Thursday, 30 September 2010

Torres Strait Pigeons - New Home

The Torres Strait Pigeons used to arrive in Darwin about this time of year [very early pre- wet season], stay for the wet season, and leave in February or March.

They seem to now be permanently here, or at least there are many now who seem to make Darwin home. In Darwin house yards we have an abundance of palms trees, especially Carpentaria palms and they absolutely love to eat the medium sized, bright, red seeds. These seeds are quite acidic, and the pulp around the seed can burn your hands.........they love to eat that and then drop or sometimes excrete the actual seed kernel, along with some acidic waste pulp. That material can lift paint off cars!!

There has however, been much ado in our backyard lately........a breeding pair of the pigeons has established a nest in a palm tree in the back yard. Since residency has been established, we have had two significant storms along with very strong winds in front of the storm rain. They do seem secure in the site now.

Very early days..........definitely no eggs yet.

Watch this space for updates.

It is unusual, as I cannot remember seeing Torres Strait pigeons breeding in our yard before, yet we have had plenty of palms. We have a few large trees, so bird nests are not unusual, but most of the nests seem to be those of honeyeaters, another common bird in backyards.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

A Tree Climbing Dog??

Well, actually..........NO.

However, it is VERY disconcerting to hear the sound of an apparent dog bark coming from up in the trees surrounding our house. We have a locally resident barking owl in our neighbourhood.

First noticed a few weeks ago on a quiet still evening, coming from behind the house, then in the large African mahogany at the front, near the street, then in the next door neighbour's trees.

A good quality torch was grabbed.........and there it was, back in the mahogany, then flew off a little way. Since then there has been a fairly regular cry in the evening.

We do have many trees around us, so there is plenty of sites to use.

There is a lot of information on this site:
and some quality photos here -

Obviously not so common in other places but it seems to be fairly common here in Darwin. The bird call is just like a quiet dog bark.

Monday, 20 September 2010

FOUND - A New Tropical Frog

Frogs are supposed to be the barometer of the environment. If that is true, then the NT is doing ok............a new frog has been found!!

Rumour also hath it that there may be more.......

After all, the region is relatively unexplored for both flora and fauna, so one could expect these sorts of events, I guess. is a new frog, and is as yet unnamed.

More about it here including a photo. There are more on the ABC web site too.

And not to be outdone, a new plant was also found recently, near Emerald Springs [ see more here - ] south of Darwin. This plant however, does have a name - Alysicarpus suffruticosa - a close relative of buffalo clover.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Weeping Rosewoods are DYING

What a difference a year makes......................

This is what the trees were like a year ago, shown in the middle photo

The weeping rosewoods have beautiful yellow flowers, and are magnificent shady trees.

BUT........a dreadful disease is slowly killing many of the now large trees around Darwin.

The photo below was taken today.......and all the trees in the previous post, about 10 months ago are DEAD, very dead!!!

The problem was first noted in the main city area, and these trees are alongside Bagot Road, at Millner, in the northern suburbs of Darwin, maybe 12 -13km from the first dead trees.

It is hoped disease resistant lines will be available in maybe a year or so, but till then, there will be a lot more trees dead, and sadly, it is the larger specimens that seem to die.

And there are a lot of these trees around Darwin.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Its OVER........

Australia has a new government................but for how long?

Plenty of pundits [ on both sides of politics] are saying the new Labor government will be lucky to last 18 months.

It will be an absolute roller coaster of a ride so watch out.................

There are plenty of media stories around on all major channels.

The cartoon seems to sum up well the predicament of the new Prime Minister.

[cartoon "borrowed" from Punch magazine]