In town today, everyone — including me — was complaining about the heat. When I mentioned that I used to live in Townsville where it is hot and humid for half of the year and hot and dusty for the rest of it, the response was a chorus of sympathetic groans. No one, they decided, could actually live in Townsville. I assured them that not only do people live there, but they sometimes manage it without air conditioning. At that point, they decided I was simply making things up. There are limits to the suspension of disbelief.
When I checked the temperature, it was 27C (80F), which is not hot. Nor was it particularly humid. Still, I think we will all be squatting in the transmitter station at the top of Mt Bellenden Ker next summer and plunging our feet into buckets of ice. Who’s joining me?
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Rain at the beginning of the week brought out the fireflies in large numbers. The bright green sparks are all through the forest. They are curious insects and will approach if you are wearing a head torch, even though the LED is a different colour from their light and is not flickering on an off. They are scintillating company.
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Just on dusk last night, when I went for a stroll to see what was around, I heard a pheasant coucal do its ‘pouring the wine’ call. Pheasant coucals are large, non-parasitic cuckoos with dapper plumage and a death wish. When someone working on a population of coucals lamented that he couldn’t catch any of the birds to fit with bands, about half a dozen people (including me) suggested that he strung his nets across the road. Tarmac is the natural habitat of the pheasant coucal. You will often see collections of feathers along the highway.
I am hugely fond of these remarkable birds. They are not usually rainforest species, but I think they, like the kookaburras and currawongs, visit periodically from the paddocks across the river. The last one I saw was a male in his houndstooth check breeding plumage swaggering down the main street in Yungaburra. He looked as though he owned the place. In his opinion, he probably did.
[Update: See a photo of an absolutely adorable nestling at Mainly Mongoose.]