Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroos (Dendrolagus lumholtzi), one of the two Australian species (the other one, Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo, only occurs further north), are rare in the Kuranda area. Their stronghold are the Atherton Tablelands, and we are privileged to have them on our large forest property near Mount Hypipamee National Park, south of Atherton.
Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroos, despite their size (like a small koala), are difficult to spot in the rainforest.
On our property, where the forest is more open, the resident male can sometimes be seen making his way along the creek -either on the ground or amongst the trees.
Recently, we spotted him in a tree near our cabin while we were having lunch on the veranda.
Initially, when he noticed us, he was a bit nervous, as indicated by his tail-swishing, but he soon relaxed.
After more than an hour he went on his way again.
Tree-kangaroos are not strictly nocturnal, they can often be observed during the day, too.
“Our” cassowary made an appearance, with his 3 two-month-old chicks, one week ago.
The chicks are inquisitive, yet still keep very close to dad.
They all look very healthy and well fed. Quite a few trees are fruiting; several species of figs and laurels, Black Palms (Normanbya normanbyi) and Kuranda Quandongs (Elaeocarpus bancroftii)- the latter two might still be a bit too large for the chicks to swallow.
Unfortunately,”our” cassowary’s core territory , he had his nest there, is under threat:
the 28 ha rainforest property between us and Kuranda National Park has been advertised for sale.
Without interest and support from governments we are trying to raise funds to purchase and conserve said property in perpetuity.
Digging a trench through the rainforest has its rewards: A northern leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius cornutus) fell out of the canopy close by, hotly pursued by a spotted catbird. The catbird was quite persistent in its effort to get to its prey, and human intervention was not what it had expected.
We wouldn’t have thought a catbird might be preying upon a gecko almost its own size.
This gecko’s tail is not the original one (it is smoother, not as spiky) : they can regrow a new tail after injury or deliberate discarding ( in order to distract a predator, while making a get-away – the discarded tail even wriggles around for a while).
Now that it is getting warmer, reptiles are more active. Our resident spotted tree monitor (Varanus scalaris) is clambering up and down its favourite post on the cabin every day, and we are encountering more snakes.
A female water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii) was observed laying eggs in a small sandy hill very close to a creek and only about 1 metre above the waterline. The last 2 years we watched a water dragon digging her nest about 20 metres from the creek, and several metres higher. Could this mean that there won’t be any flooding rains in the foreseeable future? The eggs take about 2 months to develop.