Tag Archives: kookaburra

…we all know frogs go…

I’m constantly amazed and delighted by the variety of wildlife with which we share our home.  If I tried to name all the types of birds, for instance, that come by our garden (let alone the rest of the property), I’m sure that I could fill a page easily and still miss some out.

I love listening to the bird calls, starting with the kookaburras in the early morning, right through to our boobook owls well into the night – although I was a little less enamoured of a male common koel that spent last spring singing most of his way through a full octave then stopping, leaving me waiting for the last note, before repeating his call incessantly – all night!  It took a couple of sleepless nights before I got used to that call and slept through his noisy courting.

On the other hand, I never tire of the song of our magpies, nor the cheeky chirping of the blue wrens or silvereyes.

Another sound I love is the chorus of frog calls that serenade us through the evenings during spring and summer.  One of my favourite memories of our first year here at Seventy Seven Acres was the night we decided to go up to the little dam (probably better called the reed pond) by torchlight to see what we could find.  All through the reeds were little clumps of frog spawn, while adult frogs clambered up the thin stalks or nuzzled into the soft dirt beside the water.  Wherever we walked, silence would fall, but the calls from all around the rest of the dam echoed back and forth, a bit like a tennis match.  I was particularly struck by the sound the pobblebonk frogs made – it really does sound like “pobble-bonk”!

Just recently we’ve had a few frogs come visiting us, like a little brown tree frog that moved into the breezeway where we had just installed a couple of Dicksonia Antarctica plants and were watering them every evening with a fine haze of dam water for a couple of hours to help them settle in.

Little brown tree frog... enjoying the mister during a recent hot spell

The little brown tree frog… enjoying the mister during a recent hot spell.  The actual frog was only about the size of a twenty cent coin.

An even smaller tree frog came a-hunting on our bathroom window a couple of nights ago, too.  It was fascinating to see him from underneath, as he reached up onto the glass, chasing minute insects.  Alas, he was gone before I could fetch a camera, but he provided a few moments of enthralling entertainment before he slunk off into the darkness.

I suspect we won’t be seeing – or hearing –  too many more this season, as our evenings are starting to cool down, and our mornings are definitely feeling a little chilly.  I don’t know a lot about frogs – despite a childhood obsession with tadpoling – but I think they sleep the winter away, tucked up cosy somewhere until the growing warmth of spring wakes them up and gets them on the move.

Hmm.  Something else I’ll have to learn about.  I wonder if there is a handy, pocket sized field guide for the frogs of our region…

King of the Bush is He…

A pair of kookaburras has recently taken to visiting our garden and the immediate surrounds.  While they are certainly not the only ones around – there are several ‘tribes’ that we hear calling regularly, from different parts of the property – this particular pair are definitely feeling quite at home in our presence.  The one in the photo is watching while Matt is clearing the slope down to the lower dam  (getting rid of the long poa grass and spiky acacia bushes) in preparation for summer, and is not at all worried by the noise of the brush-cutter or the mulcher.Image

Kookaburras are a kind of kingfisher and are quite large in size, up to about 40cms in length.  They are carnivorous birds, mostly living on insects, worms and small crustaceans.  They certainly like the yabbies in our dams.  We often find their leftovers – a bit of claw – here and there around the place. 

I’m told that kookaburras are also partial to frogs, small mammals and birds, and young snakes.  I found a small – somewhat dead –  brown snake, minus its head, outside our bedroom window one day last year, and can only surmise that one of the kookaburras dropped it while flying over!

I’m wondering if this one is on the lookout for a something to eat – he (or she – I’m not sure how to tell) may well be hoping to score a quick treat running (or slithering) away as Matt works his way down towards the water.  Or perhaps he is just curious.  Some of the things we people get up to must be quite incomprehensible to the wildlife we share our home with.

I’m guessing this must be a young pair, just setting up home.  They seem to be on their own, anyway, and not part of one of the other tribes. Apparently, kookaburras mate for life, and the young from previous years’ matings help with parenting duties until they make their own way out into the world, so perhaps these two are enjoying their first season together and will be building up a family over the next few years.

I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for them.

They are a beautiful (and cheerful) addition to the list of visitors whose company we enjoy.