus ?
Anthelidae Anthela sp
Noctuidae Phyllodes imperialis the Imperial Moth

Anthelidae Anthela sp head on
Arctiidae Amata bicolor 
Arctiidae Chamaita barnardi
Crambidae Glyphodes actorionalis 
Crambidae Heortia vitessoides
Crambidae Parotis sp 
Crambidae Parotis sp head-on
Geometridae Berta chrysolineata
Noctuidae Donuca castalia 
Geometridae Aeolochroma viridicata 
Noctuidae Anomis lyona
Tettigoniidae; Phaneropterinae; Cuirrimundria delicata female
Tettigoniidae; Phaneropterinae; Cuirrimundria delicata female
Tettigoniidae; Phaneropterinae; Kurandoptera purpura female
Tettigoniidae; Phaneropterinae; Kurandoptera purpura female
This vespid wasp seems to be at the end of her life. She sat in the sun all day.
Active caterpillar on tree trunk.Family Lymantriidae???
Trigonidiidae; Trigonidiinae; Homoeoxipha lycoides The Tinkling Leaf-runner

Gryllotalpidae: Gryllotalpinae; Gryllotalpa sp

Lampyridae: Luciola sp