Thursday, 19 January 2012

Jottings from the Tropics: 19 Jan 2012

I left a pile of plant debris in the garden. This is because I am lazy careful to ensure that nutrients are recycled. It does not take long for organic material to decay in this climate. It is even faster than the crisper drawer in your fridge. (Although not my fridge, which has an Instant Rot function.)

Now Harry the brush turkey is eyeing off the debris pile as the foundations of a new incubation mound. I saw him circling it this morning. Then he strode to the top and looked around like stout Cortez. [Ed.— the pile is not that tall] I think he views it as prime real estate.

I will be redistributing that garden waste before he enacts his plan. This is a lesson well learnt.

- o O o -

Pip the joey has Harry completely cowed. He sidles around her. She might remain at the bottom of the social order with the other pademelons, but she is Tyrant of the Turkeys.

He has brought this on himself. Harry —and the hens — will snatch food from a pademelon’s paws. Sometimes, a turkey pecks at the paddie’s nose first to distract it from the imminent theft. The birds are appalling standover merchants.

Red, the big adult male paddie, was the first of the mob to fight back. If a turkey approached with what looks like felonious intent, he will wrestle the meddlesome megapode, growling and hissing and trying to bite through the feathers. This frequently backfires. While Red is dealing out rough marsupial justice, another turkey sneaks in and steal the food.

Of course, Harry does not take this treatment without responding. He strikes open-beaked at Red’s backside. Not that he ever makes contact. And I’ve yet to see him do it from the side. It is always from behind. But that's not the point. It's about the vibe. He probably doesn’t know that a pademelon can do a 180 degree turn in one leap. I hope I’ve got the camera ready when he finds out.

- o O o -

Windows are not good for productivity. Earlier today, a large male Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo hopped up the driveway, detoured around the house and continued into the forest. He was a particularly striking animal, strongly marked with black and charcoal grey across his shoulders, back and tail. I am still sitting here, with the camera on my lap, in the hope that he will hop past again.

Tomorrow I might visit Atherton racetrack to steal a set of blinkers.


magda and crew in australia said...

Have you ever thought about writing a book with photos Snail... well when the subjects time things right for you and camera.

It is so wondrous reading what you see... what is extra special is the animals are so much a part of your everyday life, and so comfortable they are simply living, not being on guard.

The blinkers might work... but the sounds would themselves entice you to look I'm sure... it's the camera bit that needs to be ready.

Love your Stories Snail... you describe so well the way the Critters interact...

Snail said...

I'm glad you enjoy these jottings, Magda. I spend more time that I should watching the wildlife. Still, it's better than television! (Luckily, the signal was switched off in early Dec.)

I have thought about a book, but that's as far as it's got --- just thinking about it. Too many distractions!!!