Flying-Foxes make Camp

Watching the Flying Foxes. The camp is about 250 metres on the river bank before our place and stretches along through the trees about 250 metres in length.

Watching the Flying Foxes.
The camp is about 250 metres on the river bank before our place and stretches along through the trees about 250 metres in length.

 

A couple of months ago we heard the distinctive sound of Flying Foxes . We have never seen Flying Foxes here although we are told they have been here before.  Bats are the only mammals capable of  sustained flight. Conservation of our Flying Foxes is really important because of their role in the pollination and seed dispersal of Australian forest trees. Grey Headed Flying Foxes are listed as vulnerable , due to the logging of their habitat. They are found in coastal south-eastern Australia from Victoria to Miriam Vale in Queensland ,and inland to the western slopes. Adults weigh from 600-1000g with a forearm of 140-175 mm. In captivity they can live for 30 years. To my knowledge there is no accurate data for lifespan in the wild although scientists have used growth rings in the teeth which show some animals have existed for over 20 years.

Last night about 7.45pm I was having a cold shower outside. The moon was not quite full but full enough to illuminate the night . Directly above me almost close enough to touch thousands of Flying Foxes were heading out from camp to feed . It took about 20 minutes for them all to pass by. It really was a wonderful sight and I thought how lucky I was to see that at home.

up close and personal

up close and personal

A very different experience from seeing them fly out over the city areas . I thought about Stellaluna , my little orphan I raised and wondered if she might be among them! She did come here for a weekend .Her and I travelled from Sydney by train .She was snuggled up in the pocket in front of my T.shirt, custom made for her. She was first taken to the crèche at Gordon for a few weeks before release as there is a large colony live there. On release she went to Gordon Railway Station and landed on a man’s shoulder .Fortunately this fellow liked the FFs and knew them and about the crèche so he took her there. All the ones at the crèche were tagged ( also had an item of mum’s clothing to hang beside) so Judy who runs the crèche knew who it was. She was kept there for a few more weeks before releasing again. I reckon she was trying to get back to mum and remembered (who says they have no memory) that the train might take her there.

Stellaluna  grape munching

Stellaluna
grape munching

Stellaluna almost flying

Stellaluna almost flying

To a tired bat In the city overhead power lines look like a nice branch to rest on. Usually they will be electrocuted when they reach for the next “branch”. During October to December  often the female bats that stop to rest on the power lines,  are carrying their baby (extra weight) and tired from having to look after two.If you see a bat hanging on a powerline by itself during the day, it is either seriously injured or dead. In either case, please always be on the lookout for a baby as they often survive the electrocution and can live for up to four days clinging to their mother. If there are any signs of life for the adult and/or baby, please call a wildlife rescue line immediately,  and note the street address and if possible the power pole numbers.

Energy companies  assist bat carers to retrieve bats from power lines although they can take some time and some orphans may die during the wait. When we lived in Sydney Larry devised a pole arrangement for retrieving bats of power lines. It’s illegal so I certainly don’t advise anyone to do such a dangerous thing. However, he was successful in saving some without electrocuting himself. I had a little orphan named “Electra”  of course! Power lines and aerial wires kill thousands of flying fox yearly. Crocodiles, snakes, white bellied sea eagles, power owls and goannas are known predators of flying foxes.

Goanna with flying fox

Goanna with flying fox

Crows,Dingoes, domestic dogs and foxes are also seen around camps, probably scavenging for dead individuals. We have discovered that Goanna’s also prey on Flying Foxes.

Since I last posted an update Larry has spotted a Squirrel Glider so we know they are around here also .Unfortunately he didn’t have his camera. He also saw an Eastern yellow Robin, although said to be common we haven’t seen any here before. We were excited that we had flocks of musk lorikeets visiting for a couple of months. We have never seen any type of lorikeet here before.

Musk lorikeets visiting

Musk lorikeets visiting

bearded dragon2

Bearded Dragon

 I spotted this Bearded Dragon sun baking while doing some raking . He went off into his log when he realised I was around .

Bearded Dragon home

Bearded Dragon home

The Koels have done their yearly pass through. We haven’t heard one for a week so we think they have moved on. Although we are delighted when they arrive those of you who hear the constant Koel cry will understand when we say ,thank goodness! They had  fierce competition this year from the resident Friar birds for the Mulberries.

visiting Koel

visiting Koel

We have 2 trees which came out in lots of berries this year but we didn’t get to eat any!  Koels love them along with loquats which we didn’t know we had as we thought the tree was an avocado. We did get some of them though  which I made into very tasty jam. The friar birds had their yearly feast on the silky oak flowers and were drunk for weeks!

Silky Oak in flower

Silky Oak in flower

Bronte still comes and spends time here in the house paddock and is now having her third baby, she’s a wonderful mother .Bebe is nearly as large her and still drinking milk. All those manuals that say wean greys at 12mths have got it wrong! We have had proof more than once now. We had a mother grey with a very young a baby that started coming here and she had a nasty mouth wound .We couldn’t get anywhere near her and felt sure she was going to die. Larry found her dead down on the river bank a couple of weeks later. The young one would come here sometimes with Bronte and Bebe , sometimes with Bozo who is sometimes  here with Bronte .We think the pouch young she is carrying now is probably his. We called the other youngster Bebop and tried to get near thinking we might be able to bottle feed but to no avail. Surprisingly a couple of months later this little one was still around and managed to survive without milk. I think having a safe place to come to would have also helped. I guess this means that you can wean earlier but if it’s possible not to. If you look closely at the image of Bebop you can see that the fur doesn’t look as healthy as Bebe or Britty I will stick with what I have always done with the greys and  give milk till at least 16 – 18 months regardless of what a lot of the manuals say!

Orphan Bebop

Orphan Bebop

We haven’t seen Bebop for a while now but it is possible especially if a little girl she may have managed to join a group, we hope so.

Britty is about 2 years old now, still at home ……..   completely free as she has been most of her life. Wallaroos are independent at about 16mths old but Britty seems to like it round here. Maybe she will always stay round and bring her babies like Bronte does. We have noticed a very handsome buck hanging around and heard footsteps in the night on the back veranda that sounded to loud for Britty. Larry got up and had a look and it was the buck !

Britty relaxed ,resting

Britty relaxed ,resting

Pretty Britty

Pretty Britty

Raising Britty has been very different from the greys .Wallaroos are macropods with attitude! Britty hisses and swipes the broom which she dislikes and bites me occasionally if she feels like it!

Bebe drinking.

Bebe drinking.

The cockatiels are still very happy and are now 12.Since I took these pics 3 more have been born .We were very surprised to see Lemmon. A cockatiel this colour would not survive long in the wild. We are now taking the eggs away as breeding cockatiels in captivity is not what we want to do.

Young Chu baby of Chu & Mani

Young Chu
baby of Chu & Mani

You may remember me talking about the horses that live about 6 ks before our place. When we moved here there were two.”Bailey” mare and “Rebel” stallion. Along came “Twinkle” who we watched being born. I was privileged and I was asked to name her. Now  there are two more , Teensy and Tiny!

Lemmon - baby of Lady and Fu

Lemmon – baby of Lady and Fu

Little lady  baby of Lady and Fu

Little lady
baby of Lady and Fu

mum Bailey and Tiny

mum Bailey and Tiny

They all get very excited when we pull up at there paddock , running over and neighing !We received a phone call from the owners asking us if we would like Twinkie .naturally we declined , who would split up a herd of almost wild horses that have such a great life! When I say “their paddock” it’s an enormous piece of  land and no one bothers them . They have a dam  for water and when grass is scarce the owners always bring hay for them .We really enjoy stopping for a visit when we go through their turf.

We have had yet another gala that came into care via Merriwa town. Picked up in a backyard unable to fly and was getting a hard time from the others. We kept her and rested her for a couple of weeks then into a bigger space then a successful release.

Galah released  - happy to be up and away!

Galah released – happy to be up and away!

The king parrots are around and I will have a race to beat them to the ripe pomegranets which they love eating. This season I have found some recipes to try, green beans with pomegranet  , beetroot,  fig & pomegranet salad with goats cheese , yum, yum.

Mr & Mrs King Parrot

Mr & Mrs King Parrot

We had a young adult Tawny Frogmouth come into to care a couple of weeks ago. Sadly it had  got caught on a barbed wire fence in town. The chap that found it managed to get it off the barbed wire but it had sustained some wounds to the left wing. We applied antibiotic cream and also used a 7 day course of oral antibiotics, strapped the wing for support and left it strapped for a week .he was lovely bird , as they all are. He ate well and the open wound healed but the wing obviously ,unfortunately had dislocated at the shoulder when we checked after the week. We had to have him euthanased which is always sad but with a dislocation there is no choice.

You can see the dropped left wing.

You can see the dropped left wing.

What would an update  be without a report on Splendid Fidel. He has been free now for 13mths and I can finally say that I am satisfied that I did a good job and he is a   free living wild wombat. He turns up at the house paddock some nights as that is part of his territory. I can still touch him but he is quite stand offish and  does his own thing .It’s very easy to lose your heart to a wombat.

Fidel today  -the splendid wombat!

Fidel today -the splendid wombat!

 

tiny Fidel

tiny Fidel

Fidel being a juvenile delinquent and other happenings.

It’s been months since I attempted to write an update. The time here passes so quickly.  I’m not sure if it’s that line that older people can’t help saying to kids ” just wait till you get older and a year will seem like 5 minutes ” or am I just to occupied with being lay back ,answering my email ,doing a bit of raking, watching the wild life and reading! Britty keeps me outside in the paddock with the other wallaroos from about 1.30 pm – 5.00pm so reading is a very good option as movement and noise scares them off. Good for the mind but bad for the middle age spreading behind! I had been sleeping outside for about  3  weeks as it was time to get Britty grazing in the paddock at night.I was driven back in by the big buffoon “Fidel”.  I was just getting into bed about 11pm one night when I noticed a wombat about Fidel’s size in the centre of the paddock. There have been 3 coming at different times .Fidel would often turn up at dusk when the grain goes out for the macropods ,have a nibble then go off. About 11.00pm another about his size would turn up ,nibble then go off .Early hours of the morning I would often be woken by loud crunching  and it would be a very large wombat eating grass .I thought the wombat that night was the regular when I suddenly saw the nose go up and sniff the air. Next thing Fidel had launched himself up into my bed . Sleeping with him is not a pleasure ,  when he was small and cuddly in his bag it was O.K.  Now he bites hard and has a distinct wombat smell which I don’t actually find unpleasant but it wouldn’t be good to go about smelling like a wombat. Since then he has decided that a kip in that bed is a good idea at what ever hour he chooses so I have had to give up my night viewing for now. The time out there was long enough to get Britty brave enough to go out the front on her own for sort bursts of time so that’s O.K.  I had the bed folded up and he would appear in there at different times .I know he has different burrows as well as I managed to follow him a couple of times so he must treat the bed as a rest burrow that he knows won’t have any other wombat in it. Since his release in January he has been attacked twice and had a big patch on his rump plus a bald forehead .

Fidelforeheadattack

forehead attack

The fur is now growing back and he’s not looking so much like an old threadbare carpet so I was quite pleased he could hide away in the folded bed if he wanted to while the fur grew back. The past couple of months has been great for observing wombats as they are out during the day in the cool temperatures . Just around the 3 house paddocks we have seen 3 mothers with babies and many adults .

butt Attack

butt Attack

mum & baby grazing

mum & baby grazing

Most of them are  healthy. Larry has been treating the wombats that have mange for quite some time now between our place and 3 properties before here. When we do see one with some mange we start the treatment program. The opinions of “wombat people ” differ. We are not “wombat experts” just observe the animals around us and do what we can . I think that wombats that live in areas where the land is not farmed, don’t have horrible fencing everywhere and are appreciated for the splendid species they are  live a life with less stress so their immune system copes better with the mange mite. Just a laypersons opinion. We will continue with what we do as it really does seem to be working. If we get a drought and food supply and water becomes short that might make their life a lot more stressful so we will see what happens. A couple of weeks after using the bed burrow Fidel started making a pest of  himself .Getting to big for the bed burrow .His fur  almost grown back and  looking quite big, bigger than a few of the wombats we have seen round alone now. I’ve had to remove the bed as he decided to haul it out onto the lawn , yank on the mattress , torn sheets and blankets strewn ………   a total pest and bitting me if I go near him .He’s off in his burrow now ,probably with the sulks ! After I took the bed away he came for few nights and tipped over the chairs on the front veranda , dragged down the cushions and mangled them ,dragged my gumboots about and a few other minor crimes. I moved everything and 1 week later he was back to being a proper wombat. Comes, mooches about and eats then departs. I don’t go near him but do get Larry to put the torch over him sometimes and make sure he’s looking O.K. again .I do miss being able to pet him but I know I have to leave him alone as he’s to bonded to me.  I guess soon we probably won’t see him much as he will start becoming sexually mature and probably have a bigger roaming  territory and he will be able to defend himself better.

snugasabuginarug

snug as a bug in a rug – Fidel in his “safe” burrow

who is in my bed

who is my bed?

It’s time to get Britty out in the paddocks grazing day and night. Wallaroos are so  different to Greys that I did think for while that she might have a head injury . I have no back round as to why she was in a paddock alone at only 1800 grams. Maybe she had been thrown from the pouch ( macropod mums will do that if they think there  is danger ) and landed on her head! The reason for this thinking is that I am not used to seeing a macropod lose balance and  do flips and somersaults while running from some sound that is hardly audible or perhaps a shadow of something flapping and the list goes on. I am used to greys who are contented to lounge back  in their pouch till about 8kilos and often have to be tipped out.

The bed thief – when I went out in the morning this is what I found – wombats obviously rearrange the blankets to their liking

the bed when I left the night before !

the bed when I left the night before ! Fidel in centre

Once out leap on a couch or on to the bed and settle down for kip.  Not so a wallaroo.  Wallaroos are out of mums pouch and at heel by 4 kilo . Britty likes to be with me or rather should I say me with her wherever she needs to be grazing. I seem to be spending a lot of time outdoors in the cold! Watching the ones around us at her age they stay close to mum at all times but I think getting close to venturing away.The mums seem to have pouch young and legs and tails can be seen so maybe when these emerge to heel the ones at heel now start venturing off on their own. I suppose I will find out soon. Briity  had a gut complaint for about 7 weeks which didn’t stop her from feeding at all but resulting in very sloppy faeces and her not  being well.

poor Britty very weak,  sick in bed

poor Britty very weak, sick in bed

After going through everything I could find to read I decided that this was result of me giving her far to much rich cut grass from town which also held her back from grazing as she loved that grass and also came to expect grass just materialises where you sit and you eat it ,yum,yum. Watching wallaroos it is apparent that eat rough , lots of roots, dirt , old leaves, bark  so I thought I probably messed with her gut flora. . Rich cut grass no longer full time  on the menu . I got some macropod herbal medicine from a woman who specialises in it, sent to me from Victoria . A treatment for internal thrush, just in case ,and an  immune system booster .With that and the use of protexin probiotic  and some good grazing hours  she seemed somewhat better but the problem still persisted. This problem was very worrying and it was apparent she was not really well .I called the macropod guru, Lynda Staker, in desperation.   After weeks of trying many things then talking to Lynda the problem was finally identified .Animal pellets which were recommended in macropod care manuals (and in Lynda’s older manual)  were always thought to be O.K. but are now recognised as not so. They are basically carbohydrates and very bad for macropods causing a condition in many called by Lynda  “sloppy gut syndrome ”  . The pellets are now barred from here ,never to be given to another macropod and all is well. This information regarding pellets is  in Lynda’s latest updated manual of 2 volumes! Needless to say I have now updated. Britty is completely recovered ,stacking on weight , now well over 9 kilos ,  grazing full on and has  only some wheaten charf on the veranda, her safe place, which she eats very little of. Wallaroo males are very sturdy and although not as tall as some of the large grey bucks they are very broad chested. The males are a dark grey while females are light grey with yellow tinges around the face and yellowish tails. Males can weigh up to 46.5 kilo while female are much smaller at 25kilo at full adult weight.

2 large male wallaroos having an afternoon spa

2 large male wallaroos having an afternoon spa

realized they were  being watched - took off together!

realized they were being watched – took off together!

We had choughs and babblers build nests in the house paddock . We thought there were a few baby choughs in the nest as the screeching for food is worse than  a lorikeet .Those of you who have been fortunate or unfortunate  to raise an orphaned lorikeet will understand……..   Yesterday morning I noticed a baby had left the nest and was sitting in the tree while an adult near by seemed to be trying to herd it back into the nest . Later in the day while sitting with Britty I saw the little horror heading as fast as it’s legs could go up the paddock and across the road up to the hillside with an adult chasing it making sounds of disapproval and fanning it with wings , to no avail. It can’t fly yet  The adult made a call and  within a  minute the little rouge was surrounded by the family , about 8 adults . We got the bird net and caught the offender who is now in the kangaroo pen .The adults are feeding it and at night we are putting him in a cage for safety . Once he can manage to fly out of the pen he can join the family.

kanagrooavairy

new kangaroo pen which so far has only been used for the rouge chough – the pen has wire fencing with shade cloth on inside and outside

choughs nest - round mud nest

choughs nest – round mud nest

babblers nest  - large nest made of twigs

babblers nest – large nest made of twigs

 Unfortunately after a couple of days the chough discovered it could climb up the shade cloth which made the adult choughs go crazy trying to keep it under control . We thought we were doing the right thing and put him in a large cage within the enclosure so the adults could feed him through the bars, hoping that it’s tail feathers would be long enough soon for flight. This was going  well till I got up one morning and couldn’t hear the usual din going on. I knew something was wrong, no adults around .When I got there I found the young chough dead. Maybe a boobook had tried to get him ( this sometimes happens at the cockatiel aviary) and caused him to have a  heart attack , we don’t know what happened .There were no visible marks but I realised I should have put him in  a box at night and taken him indoors or maybe just not interfered at all .The choughs have returned so maybe they might use the same nest again .We will let nature take it’s course next time.

The babblers are doing fine , lots of babbling and bathing  as the weather has now heated up. Since I began writing this Spring has arrived.

For the past 3 weeks I have been watching the young  magpies develop into juvenile birds. Although we had lots of young magpies come into care in Sydney  I have never had the privilege of watching them develop daily naturally in the wild. I have really enjoyed this .I love the sound  magpies make. It’s lovely to hear their song early in the morning. With Spring here the weather is lovely.early in the morning. While sitting out the front giving Britty her morning bottle  my 2 currawong friends “Magnum” and “Mustang” come for their morning grapes, sulphur crested cockatoos, galahs, red rumps ,peaceful doves, wood ducks and more on the front lawn feeding  and  the magpie song as well all at the same time gives me a wonderful sense of well being. It is at these times when I often think of people that I have loved in my life even though they are no longer alive and feel grateful that they were part of my life and still are in happy memories. With so much misery going on in the world I feel fortunate to experience a sense of wellbeing at times surrounded by nature.

Magnum and Mustang waiting for their morning grapes

Magnum and Mustang waiting for their morning grapes

About time, how long do I have to wait for my grape!?

About time, how long do I have to wait for my grape!?

My friend Sandi , bird vet nurse from Sydney finally made it here for a couple of days. It was great to see her and I hope she and partner Jason will come again.  We had a beautiful adult tawny frogmouth bought to us a few weeks ago and thanks to Sandi’s lessons on giving injections to birds (when we were in Sydney) we were able to give it the care it needed and released it about a week later . He had collided with a car but fortunately a bird lover was travelling behind and stopped and picked him up. He was  gaga for a couple of days and we had to keep him going on fluids but then able to  push food into his throat, a mouse at dawn and some heart at dusk  and he began to swallow .Adult tawny’s often won’t eat in captivity voluntarily . After about 5 days of eating he was putting on some weight and eyes bright once again so time to go. We took him back to where he was picked up, about 10 ks from here, and off he went.

not well - Tawny Frogmouth in care

not well – Tawny Frogmouth in care

Sandi and Jason

Sandi and Jason

 

Larry picked up a female wallaroo that been stuck in a ghastly rabbit fence about 8 ks before our place . He has been cutting sections out of bit by bit to make easier access for the wildlife as he found a juvenile wombat stuck in there one day so  decided the fence needed some modification and clearly the owners weren’t going to do it .The wallaroo had managed to tug herself free by the time Larry got to her but she had rolled down a gully and was fitting. He picked her up and bought her home. She was registering our presence but was unable to move at all. She had a broken neck and we think some spinal damage as well. She had to be euthanased . She had very small pouch young. A 52gram embryo with his ears still stuck o his head black bulbs for eyes and a small opening in the mouth for the teat. I thought he was probably to small to be viable but he proved me wrong as he was very strong. I had to feed him every 3 hrs and he stabilised after 3 days and was doing O.K. I had him for 5 days. We had to let the fire go out to clean it and I put an electric blanket under his basket . I thought I had the blanket stable on 30%.The right temp is very important with young animals and he needed to be in an enclosure 30-32% maximum. I went to attend to Britty  who very sick at the time and it all took longer than I thought it would , took my eye off the temp checking and the temp soared up to 39% .He was dead of course , had completely dehydrated . It was very upsetting, maybe there was a surge as that can happen with solar power. I have always told other people not to overload and then end up doing it myself , it was stupid and careless.

Samson sleeping with his dummy, substitute teat.

Samson sleeping with his dummy, substitute teat.

Feeding Samson

Feeding Samson

My nephew Tim enjoys taking photos and takes some great shots . He lives  up North in Wonga .He has family of Kookaburras that visit his backyard  and hunt from his back fence. He sent me this shot.

Tim's visiting Kookaburra family.

Tim’s visiting Kookaburra family.

 Laughing Kookaburra are easy to  recognise by  plumage and voice. They are off-white below, faintly barred with dark brown, and brown on the back and wings. The tail is  broadly barred with black. There is a  dark brown eye-stripe through the face. It is one of the larger members of the kingfisher family. In Eastern Qld we get the Blue-winged Kookaburra. The Blue-winged Kookaburra doesn’t have the brown eye-stripe, it has a blue tail and a large amount of blue in the wing, and  a pale eye. I can’t tell from the pic which these are. Tim tells me they were very pleased that he was able to give them a good feed of baby rats a couple of days ago as he found a nest in a place that was unwelcome!

Here's a shot I like of Bronte  that Tim took when he was here.

Here’s a shot of Bronte Tim took when he was here.

Fidel’s fur has grown back on his forehead and almost completely on his rump. He is looking  good once again. Britty is getting more independent by the day , much to my relief, and now weighs 9700 grams. I have started giving her less milk and I’m sure she will be independent quite soon. She goes off grazing when she feels like it now without worrying to much about where I am.

The cuckoo -shrikes have started arriving so we should see some channel-billed cuckoos and koels soon also.

Bozo still about sometimes - with Bobo

Bozo still about sometimes – with Bobo

Big Bozo  - night visit

Big Bozo – night visit

We just collected another 260 trees to plant .The majority are Casuarina trees for the Casuarina Cockatoos to munch on in the future we hope. Larry will be busy planting them over the next month.

Pretty Britty - well again!

Pretty Britty – well again!

Britty - great profile !

Britty – great profile !

Fidel beautiful again !

Fidel beautiful again !

Emigrating birds without papers outwit Sovereign Borders

Each spring the Channel-billed Cuckoo and the Common Koel fly from their homes in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia to mate in the sub-tropical region of Australia.     During Oct and the first week in Nov 2014 it was wonderful to  have lots of Channel-Billed Cuckoos passing through here. The ravens give them a good telling off  so we were even wondering if maybe some had been raised around here and their foster parents were seeing them off. We were hearing and seeing them every day . We also saw a couple of Koels.

Channel-billed cuckoo taken by me in the front yard

Channel-billed cuckoo taken by me in the front yard

and many Black Faced Cuckoo Shrikes,  they all  have a distinctive calls. In Sydney we used to get quite a few Koels and Black Faced Cuckoo Shrikes come into care. The Channel-billed Cuckoo is the world’s largest parasitic bird, its wingspan measuring up to 1 metre. The adults work in pairs , the male cuckoo provokes host-birds into chasing it while the female cuckoo slips into the host-nest to lay its eggs.Occasionally in Sydney a Channel-Billed Cuckoo would come into care but the only ones I rescued had to be euthanized due to broken wing injuries. Perhaps this was because they are such a large bird that when learning to fly in Sydney there were so many hazards for them to fly into. By Dec 2014 we were seeing Koels every day, lots of them ! Can’t say if they were the same ones hanging about or many passing through but we saw adults of both sexes and juveniles. It’s now Jan and they have only just all gone .Black Faced Cuckoo Shrikes usually travel in groups. Some groups are nomadic and  also migrate northwards. We always get them passing through at the same time every year.

We were also been seeing  Bee Eaters in pairs as we drive into town always in the same area and around this time of year, Oct. Some people believe that Bee Eaters have 1 mate for life. Our neighbours, Bob & Pam, arrived for a few days respite in the bush. Bob who is a keen  bird watcher noticed a bee eater flying to a small hole in the ground just outside their cabin . He got his bird book out and soon discovered that bee eaters make their nests by tunnelling into a sandy bank or a patch of flat bare ground. The tunnel maybe over a meter long with the end enlarged to form an egg chamber. The two adults were continuously flying backwards and forwards to get food to feed their young. Rainbow Bee Eaters are so active a single bird can eat several hundred bees daily if available and of course are immune to bee and wasp stings. We were very fortunate to be able to see this feeding ritual. Bob and Pam  watched the adults fend off a black snake who thought he was in for an easy feed but got it wrong!

We  have had a restless flycatcher around the house every day for the past couple of months We have seen them around here but they don’t usually stay for any length of time .This one stayed around for weeks. It’s a delightful little bird and we don’t mind it’s call .It’s sometimes referred to as razor grinder,scissors or dishwasher!

flycatcher

flycatcher

bee eater perched

bee eater perched

flycatcher in flight

flycatcher in flight

We came across a tiny little bird that looked like a miniature plover as we driving along the road about 2k from home. It was lying down on the road with it’s wings fully extended and fluttering and seemed injured. We stopped and got out to check and we found she was playing dead and just near by  had laid 3 eggs in a little  groove on the round which were completely exposed to any car wheels. The eggs seemed quite large for such a small bird. We moved them just off the road  in the hope that she would find them . When we went back the next day to look the eggs were gone , either eaten or she moved them. We weren’t sure what the bird was  It looked like a  baby plover but obviously wasn’t. After my description my friend Bunny has identified the little bird ,an Australian Dotterel.

Pete the butcher bird

Pete the butcher bird

Another regular visitor is “Pete” the butcherbird who comes to the veranda for small bits of heart that we put out if we see him around . Actually he turned out to be Peta not Pete as I watched her feeding her baby while sitting with Fidel in the early mornings while he grazed and I read …..   very relaxing .

I  started this post last year in Oct but for some reason  I couldn’t get motivated to continue and finish so I apologise as it maybe a bit disjointed.

As you know from my last post Larry and I have been treating the wombats on our property and adjoining properties for about a  year now . We have  had very good results. We haven’t seen a wombat with mange on our property or the adjoining property for some time now. Bob and Pam had one on their place with mange just before we started the treatment which I believe was quite bad. We tried to find where his burrow was but couldn’t and sadly Pam found him dead on a hillside not that long ago. We have successfully treated several adults and using night vision camera to check them makes things easier.  Quite a few land owners  with wildlife refuge status treat the wombats on their property for mange now thanks to  Lee Skerratt’s research done quite a few years ago.    http://research.jcu.edu.au/portfolio/lee.skerrat   Really  worth taking a look at what Lee has done and what he is doing now .

Do you remember Bronte the grey kangaroo? She had a baby we called Bobo and I was sure would be a girl as I read that kangaroos can select the sex of the baby if they find that there are too many males in their group. Bronte had all males in her group so  I decided that if this baby was definitely going to be a girl. It turns out that Bobo is a boy ! I don’t know how many males are too many or maybe Bronte just prefers male company. Bronte’s group now is 7 most of the time. Her, Bobo, Billy, Bozo (who has returned ) The group has been joined by another mother with a baby at heel .We think maybe Bucky will return eventually.  Bronte has another baby in pouch. Billy stills come to the house paddock .He is very big and we have noticed in the last 3mths while there has been a good rain fall and food is plentiful how the growth rate of the kangaroos accelerates. Bozo comes to the house paddock sometimes for some grain .He will let us touch him sometimes as long as we don’t try and hug him! Him and Billy are often sparing in next door paddock in the early morning ,they were friends before Bozo took off. Bozo stands about a foot taller than Billy .He would be just over 3 years old now.

Bronte and BIG BIlly - you can see Billy is now bigger than Bronte although he would be at least a year younger

Bronte and BIG BIlly – you can see Billy is now bigger than Bronte although he would be at least a year younger

Billy at back Bronte front left and Bobo front right Bobo still drinks milk from his mum!

Billy at back Bronte front left and Bobo front right Bobo still drinks milk from his mum!

Bobo is about 18mths old .

We have decided that after observing how things go for the past 3 years while we have been living here that it is a mistake  to take animals from other groups outside the area that raise animals in  backyards  and pens and bring them here for release. We believe if we continued to do that it would upset the natural balance and humans have managed to do quite enough of that. We now only take in and raise animals from this area that for some reason have lost their mother.

Snakes don’t usually  take Larry by surprise but this one did. Fortunately it was a python. We have a shelving fixture  just outside the back door which has bits and pieces on it ,whatever we put there at different times. As Larry reached over to slide the back open to come inside something reached across and slithered up his arm. We had a few rats  around so this python was giving us some help!

Python visits veranda and has a rest on the watering can on a shelf at the back door!

Python visits veranda and has a rest on the watering can on a shelf at the back door!

Python heading off down the hillside  - through the frog pond!!

Python heading off down the hillside – through the frog pond!!

About 2 months ago. The last time  Billy  got on the bed to say hello to me.

About 2 months ago. The last time Billy got on the bed to say hello to me.

After raising Fidel and observing wombat behaviour I have  formed the opinion that wombats in particular should be kept in the area  and within the gene pool where they are born. I completely agree with Helen George that this plays a big part of their successful release and survival as a free living wombat. It has become apparent to me that wombats without their mother have a hard enough time as there  are lessons that as humans we can’t teach them .I spent about 3hrs daily in the bush with Fidel and I still don’t think that was adequate and as I didn’t want to live down a burrow that was about the best I could do. If you read my last post you may recall the attack on Fidel due to the fact I couldn’t stop him from going down other wombat burrows if I wanted to take him grazing out and about so he learnt the layout of the area , where the river was etc. He became very naughty when he realised if he went down a burrow I couldn’t get him  back to the pen for lockup ,just like a cheeky teenager. He was  only about 11 kilo , to small to defend himself against a large aggressive wombat. After he was attacked ,in the last post I showed a pic of Fidel’s back which looked like the fur had just come out and I thought there were no puncture marks although suspected his back was bruised and sore . He was quite subdued for about 3 days but still ate his grass and guzzled down all his milk. I didn’t take him out in this time but then I noticed he seemed to have something in his nostril causing him to make sneezing type noises . After a couple of days it was still going on so I made a call to the veteran Helen George .At this stage his back still looked the same, no puncture marks . Helen suggested to me that he may have some milk caught behind the soft palate causing an upper respiratory infection and I should embark on a course of antibiotics as whatever the problem was it would probably fix it and wouldn’t do any harm , so it off to the vet in town to pick up the antibiotics .The antibiotics were a 7 day course of injections .1 given in the morning and 1 in the evening. Wombats are so tough that a sub cut injection is given in the tummy area. It was a 2 man job!  I had to wrap the bulldozer up in a blanket (he won’t tolerate anyone else holding him)  sit down and wedge him firmly between my legs while Larry (who is better than me at giving injections so that worked out well) gave him the shot. We thought maybe we could give him the injection while he was drinking his milk and seemingly going into a state of navara so wouldn’t notice. He would stand with his front paws on my thigh and drink his milk so Larry gave him a shot while he was doing this. We got away with it once. The next time he just positioned himself so his tummy couldn’t be got!  Wombats are very smart. Larry’s nephew, Darren, told me he watched a documentary  where an electric wire was put in front of many animals  including , dogs, horses ,cows , roos and more .The only animal that never repeated walking into the wire a second time was the wombat . Fidel was lucky as he learnt a valuable lesson from his attack without sustaining a permanent  injury. After that incident he would stay close to me and always come when I told him to . The antibiotics took effect within 3 days. The skin lifted and  was like a leather hide and the broken skin with claw marks became apparent . He made a good recovery . His fur took a few weeks to grow back and was a different colour but now if you didn’t know what had happened you wouldn’t see any difference.

the deceptive wound - you can see all the claw marks quite clearly once the skin lifted - poor Fidel

the deceptive wound – you can see all the claw marks quite clearly once the skin lifted – poor Fidel

Fidel's skin lifting off wound area.

Fidel’s skin lifting off wound area.

By the end of Dec Fidel was 15 kilo so on the 1st of Jan I left his pen open so he could come and go as he pleases. He still lives in his burrow in the pen but I guess he will eventually leave there. He comes up to the house paddock to graze some evenings .His pen is not that far away .Contrary to popular belief he doesn’t try to get into the house . He was never in the house when growing up so this maybe the reason. He will go round the house as he does know where I am and sometimes makes piggy grunting noises but he just he just takes himself off if he doesn’t see me. He doesn’t make a nuisance of himself to anyone else but is still very naughty around me wanting to play .He must be between 15 – 16 kilo now , maybe heavier, and is very strong. I have been wanting to sleep outside as I have a little wallaroo that is nearly ready for night grazing but Fidel will not leave me alone if I’m in the bed outside, pest. He will drag off my blanket and roll himself in it , claw my head /hair ,snort ,snuffle and bite hard , generally be a pain. If I walk back to the pen with him he will stay there but I haven’t tried that then going back to bed outside , I am getting there. The periods in between his visits vary, sometimes it will be 4 nights and we don’t see him so I am picking that he as gets a bit older he’ll be off further afield doing his own thing. Mother wombats drive their offspring out of their territory when they are about 18kilo.I’m not really sure how I could emulate the same behaviour as I can’t see myself on all fours doing a wombat charge and sinking my teeth into him, I think I would come off second best! Fidel is quite fine taking care of himself now and Larry and I were going off for a short break and some friends were going to stay at our place while we were gone which was going to be good as Fidel takes off around other people but I didn’t know I was going to have “Pretty Britty” so now I have to wait till she is old enough to be left.

wombat antics - pillow torture

wombat antics – pillow torture

 It’s very interesting having a little wallaroo girl after having only greys. They are very different . Britty was 1600 grams when I got her ,now approx. 3 kilo .She will be out of her the bag completely within the next month. She is very mature although she seems so small. The greys are like big lumps lying around in their bags at 8 kilo ! She is about 8mths old and will drink milk till she’s about 15mths old.

wombat antics  - boot attack

wombat antics – boot attack

Britty showing her yellow tail already

Common Wallaroos are also called yellow tails – The females are pale grey with the yellow tail while males are dark grey all over. Britty showing her yellow tail already

Britty spend a lot of time cleaning and grooming

Britty spend a lot of time cleaning and grooming

15 kilo Fidel drinking milk. How could you not love that face!!

15 kilo Fidel drinking milk.
How could you not love that face!!

Fidel gets a fright, Bucky leaves home, and Bobo gets big!

Finally an update ! Almost November and Fidel will have been with us for a year. It’s certainly a commitment taking on a lone wombat from a pinky of 280grams.

Sadly, late in August, my dear brother-in-law David passed away from an unexpected illness that moved very quickly. He was writer and was always reading lots of different material . He and my sister had visited Wombat Creek the previous year and he loved it here. He loved the NZ bush and spent a lot of time in it and was very knowledgeable about it. He found the Australian bush, flora and fauna , very interesting and I’m sorry he didn’t get to spend long here but so pleased he did come . I sent him James Woodford’s book “Secret Life of Wombats” as I knew he would find it very interesting and he did .He thought wombats were splendid creatures .Fidel’s release will be my tribute to David as he always encouraged me in my endeavour to try and contribute something to our great wilderness.

Andriani and David visit Wombat Creek

Andriani and David visit Wombat Creek

Fidel was 11.6 kilo on the 29th Sept so he is probably over 13kilo now. He has been grazing outside his pen for quite some time now while I sit and read   and occassionaly he would take off and go round to where there are about 4 wombat burrows, not far away from his pen. He began going down the burrows and I have sat round there while 2 big wombats graze around there also. They kept a respectable distance from each other .Wombats do overlap territory and will tolerate a shared burrow occasionally  but don’t  stay down there together unless mum and baby. Fidel began to evade coming back to the pen with me and would run down a burrow so I couldn’t pick him up . I would leave the pen door open and he would be back there in the morning .He has done this about 3 times in the past month. Last week he didn’t appear the next morning or the morning after. The 3rd morning I found him grazing outside his pen and when he saw me he ran over squealing like a little piglet. I have been keeping him in the pen as he has a patch of fur missing fur on his rump. Fortunately no skin breaks .I think I can see 2 marks a bit above the patch which could be claw or teeth so I do think he went down a burrow and woke someone up. Perhaps a good learning curb for him . I don’t know how long the fur takes to grow back but I am trying to find out .The skin on the rump is very tough and about 1 centimetre thick. If a wombat is in the burrow with the rump exposed toward the entrance it can give a powerful thrust upward or sideways crushing  anything that touches the rump , a predators head or a human hand! Wombats  are ancient animals and although they are compared to badgers, bears and beavers there is no relationship. The common wombat is the only living member of it’s genus, Vombatus.

Fidel's attack patch. The fur will grow back a slightly different colour so we will able to recognise him!

Fidel’s attack patch. The fur will grow back a slightly different colour so we will able to recognise him!

While I am in the pen I like to be comfortable as well so I have my own burrow. Once Fidel has had his milk (he needs to be weaned now) and a good grass feed he thinks it’s time to have a good snore. I am usually lying on my burrow reading  and he lies along side. He is so relaxed I was able to get this pic of him with his head buried. It’s interesting that when he is outside the pen the smallest noise will send him running in straight down his burrow so that’s really good.

Fidel full of milk and grass in a deep sleep snoring with head burrowed

Fidel full of milk and grass in a deep sleep snoring with head burrowed

Fidel's size now .The book is 9" long.

Fidel’s size now .The book is 9″ long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronte has been a good first time mum.  Bobo is a little girl , not allowed in the pouch any more .I read that kangaroos can select the sex of the baby if they find that there are two many males in their group. Bronte had all males in her group so  I decided that if this baby was not a girl I would know that the writer was incorrect but I wasn’t let down. Bucky has left and gone with the 2 year old louts group and Billy is coming and going. Bronte and Bobo are often with another young mum who has pouch young and Billy is still hanging around with them sometimes. We had some heavy rain a couple of weeks ago and we were quite surprised to see Billy decided to have a rest on his bed on the front veranda which he hasn’t done for ages and since . We think Bronte must be ready to mate again as some large bucks have been following her around .

Bronte eating Bobo drinking Billy keeping watch.

Bronte eating Bobo drinking Billy keeping watch.

here's BOBO!

here’s BOBO!

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you who remember Moses ,he is still around.. He is BIG. If he’s in the house paddock  and sees me coming he will stay there and let me give him a kiss on the nose then runs off as if he’s terrified! I thought I had a recent pic but I haven’t so here is one of the ever faithful Fatty who must be about 12yrs old by now and still going strong.

Fatty  - must be about 12 years old now!

Fatty – must be about 12 years old now!

We have treating the resident wombats in the valley for mange if they have it and we see them or someone tells us .We have had some success which is great. One very bad case we tried but unfortunately we think he died .We never found the body but he disappeared and no usage of the  burrow  we knew he had been digging.

This is the poor wombat that was so bad we didn’t hold much hope for him. He was on a property about 3k from ours and the owner heard we were treating them and came and asked us to try.

a case of very bad mange

a case of very bad mange

Larry spraying oil onto the poor wombat which does give them some relief .has to be done sparingly as when the animal is run down as this the oil can make it freezing as body temp can't be maintained properly.

Larry spraying oil onto the poor wombat which does give them some relief .has to be done sparingly as when the animal is run down as this the oil can make it freezing as body temp can’t be maintained properly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the centre is 8mls of ivomec contained in a milk top lid .When the wombat comes in or out the ivomec spills on the neck .We have a night vision camera which we set in place to take snapshots when we need to see what’s happening. The treatment is once a week for 8 weeks .

 burrow flap for ivomec

burrow flap for ivomec

This wombat has been treated.

This wombat has been treated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is controversy over whether this treatment works or not. The old school of thought says no and wombats with mange should all be shot. We thought it was certainly worth trying as others with properties do it and say it does work. Now we know that it does if the mange is not to progressed. I believe that people with properties that have wombats have an obligation to treat the wombats. If people let a domestic pet die of mange they would be prosecuted if it was reported .Wombats are a native species and therefore supposedly protected……….. I  think the name Common Wombat gives a false impression .

and this one was eventually another successful treatment

and this one was eventually another successful treatment

The cockatiels continue to live a happy life here and another baby was born not long ago .She was very beautiful , pale lemon like her mother and we called her Arnu .Unfortunately I found her in the aviary with blood on her chest .A piece of wire had worked itself up from under the dirt floor and she had got caught on while learning to fly. She never made it as it had pierced her internally. It was very sad . However Chuchu and Lady  continue to lay eggs and I’m sure another will hatch.

Spring is a lovely time of year here ,warm days but still comfortable at night. The swallows and willie wagtails have all got eggs in their  nests. The  rosellas have made a nest in a  hollow near the house and the plovers have laid eggs not to far away. The Black-faced Cuckoo -shrikes have arrived on their journey North.  The reptiles are out and we are racing the Goannas to the eggs once again . I saw my first snake of the summer a few evenings ago .He was very dark and thin and I wasn’t sure what type, he was hanging round the wombat holes in the long grass .  I did watch him for a bit .I think he was hunting .He Stayed  completely still till I moved off then slithered away down into some very long grass .Wombats will stay away from a burrow if a snake is detected and even after the snake has vacated they will not use the burrow for a bit. Talking of wombats I must away and visit one !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 April already !!

not a bird but you get the idea!

not a bird but you get the idea!

 Finally I have some time to update ………and it’s already 2 weeks into April. Well it was when I started this but it will be May before I finish!

Mum "Lady" and baby "Rocket Bird"

Mum “Lady” and baby “Rocket Bird”

The new cockatiel who we call “Rocket Bird” is thriving and almost as big as his parents .Larry named him but I have no idea what inspired the name. Larry’s sister, Vicki, says we have the silliest  names for the animals she has ever heard of. I do like “Rocket Bird” as it conjures up a comical image in my minds eye.

Last night we went to our first meeting of the Goulburn River Wild Dog Association as feel we should do our bit of adding to the efforts of controlling wild dogs. Aerial shooting and ground baiting procedures are both carried out. We are told that Dingoes don’t take baits as they only eat their own kill. I can’t find any evidence which shows this to be fact. If anyone knows I would like to hear from you. Larry and I both consider the dingo to be our native dog although there is a lot of argument in this area. We believe they play a role in the control of various species in the wild and we don’t like the idea of baiting them but wild dog control certainly has to carried out. We don’t like baiting anything but some things seem necessary .Maybe we could use the method pictured above on the irresponsible humans who have created the problem by letting domestic dogs go in the bush .

We lost about 90 of the 190 native trees & shrubs we planted.  We have had a lot of rain here in the past month and watering in the morning has been reduced to a very simple task , nature taking over but probably not for long. It seems that the plants far prefer the rain water to being watered with a hose and river water as they seem to be doing well. Growth is very slow but we hear the Casuarina Cockatoos almost daily flying overhead and hope that in a few years we will have made a difference to their food supply and that their numbers will grow. It would be great to have them off the endangered list. July we will receive some more funds from Conservation Partnerships to plant more trees. We are building a green house as putting the trees in there will give them a better start.

green house frame

green house frame

dodonaea cuneata aprox 6mths old

dodonaea cuneata
aprox 6mths old

allocasuarina diminuta aprox 6mths old

allocasuarina diminuta
aprox 6mths old

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larry doesn't like wasting anything so he built a 2nd green house  - a bit smaller

Larry doesn’t like wasting anything so he built a 2nd green house – a bit smaller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dianella caerulea

dianella caerulea

gum planted about 6 years ago

gum planted about 6 years ago

 

melaleuca we planted about 6 years ago

melaleuca we planted about 6 years ago

 

my sister Helen with Galy Dec visit

my sister Helen with Galy Dec visit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We get quite a few large flocks of Galahs  visiting the paddock next to the house and hope Galy might be among them living free and wild. I guess that the hardest thing when rehabbing and releasing wildlife is that without funds to tag, chip or whatever is required you never really know how successful you have been.

Moses the red-neck is still coming for milk, mainly in the evening .I have cut his amount down as he would be about  5 kilo and about 12 months old , This is when the care manuals say to wean and  release. Moses has been living free since he was approx 3 kilo and loving it!!

Moses (front left) and friends

Moses (front left) and friends

Billy is growing in leaps and bounds !! He is now  12.5 kilo and I have also cut his milk down morn and eve .Eastern Grey kangaroos will often drink milk from mum till they are  18 months old if allowed. Billy is about 15-16 months old .He has started staying away from home some nights and days as he goes off with Bucky and Bronte. He sometimes returns with them or on his own if he feels the need for some protection and rest. Not being with mum he has to be constantly on the alert. Joeys are very vulnerable at this age when they are just starting to exert their independence. Billy is doing very well and so lucky to have Bronte and Bucky. They have completely accepted him and as Bucky sometimes go off  and we don’t see him for 3 or 4 days ,now being a rough male juvenile. Bronte seems pleased to have Billy with her. We are looking fwd to her baby emerging and think she will start her very own mob.

Billy had 2 large kangaroo pox on his left back foot. All the manuals say they will eventually fall off. It is said treatment is usually not necessary as lesions resolve over several months however I felt that poor Billy was carrying round extra weight with these 2 great wart like growths and they seemed to be showing no signs off falling off only growing larger! Although widely spread throughout Australia only few reports of the disease have appeared in  literature. The Australian Wildlife Health Network does have a fact sheet on pox virus .Cases have been reported in a Tasmanian pademelon, ringtail possum, southern bent-wing bat ,bottlenose dolphin  and  crocodiles. The disease is actually worldwide but poses no threat to humans . Billy had adapted to bounding O.K. with these on his foot as he seemed to move just fine. At the suggestion of Lynda Staker I treated them over a period of about 9 days with common old apple cider vinegar and it did the job. Fur doesn’t grow back where these lesions have been but nice new tissue does once the pox tissue has gone.I kept a record and pics so Lynda could write-up the case along with others that were giving the treatment a trial as well. She will include it in her new manual. For anyone interested in looking after macropods Lynda Staker’s manual “Don’t Step backwards” in my opinion is the most comprehensive guide to care of the kangaroo species I have come across. She is always willing to help when I email for any advice. I have a great deal of respect for her dedication and the volume of well researched work she has produced.  http://lyndastaker.com/

Billy's vinegar bandage

Billy’s vinegar bandage

pox virus on Billy's foot

pox virus on Billy’s foot

Billy's cured foot !

Billy’s cured foot !

Big thanks to Helen George for her Wombat rescue and rehabilitation manual  which is so precise and easy to follow .Helen is also a macropod carer and I believe it was Helen who first taught Lynda about macropods many years ago. The wombat manual was written back in 1995 and even though I have accessed and printed out far more recent manuals I haven’t found anything that compares as a guide to wombat care when taken as an overall view.Helen is a member of WIRES and has been for many years. Always willing to take a phone call and answer any questions to help a novice like me . A dedicated carer, for I think about 35 years, only just slowing down !! It’s certainly a privilege to be able to learn by listening to dedicated people and reading what they have written.

 Between Helen’s manual, Barbara Triggs “The Wombat” UNSW Press Australian Natural History Series and James Woodford “The Secret Life of Wombats”  featuring the fantastic research done by Peter Nicholson when he was just a boy and attending school at Timbertop I have had a wealth of information to use caring for my first wombat , the tearaway,  “Fidel”.

BIG Billy says  "Thank you Lynda"

BIG Billy says
“Thank you Lynda”

Fidel  when last weighed nearly 2 weeks ago  was 4500 grams so he would be close to 5 kilo now! He is a lot of work! I am indebted to my sister Helen who came and helped me when he first came into care. First it was keeping him warm at the correct temperature then it was packing ice packs around him all day and night  to keep the temperature down when it was so hot and he was so small. I do wish she’d come back till he’s ensconced in his large pen ,fully emerged and in his burrow !!Fidel likes to start grazing at about 5 pm up in the hills and would have me stay there all night if he could. It would be great to have two people  taking turns to sit on the cold ground as he likes to have a bit of time out from grazing to play “jump over and bite mum” I’m sure Helen would love it! Now I understand why carers keep 2 wombats together. It’s not because they get lonely (they are solitary animals but with their mum till time to go it alone and she leaves them in the burrow for long periods while she is grazing) it’s because it makes life easier for the carer!!! They are rogues, especially males , and want to play by way of leaping , biting  and rolling downhill like an out of control ball. Wombat mums are very tough and keep them in line.Care has to be taken to ensure that wombats don’t get used to people if they to be released successfully to be truly wild and free. Fidel doesn’t live in the house and doesn’t have contact with anyone else apart from minimal contact with Larry when it’s necessary.Fidel loves to start grazing at about 5 pm  and would have me stay out all night if he could. I give up 2 hours then he has his evening milk and goes into a small pen we have  till the early morning  .He has dug a burrow but still isn’t fully emerged so he doesn’t stay in it all night as he still has his bag. He would be more than happy to stay in it if I could go in there as well………he’s got no chance.  I might sleep outside with the young roos but being in a bed  with the stars overhead has its compensations !! He has his morning milk about 6.30 am. I always supply pulled out grass for the night but he’s not as keen on that now that he knows what grazing is all about. His new pen has lots of grass growing in it .Grass that is less than 10 cm in length has the best nutrition and it seems that he instinctively knows that.His new pen which is up on the hill-side and is 10 x 7 metres is now finished thanks to Larry’s great building ability and Bunny’s generosity paying for the materials. It won’t be just Prince George who has an enclosure named after him!!

The Tearaway

The Tearaway

weighing Fidel

weighing Fidel

Fidel when he was 3200grams

Fidel when he was 3200grams

and here's Bunny! Fidel says  "Thanks Bunny"

and here’s Bunny!
Fidel says
“Thanks Bunny”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a visit from a swamp harrier who was eyeing up the cockatiels but realized there was no way to make a meal so he departed. Larry took this shot of him while he was contemplating how to get a meal.

Swampharrier looking at the cockatiels in the flight aviary!

Swampharrier looking at the cockatiels in the flight aviary!

We have also had visits from some flocks of Short-billed Corellas.

short-billed corellas visit

short-billed corellas visit

The little possum “Sandi” that we took from Dubbo zoo was successfully released and she is around .She eats a lot of gum and is wilder then Squirtymatey the male possum that came from Dubbo. He is living in a hollow pipe above my office. He has become very friendly and he is often in the front yard at night. I can get quite close to him .I tried to take a picture but it’s not very clear. You can see he has a tree trunk table that he gets on to then goes up into the wattle tree if I get to close.  I leave him some fruit out on his tree trunk table once a week.

Squirtymatey on his table

Squirtymatey on his table

 In the past couple of months I have seen Bozo a couple of times and I was able to get close enough take a pic of him. I have also seen him come to the paddock next to the house with Bucky ,Bronte , Billy and another grey who is a bit bigger than Billy. Maybe a doe , I have called him/her Bobby. When I go out Bozo and Bobby hop away immediately. I have formed the opinion that if you bring up a kangaroo eating natural food, in the wild and take it out into those surrounding for  grazing where he sees the mobs daily even though dependent on you for some time once a certain level of maturity is reached that animal will live as a wild one and will not come back to you ,what reason does it have?Bozo was only given grass and his milk formula  while growing up.He never had grain till Bronte and Bucky came and he could take it or leave it ,more often leave it. If you bring up kangaroos in a backyard situation, even if they do have a bit of land to graze at night , and return to the backyard by day, feed them substitute food such as grain while they are growing up then they will return for the grain as that is what they know. Bucky and Bronte were bought up like that till they were about 12 kilo then we bought them here and continued to give them some grain as that is what they knew. I believe they come back to the house for the food not  any attachment to us. Billy has joined with them so he does that as well and  he is also still on milk so still dependent,the same as Moses who comes for his milk. Once Moses  has finished with milk we will probably still see him but not every night .Bucky and Bronte don’t come everyday as there is lots of grass about now and I believe that if we stopped putting grain out for them they would probably stop coming right up to the house after a time. However, we are finding that we are able to study different behaviour by having them around and want to follow Bronte and baby and see if she does make her own group. As we have no intention of moving any time soon we will continue to do what we have been doing and see what happens.

Bucky & Billy in a sparing lock

Bucky & Billy in a sparing lock

Bucky &Billy sparing

Bucky &Billy sparing

Mum Bronte - baby getting bigger!!

Mum Bronte – baby getting bigger!!

January 2014 spotted Bozo!!

January 2014 spotted Bozo!! Bozo had a very distinctive face and was a silver with black markings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weeks have passed since I started writing this post.It’s now May 11th!! Fidel’s new  pen is finished, just a few wombat decorating touches to add. He was 5225 grams when I weighed him about 4 days ago. I have been taking him into his new pen for a hour in the evenings  and he likes it there. Another week and he will be ready to stay there day and night. Feeding him his milk and a grazing walk in the evenings will be so much easier. Hoping he will dig a good burrow in there for himself and  start using it all day.

face

Larry with the trench digger. Trenches 92cms deep.Thank goodness for the trench digger!!

Larry with the trench digger. Trenches 92cms deep.Thank goodness for the trench digger!!

Work in progress

Work in progress

” Adventure in the Wombat Pen ” update coming soon !!

Fidel grazing

Fidel grazing

Fidel inspecting his new pen.

Fidel inspecting his new pen.

2014 update

photo by Birds Australia baby with currawong foster parent

photo by Birds Australia
baby with currawong foster parent

channel-billed cuckoo perched photo by Birds Australia

channel-billed cuckoo perched
photo by Birds Australia

channel-billed cuckoo in flight

channel-billed cuckoo in flight

The traveler

The traveler

Larry feeding Rocket

Larry feeding Rocket

It's a hard life out here in the bush!

It’s a hard life out here in the bush!

cracking seed

cracking seed

checking the camara

checking the camara

a glamour pose by Bronte

a glamour pose by Bronte

Annaliese and Billy

Annaliese and Billy

Moses drinking and growing!

Moses drinking and growing!

Helen relaxing at dusk

Helen relaxing at dusk

Helen feeding little Fidel

Helen feeding little Fidel

Helen reading about wombats!

Helen reading about wombats!

Helen and me having breakfast wit Bucky, Bronte and Galy

Helen and me having breakfast wit Bucky, Bronte and Galy

Billy listening

Billy listening

Bunny and Billy

Bunny and Billy

and later in the day after food and drink!

and later in the day after food and drink!

2013 finished and already the end of January 2014! We got a lot done on the property in 2013 but it seems very little in the larger plan. My friend Joan and her husband Ian finally managed to come for a short visit in Oct 2013. Joan was a wires member when Larry and I  joined  and guided us well in the care of birds and reptiles. We have remained friends and I value being able to call on her experience regarding wildlife. She is now involved with Birds Australia. She did a bird count on our property while she was here.  She spotted a  channel  billed cuckoo which the experienced ear heard first. We didn’t realise they pass through on their migration but we saw another two that week after we had  been made aware!

 The Channel-billed Cuckoo  lays its eggs in the nest of another bird. It’s a large cuckoo, so it must lay its eggs in the nest of another large bird. Foster parents are usually  currawongs,  magpies, crows and ravens. Eggs are occasionally laid in the mud-nests of white-winged choughs or magpie-larks, and very occasionally in the nests of birds of prey! The Channel-billed Cuckoo migrates to northern and eastern Australia from New Guinea and Indonesia between August and October each year. The birds leave Australia in February or March.

We hope everyone had some enjoyable time out from the usual hum drum over the Xmas and New Year break. We really enjoyed having my sister and niece(her daughter) stay with us for  a few days. My sister Helen spends her time between NZ and USA  and my niece Annaliese lives in New York but loves to travel.

Both are animal lovers so having them here was definite bonus as there we little creatures needing TLC.

Larry was trying very hard to keep one of the cockatiel babies alive and also engrossed in the cricket so was pleased to have them all around to help. Lady, the cockatiel our friends bought us from Swansea hatched 2 eggs in her log.I found one of the babies on the ground having been pushed out of the nest .The difference in development between the two siblings was remarkable. How the little one was still alive is surprising as he couldn’t have been getting much food. Larry tried very hard  but it got to much for the little one after a week.

Billy,the eastern grey kangaroo is now 7700grms. He was still getting in and out of his bag (mum’s pouch)  while Annaliese was here and she spent lots of time cuddling him. He has since discarded his pouch but still likes his dummy! He spends quite a bit of time with Bronte & Bucky so no doubt he really thinks he’s BIG!The other morning while I was watering some of the 130 trees we have planted I spotted some cows that had obviously escaped the restraints of their fencing and made it down to our place.  I gave chase and sent them off back down to cow land. Billy was grazing with Bucky and Bronte in the middle of the paddock and they must have taken fright seeing me like a mad woman running and herding the enormous beasts. I didn’t see them but they took off and Billy went as well. They must have gone off to somewhere cool as it was like a furnace  here for a few days.It must have been quite an ordeal fro him.he returned that afternoon with Bucky and Bronte behind him.He was quite happy to stay close to me for the next 24hrs and even though he grazes with them in the big paddock till late at night he doesn’t go off with them. When they go he comes home.He is now drinking up to 100mls of milk formula morning and evening, he will  soon really be a big boy!

Galy has had the Galahs coming every day for weeks and he finally went off with them about a week ago. He finally worked out he was a Galah not a SCC.It was a very good result .He was used to humans as we had to handle him a lot but hopefully he will wild up quickly and not go landing on anyone’s head.

Moses the red-neck still comes every day. He loves his evening milk and will often drink up to 75mls .He often comes for morning milk as well.He is growing beautifully and seems very relaxed with all his new-found friends.

Fidel is now 1190 grams and is drinking stronger milk formula .It was a relief to have my sister helping with his feeding As he was only 290 grams when he first came into care he had required 6 feeds per 24hrs  and I found myself to be suffering from lack of sleep and was still tired when Helen arrived. Now he’s a bit bigger Larry has  built him a lovely burrow (box) which is dark and keeps nice and cool . He is on 4 feeds per 24hrs but I will be able to get him onto 3 feeds per  24 hrs in the next few days. I will also start putting a bit of grass in his pouch. He will be about 3 kilo when he can go outside from dusk till late for grazing in a temporary  enclosure for safety. At 5 kilo he will be fully emerged from the pouch and want to start digging as the urge is very strong for a wombat.

At 8 kilo he will be in a wombat pen which Larry will start building soon. At 10 kilo he will be weaned and by  15 kilo will be a wild free  wombat!

Bronte’s tummy is looking bigger now and I saw her a baby the other day while she was cleaning her pouch. I saw a pink rear end and a curled tail so the baby is bigger than a jelly bean now!

My early morning duties apart from feeding hungry mouths is the watering of the 130 trees we planted. Billy usually comes and keeps me company and  sometimes Bucky and Bronte as well. Over half of trees seem to be surviving so that’s not to bad.

I am still waiting for a visit from Bozo………  and he has been !  He only came as far as the edge of the house paddock and it’s when Bucky and Bronte were out in the large paddock with the small group Bozo has joined. He must have hopped back here with them but I could see his group in the paddock. He only stayed for a couple of minutes and wasn’t interested in coming near me which is terrific.He is definitely living wild and looks fabulous. A fantastic result given that he was my first macropod and he was alone for so long in the sense that he just had me while he was young. He did  have greys all around him  and I always took him for long walks even though I couldn’t get really close to them  I knew he was aware of the roos around him. I will try to get a pic of him if he comes again but need to have the camera close by.

My friend Bunny stayed for 3 days over Xmas and she’s always willing to baby sit any animal.

Yesterday I picked up a brushtail possum in town which had been delivered by the Western plains zoo .She was found at Sandy Hollow as a young one by  a MOP and taken to the zoo. They have raised her but wanted her released closer to where she came from  so I agreed to take her. She is just over 1kilo so will need to be in the poss aviary till she bulks up a bit ,about 1350 grams . “Squirty Matey ” is a male possum that was bought here by a male wires member from Dubbo who also named him!  He was kept in the aviary till he got used to the food round here then released .He has been living in a large gum in the house paddock for about 1 year now so we are hoping there will be a happy union.

The possum I collected weighs 1100 grams (much bigger than Fidel to look at) she is juvenile/adult and will be ready for release when she is about 1350 grams .Fidel is a tiny baby who in the most recent photo weighs 1225 grams.An interesting comparison. It’s easy to see why wombats are so strong,

me and Billy

me and Billy

 

Trying to save Rocket

Trying to save Rocket

sleeping beauty

sleeping beauty

Beautiful velvet furred Fidel - aprox 900grams

Beautiful velvet furred Fidel – aprox 900grams

Billy inspecting the peaches off the peach tree

Billy inspecting the peaches off the peach tree

Fidel's  "burrow"

Fidel’s “burrow”

 

Macropods like fruit! Fatty eating fallen peaches , yum,yum. Bozzo used to love apple & melon.

Macropods like fruit! Fatty eating fallen peaches , yum,yum. Bozzo used to love apple & melon.

Moses relaxing

Moses relaxing

 

the other sibling (and mum) the same age as poor Rocket

the other sibling (and mum) the same age as poor Rocket

Annaliese & BillyAnnaliese & Billy

A ball of muscle

A ball of muscle

latest photo- Fidel awake and hungry -weight  1245 grams

latest photo- Fidel awake and hungry -weight 1245 grams

Fidel's digging claws when he was less than 500 grams!!

Fidel’s digging claws when he was less than 500 grams!!

Xmas dinner

Xmas dinner

updates on residents and Fidel comes to Wombatcreek !

Broncos supporter

Broncos supporter

Bozo has been gone now for just over a month. There is no way of knowing if he is O.K other than the sighting a couple of weeks ago by Larry and Scott.  It isn’t unusual for a buck  to go away and then turn up months later so here’s hoping I get to see him enormous!! The great thing here is being able to soft release animals .Meaning like Bozo  going and coming for a few months before making the complete break. All we can do is get them through joeyhood and hope for the best for their survival once they leave home. Bozo was a Bronco’s supporter so as he doesn’t know about NP standards he may have headed off to Qld!

This morning Bronte was cleaning her pouch and Larry was watching her. She was very relaxed and  revealed  her baby which is about  the  size of my little finger ,bigger than we thought .It will be interesting watching that development. She has moved down the yard into spot under a wattle tree at the front of the house where she spends most of her day so it will be very easy to observe.

Billy is developing at the normal rate for an eastern grey ……..slowly. He is getting more lively at night and wanting to spend more time grazing .When I took him on from “Wildlife Aid” he had one foot that turned under making him unsteady on his feet. I’m pleased to say that now he’s not locked up all the time and laying the correct way in his bag ,getting the exercise he needs,  the  problem how now corrected. Possibly the tendon which runs down the back of the leg into the foot may have been restricted . I don’t know how long he was with another carer when I got him and how he was kept. I do know that he dehydrated and stressed and the people who asked me to take him did not have the awareness to realize this was happening.

Billy at back,  with Bucky & Bronte

Billy at back, with Bucky & Bronte

Galy was released 1/12/20013 ,flying well , all O.K,. Staying around here, lots of galahs coming around. Galy joins them and SSC .Don’t think he’s sure if he’s a Galah or a SSC.

off you go!

off you go!

 

 

This is much better than being in the aviary!

This is much better than being in the aviary!

 

 

 

Breakfast with Billy & Galy

Breakfast with Billy & Galy

 

 

 

 

Moses comes every evening for his milk and is now drinking 65 mls time. I find it interesting that he is more friendly with me since he has been living free.

where did he go?

where did he go?

 

 

 

yum yum

yum yum

 

 

Tree planting has been keeping Larry busy.He has 80 Casuarina trees and 50 native shrubs that he is planting at the moment . 30 trees have gone in along one of the fence lines and some of the shrubs in front of the house .They have to watered daily. We are hoping there they will attract little birds. We have lots of red-browed and double -barred finches around at the moment.

Those of you that read my posts will know that the trees are not only being planted for the good of the environment but to the memory of my nephew Paul who I  miss every day  and long to talk to .I don’t think there will another someone like Paul who could discuss things and  make me see things from a totally different point of view.His reality was one that I cherished being part of.

casuarina trees planted along fence line

casuarina trees planted along fence line

native shrubs either side of bird bath

native shrubs either side of bird bath

 

native shrubs planted along house back

native shrubs planted along house back

 

 

 

 

red-browed finch

red-browed finch

 

 

 

 

 

finches in rows

finches in rows

 

 

double-barred finch

double-barred finch

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2 baby cockatiels in the nest flight aviary are still there.We can put our hand in there and feel the spikes on them where the feathers are coming through so they should be out of the nest soon.

Last but not least is the baby wombat “Fidel”.He takes up more of my time than anyone else.A couple of weeks ago we were driving over to Woller nursery (on the Ringwood Road through the NP) to collect some of  casuarina tress to plant and we came across what had been a magnificent wombat, I’d say about 60 kilos and she had been in fantastic condition.  She had been hit in the head and had died sometime within the past 24 hrs. The baby in her pouch was still alive so I bought him home .

Fidel arrives 295grams

Fidel arrives 295grams

tiny Fidel

tiny Fidel

He has to fed every  with a 10 ml syringe.I’m pleased to say that he has settled down and is growing well.He will be furred at 1kilo and at the rate he’s growing that shouldn’t take to long. Fortunately my sister Helen and niece Annaliese, both animal lovers, are coming for Xmas.and I’m sure  they will happy to have a turn at feeding him,bliss ,I might be able to get a full nights sleep!He can’t even be left alone as temp is very important and as the day gets hot he has to be cooled down .I will be very pleased once he is a bit bigger and themo regulating  and gobbling down his milk from a bottle.My faithful friend Bunny who can always be relied on wombat sits when I go to town to do my shopping. He has to come into town and be left at her place while I am gone.

BIG Fidel now 420grams

BIG Fidel now 420grams

 

 

 

contended baby  - tired carer!

contended baby – tired carer!

 

 

 

 

 

For Xmas

Please Santa send Bozo to visit me !

update on the new arrivals and more

The swallows have had more babies since my last post .It’s really swallow heaven here as there are so many small flying insects for them to feed on.

The 2  plover chicks that hatched got moved by mum down to the river bank. They tuck them in under their wing and off they go.They were down there for a couple of days then she moved them again to higher ground close to were she had the nest. One got preyed on by something, we think a goanna , the surviving one is growing fast and hopefully soon be flying.Both mum & dad are vigilant so hope they are successful with this offspring.

The baby tawny grew fast.His feathers were in great condition and tail feathers long enough for balance during flight.

saying goodbye to Deep Throat

saying goodbye to Deep Throat

Deep Throat released. Holding a strip of support food in his beak.

Deep Throat released. Holding a strip of support food in his beak.

He was released last week.We put him into the big apple gum tree in the house paddock after a good feed at dusk.He stayed there for a couple of hours then flew into a tree over the vegetable patch .In the morning he was gone. We like them to stay around for a few days so we can give some support food and watch their progress.That night while sitting out giving Billy his evening bottle I heard him .Larry found him in a tree over hanging the flight aviary .He wasn’t alone , another tawny the same size was there also.! Larry set up a ladder and went up and gave him a couple of heart strips rolled in insectivore which he took gratefully then flew off. The next morning there he was looking like a twig as every good tawny should by day. He disappeared early afternoon when the sun got to hot there and we haven’t seen  him since but am sure he is doing fine.

clever Deep Throat being a twig next morning after release

clever Deep Throat being a twig next morning after release

Galy is flying beautifully and has put on weight. We have had some galahs coming around which is good. We have rain at the moment ,which everyone in these parts is grateful for but as soon at that has gone and the sun is out again we will release him.(yes, he is boy as he has brown eyes)

The cockatiels ‘Young Fu” and “Lady” have mated and we can see a 2 young babies have hatched in the nest which is in a log. These cockatiels can’t be released as they are breed birds that were lost or surrendered but we didn’t expect them to be so happy in the flight aviary they would start breeding. “Young Fu” was the baby born last year to “Chu” and “Mani”  and “Lady” was bought here about 6 mths  by a friend who got her from someone living in Swansea.She only has 1 eye but she is happy and healthy.

Unfortunately the 2 magpies failed to thrive and it was obvious they had a congenital defect so had to be euthanased.

Larry releasing Moses

Larry releasing Moses

I'm free!

I’m free!

Moses the red-neck grew very well and he is now released and has buddied up with 3 residents all about his age. They visit morning and evening and Moses would take his bottle from me but has decided in the last couple of days he no longer needs milk formula. He looks great and it’s so good to see him bounding around with the others .I always feel very sad for the little ones when their mums get run over.Red-neck wallabies are much smaller than grey kangaroos and only have to be in care till they are about 5 kilos. They mature much quicker than a grey kangaroo. Moses was ready to be released at 4 kilos as he was older when I was asked to take him, weighing 2200 grams and had lessons from his mum about how to behave. I had to assess if it was better to keep him locked up longer and give him milk formula longer or if the stress would be detrimental to him. I decided to go for release and he decided I was O.K. and kept coming to me for his milk while he wanted it so it was a good call. Back yard carers would need to keep these animals in care longer than we would as they don’t have the wild ones living around them as they do here and coming to the house paddock grazing around the house.

There's that baby Billy!

There’s that baby Billy!

Billy has settled down and is now growing at a good rate. He is lucky he has Bucky and Bronte living here as he grazes with them every day. He is to little to be out alone and he would be with his mum for about another 12mths .He would be in and out of her pouch at the moment .He sleeps with me at night but that won’t be for much longer as he will want to graze by night soon.

Moses (front left) and friends

Moses (front left) and friends

wood duck family - dad left -mum eating & 6 babies!

wood duck family – dad left -mum eating & 6 babies!

The wood ducks having been having babies down by the river. This family are now regular visitors.

BOZO UPDATE

BIG Bozo and little Moses

BIG Bozo and little Moses

My favourite Bozo, has left home ……….  He started going off for a night here and there about 3 months ago then he went for 4 nights then a night here and there again .He has been gone for 12 days now .His sexual hormones were in swing so hopefully he is sowing his wild oats like a real kangaroo and nothing bad has happened to him. Larry reckons he spotted him over at Vicki’s, (our neighbours property) possible as he knows his way all around. Lots of greys around here. Anyway maybe he will visit so I know he is O.K. Must be great for him doing what he’s meant to and being with his own kind, hopefully  that’s the case and if so he will eventually turn up to see us. My friend Bunny was visiting a couple of weeks ago.She used to nurse him when he was a baby and I took these photos of him with her.You can see how big he is ,he would be at least 24kilos and is 2 years and 3 mths old.

BIG Bozo with Bunny

BIG Bozo with Bunny

 

Really good news , a definite sighting of Bozo this morning in our far paddock with a small group of 6. Bucko and Bronte were also in that paddock having a graze.Bozo saw and recognized them.He went over to say “Hi” and they went off with him back to the small group and they all hopped off. Will be interesting to see what transpires from here. Maybe they will stay together.If that happens I’ll have to try to get a little mate for Billy as the “Big Guns” won’t be here everyday for him to graze with.He does graze with all the red-necks but be good for him to have a grey mate. I always worried about Bozo being on his own .It was a long road ! I was told by “experienced ” back yard carers that he wouldn’t be able to join a group and I should give him away…….. I wouldn’t dream of taking a macropod way from this environment and putting it in  a backyard! Anyway it appears that has been proved wrong! It can be done if you are willing to take the time and make some sacrifices……sleeping outside for months so the young one (not locked up) can graze at night without fear!! It was a long road…….

Another development  – I just got called outside to see what was going on.Bronte and Bucky are back and have with them a large young  buck which we think must be from that group Bozo is with. He came down into the yard in front of the house and was eating some grain with them. He took off once he knew we were all watching. It will be interesting to see what happens next. A couple of weeks ago  there was a buck hanging around here interested in Bronte.Maybe it’s the same one and that’s how Bozo has come to join that group (I suspect a small group of young horny bucks! ) Maybe Bronte has a jelly bean in her  pouch and will start her own mob here.

 

 

new arrivals

Spring is here ,or is summer? The weather is erratic, very hot the last few days but it was still chilly in the mornings and evenings 2 week ago. Suddenly very hot again and wild winds.

Our hearts go out to the people who have had the terrible fires around them and lost homes. We feel very sad for the young chopper pilot,and his family. who lost his life helping others,  We have been lucky so far and haven’t had to go through a fire and we are so grateful to all the brave people who go out and risk their own lives to help others. Larry has installed a very good water supply system . The fire department have now made our property a static water supply source and helipad  and  have it marked on the satellite in case of it having to be used.

The snakes and goannas are about once more .It’s a race to the chicken pen to get the eggs before the resident goanna ,he often beats us.

The swallows have been born again. They made 4 nests round the house this year and it’s always great to watch them raising their young and watching them leave the nest with perfect flight.

The willie wagtails made their usual nest  and their young are also out. The parents are vigilant and have no fear of the bigger birds giving them a good telling off if they come to close to the young flyers.

2 plover chicks hatch

2 plover chicks hatch

The resident plovers have had babies.3 eggs were laid in the house paddock,2 hatched. Mum moved them away down to the river bank where she had them pecking in the muddy bank teaching them  how to eat. dad was on a look out a lot and they must have decided that was to exposed as she has now moved them again to another spot higher up from the river and down the road. We are looking forward to seeing them come home with the proud parents.

We have a baby tawny frogmouth in care who I have named not very originally “deep throat” .Those of you who have seen a tawny open wide for a mouse will understand why. He calls constantly when I walk past his cage so he also gets called “pig, hog, guts” not very nice I know but I don’t know where he puts all the food.

cheeky tawny chick

cheeky tawny chick

It is ideal to bring more than one tawny up together but that’s not always possible. This one we have fell from a nest in a public school and the nest was up to high for him to be put back.  Adult Tawny’s that  come into care over will not self feed but are quite happy to perch and just open their large mouth at dawn and dusk and swallow the easy meal. In the wild they catch and kill their prey before swallowing. Tawny’s love mice and day old chicks. Fortunately strips of heart rolled in insectivore  are a good nutritious diet for them also. They also eat frogs, lizards, cockroaches, small beetles and grasshoppers. Tawny frogmouths have very sensitive feathers and must be kept in a cage covered on the inside with shade cloth to prevent damage (as their flight must be 100% for survival) and the same applies when they are moved into the aviary before release.

poor galah

poor galah

We have a young Gala who was probably just learning to fly and had an awful collision.When we picked him up from Muswellbrook he was in a bad way. He had no visible breaks ,wings looked good  but he was unable to stand up right even though his claws were gripping. He couldn’t crack seed so we gave him a special wet food, using a spoon shaped into an adults beak, that is used for rearing seed eaters. It was very hard to get him to take anything as his swallowing capabilities were very much diminished. He had a rasping which seemed to be coming from the chest area. We decided that he  had sustained neurological damage  when he collided and probably had a spine injury but without an x-ray impossible to really know and to what degree. We put him on a course of antibiotics for 7 days which worked wonders. He began to crack his seed and eat up big time. He was able to grip the perch but when on the ground could only stand by balancing by holding with his beak on the cage wire, very smart. Within about 4 days we could see he was improving little by little so we moved him into a larger cage so he could exercise more . He is now in an aviary .His legs are working and he is trying very hard to get his flight. He is doing well , but unable to get height but I’m sure that will come .Larry has named him “Galy” and taken on his rehab care . Thanks to our bird vet Alex Rosenwax and his staff in Sydney who we worked with very closely and tried to learn as much as we could we have able to get this bird so far. I hope I will able to post a good news update of him in flight soon.

Larry with Galy "wing exercise"

Larry with Galy “wing exercise”

gala now

gala now

We have a magpie who was a baby on intake .I don’t know what the background was but he is now a juvenile and starting to self feed and fly around the aviary so he will be free soon. As soon as a magpie ,currawong or raven come into care we dose them for gape worm which they usually have .It was the foremost reason we would get  from a new carer saying they had a

magpie asking for food

magpie asking for food

bird that wouldn’t eat. You can often see the gape worm in their throat. Once they have been dosed they usually start eating well.

We actually went to Muswellbrook after a call from Wildlife Aid asking if we could take a juvenile red-neck wallaby whose mother had been killed and a baby eastern grey kangaroo with the same story. The birds were landed on us when we got there as they don’t have many bird carers. We were happy to be

able to help.

Moses in his bag

Moses in his bag

The juvenile red-neck wallaby “Moses” was almost  3 kilo on intake .That’s really out of pouch for red-neck but still drinking milk from mum. That’s a very difficult age to get a red-neck to bond with the carer and not be scared. We have managed to get him to a point where he will take his milk sometimes in his pouch but more often just standing but unfortunately we have to keep him penned for his own survival.

Moses is a beautiful boy

Moses is a beautiful boy

He has had a good weight gain so far so won’t be to long and he can go free. He is just  a bit young to go without milk yet. We have a lot of young red-necks that come to the house paddock for a supplementary grain feed so he will be fine .You might remember “Baba” whose mum was very old and she died here  when he was not much bigger than “Moses”. He  is still around and has doubled in size. He comes for some grain nearly every day and he is now getting a lot more confident around us.

Billy in his bag

Billy in his bag

The baby eastern grey kangaroo “Billy” was not well when he cam home with us. I don’t know how long he was alone before rescue . He has been given what he needed and  is now thriving .He will follow me around, and also likes to be with Larry and get in way,  so he gets to have lots of  exercise to make sure his legs grow strong. Hopefully I will get a call to say there is one his age needing care and he will have a friend soon.

Billy out having a graze aprox age 7mths

Billy out having a graze aprox age 7mths

For those of you that followed “Bozo” growing up he is now in excess of   24 kilo . He still hangs around on the back veranda but goes off for some time . He has been gone for up to 4 days and nights and sometimes a day and night .He is now about 2 years 2 months old so beginning to come into some sexual maturity .Eastern grey bucks don’t mate till they 4 years old but he’s started sowing his wild oats. My niece said she hopes he stays away from drugs and crime !!

A tribute to Paul

It’s been a while since I posted an update.

I have not been as motivated as I usually am.My dear nephew and friend Paul, without  whose help this site would never have come about,was diagnosed  with leukaemia last year and sadly  he passed away on the 11th of Aug.

My nephew Paul in 2003

My nephew Paul in 2003

Paul was an honorable man.He had no interest in material possessions, other than what he really needed  and  no interest in making a lot of  money ,only what he needed to get by.He loved the coast and the bush and had a great desire to return to his native land of New Zealand but time ran out for him.He cared about the environment and could never understand why economists couldn’t recognise that it shouldn’t be a competition between the two, simply a must if future generations were to have any quality of life.He influenced me to believe in what I thought was important .He disliked living in Sydney but  circumstances dictated that he did . His selfless choices were made in favour of others that he cared for.

A coastal walk with a stop for lunch

A coastal walk with a stop for lunch – 2002

Paul came to Australia in his early twenties and having him around was fabulous.He was  an arts student and when he graduated won a scholarship to the USA for a year. He became interested in  IT. .About 20 years ago he turned up at my place in Coogee where I lived and had my business “Christina’s Costumes” .He put an old desk top computer and screen on the dinning room table ,showed me the on/off button and told me I better get with it as anyone in business had to be online or get left behind! He developed my website ,the only one of it’s kind as I don’t know of anyone else who does costume hire online. When I moved to the property permanently in early 2011 he was beginning to rewrite the codes to bring it up to date and solely web based but unfortunately became ill and could no longer work. I have that site now being upgraded and almost ready for launch as I did not want to see all Paul’s years of developing the site wasted.I also desperately need to try and earn some money to keep the refuge going. Paul did lots of visits with us to the property which was purchased in 1998 and gazetted in 2008.

explaining to his daughter Eva about  the importance of protecting our native animals

explaining to his daughter Eva about the importance of protecting our native animals

baby sitting a juvenile wombat in 2003

baby sitting a juvenile wombat in 2003

I miss Paul, talking to him ,exchanging ideas and listening to his very unique view on many things.If there more people that needed such a little we could sustain a much more environmentally friendly way of life. After the funeral service I was talking with friend of Paul’s I hadn’t seen for a few years as he had moved interstate.I told him I often inquired after him and he said likewise.He told me that Paul had said I had moved into the bush and was living “off the grid” .He said Paul was very proud of me.It was such a nice thing to hear and it will stay with me forever  and motivate me to keep going here .Paul grew an avocado tree from a seed quite a few years ago and he gave it to Larry to plant up here  .He thought the possums might like an avo or two! It’s very hard to sprout a plant  from a seed.I have tried several times. About a week after Paul died the tree showed us it’s first avocados. Small grape size but I’m sure they will be huge in the future! Early this year I secured a grant for the purchase of native shrubs and Casuarina trees to plant here.They are arriving this month so we will be busy.They will all be planted for Paul.

Paul would have been 50 today. Thanks for enriching my life.

Paul, Larry and me chatting on the back veranda Xmas 2004

Paul, Larry and me chatting on the back veranda Xmas 2004

Paul with cousin Annaliese and daughter Eva at the property for Xmas 2002

Paul with cousin Annaliese and daughter Eva at the property for Xmas 2002

Paul's avocado tree

Paul’s avocado tree