June 2017 and it’s been well over a year since I updated . It doesn’t seem that long.
Here is a picture of Fidel taken in march 2016.
I will show you a recent one at the end of the post.
This year we realised we had a resident python “Monty” of course. I spotted him in the front yard one evening and when I went out the next morning found he had shed his entire skin .We have it in one long undamaged piece. Monty shows up in different places and also Larry moves him round the sheds to catch mice . One morning he was curled up in the carrots. Another morning he came visiting my just vacated chair where I had my early morning cup of tea.
Over the past year we have seen some animals we haven’t seen before . A red-naped snake which Larry spotted outside one night. How he saw it I’m not sure as they don’t get very big even fully grown. He came in and got me then managed to find it again! Adults grow to about 40cm length. They mate once a year and the females lay 1-10 eggs per clutch .The eggs hatch in Jan or Feb and the hatchlings are about 12cm long. It was in Feb we saw this one. They are venomous but not dangerous and are listed as endangered in Vic and sparsely distributed else where so we were lucky to see this one. We released him after having a good look and taking this pic.
In April last year Larry was in the NP with his nephew and family and they spotted 3 Emus. We used to see Emus all the time around here about 15 years ago then they seemed to vanish so it was great to know there are some still around.
Just a few weeks ago as I went out the back screen door a large bird came toward me flying very fast , scraped my arm with feet claws and hit the screen door , flew off to the side of the veranda and landed on the rail for a few seconds before taking off. I didn’t know what it was but thought it looked like the large native NZ Pigeon but had a different under carriage.I got the bird book out and found it was a Wonga Pigeon . It turned out Larry had seen 2 together when chopping some wood .They had flown up from the ground as he must have given them a scare. When I looked up the info on them I found they are rarely seen in flight unless flushed. They forage on the ground and are sedentary and uncommon but can be locally abundant in areas of favourable habitat so we are on the lookout now. This is an image I have taken off the internet.
Oct last year we had a mother wallaroo with a young male baby around .The mother was sick but we don’t know what was wrong. She was thin, had no energy and would loose balance at times .We think she bought her baby here as she felt it was safer place for him to be. We had this happen before with a red- necked wallaby. That baby was a bit older and he did survive even though he wasn’t getting any milk.
Mum wallaroo did die and we tried every way we could to try and catch the baby as he had only just come out of the pouch and we felt without milk he couldn’t get the nourishment he would need to thrive. He was very fast and knew when you were within 10 metres and try as we might we couldn’t get him. We made a large hoop and tried to get him by dropping that over him but he was way to quick. We tried putting out milk formula in a dish but he wouldn’t go near it .We watched out for him every day and he was surviving but he didn’t seem to thrive .We would look through the binoculars and if we were on the veranda he would come really close as he knew we couldn’t get him from there! His fur didn’t look as good as it had and also his eyes looked rheumy. Then suddenly all the wallaroos disappeared into the hills and we didn’t see them for weeks. This happens sometimes then they all appear again. We couldn’t recognise Tiny after that so don’t know what happened to him.
Earlier this year I found Mani dead in the cockatiel cage. There was nothing obvious and it seems he simply “fell of his perch” as it is said. It happened when we had the awful heat wave in Dec 2016. He was never a big strong bird as he had come into care with giardia and almost totally featherless. Even though he completely recovered he may not have been as strong because of his illness. I think the heat was to much for him . He lived for about 7 years after we took him in and I can’t say how old he was then .Just after Mani went to bird heaven I found a little one in the nest with a bit of twine round the foot. I decided I would do some hand rearing and called the tiny creature “small Mani” who is now big Mani and back in with the flock.
Last year we had a few tawnies in care . They came to us through members of the public via the vet in town. They were all successfully released except 1 which had a wing injury which never healed well enough to fly properly. We currently have a large tawny in care weighing 450grams on intake. Involved in a collision and has injured the top of his wings on both sides. No broken bones and I’m sure he will be O.K. in a couple of weeks. He has had a course of antibiotics to make sure that no infection set in and is eating well. He has been favouring 1 wing but today he opened it himself for the first time since being in care.
Pretty Britty left home the first week in May this year. She was here for 3 years 5 months. I was very attached to her and she would keep me company at breakfast looking for her yoghurt and rolled oats .The back veranda for a late afternoon cup of tea for me and a couple of almonds for her! A handsome buck started hanging around 6 months ago and he returned intermittently waiting for her to come on heat. The last couple of weeks he wouldn’t let her out of his sight and he even took a kip on the back veranda on several occasions. We would hear them doing the courtship dance some nights. Clomping past our bedroom at all hours. We had to be careful not to get between them as he may have launched an attack if threatened. Eventually she went off with him. I hope will return one day and show us her a baby.
Britty & Bozo were good friends . Here they are grazing together Jan this year. As you can Bozo looks healthy and well.
A couple of weeks ago Bozo started coming to the front yard alone in the afternoons and he didn’t look to be in good condition any longer. He looked boney and his fur looked lank and patchy. We soon noticed that his jaw looked very swollen and he was unable to eat properly which had resulted in his bad condition. Over the next few days he became very ill and we thought he was going to die soon. We can’t be 100% certain but we think he had “lumpy jaw” . Some symptoms of this are swellings on the jaw and face, difficulty eating and slobbering, weight loss and tiredness. As the animals eat, bacteria accumulates around the teeth. These bacteria can infect the gums through cuts in the mouth. Following this the infection can spread into the soft tissue like muscle, tendons and tissues that surrounds bone. The next step
from here is infection of the bone. Some say that lumpy jaw can be caused by the wrong diet in captivity such as feeding pellets and grain all the time. When macropods feed in the wild on grasses, leaves, herbage and branches they chew horizontally .When processed foods are fed the chewing action changes to vertical which tends to compact food into the gums. Bozo was reared on a natural diet of grazing grasses or cut grass . He has been living free since Nov 2013 and only eats some grain and wheaten chaff occasionally when he comes around the house if we are support feeding due to lack of grasses. He was blinded in 1 eye about a year ago , probably due to trying to depend himself against a stronger bigger buck but he was doing O.K. He was never an aggressive kangaroo, always friends with everyone. We had a female grey came to house front a couple of years ago , she was wild but bought her young baby here. She presented with the same symptoms and she died .The baby stayed around but we couldn’t get him to come close and take milk but he survived and he’s still around .We called him Be Bop and he and Bronte’s 2nd baby Bebe are great mates , teenage louts. In a zoo situation lumpy jaw can be treated if caught in time but we couldn’t do anything here. We would like to try and source a tranquilizer gun. We decided that we couldn’t let Bozo die a painful death so Larry euthanized him. Bozo was 51/2 years old.
Bronte our resident female grey still has her last baby “Bae” with her. She has had 3 babies now and also has another in pouch. Moses the red-neck is still around and Billy who came into care after Bozo visits occasionally .He is an enormous male and we think he is Bae’s dad.
A picture of Bozo I snapped as he was going .
The Butcher Birds are still around plus few other visitors pictured here.
The weather has got a lot colder in the mornings and evenings so the wombats are out and about early eve. We have been getting about 5 that we recognise coming to front yard in the evening eating the fresh grass and yummy grass roots. We found one curled up in the woodpile about 4 weeks ago. He has a tiny spot of mange on his back. We offered him some grain but he was most unimpressed .We followed him to his burrow and have been giving him weekly treatments . Larry is treating about 7 wombats at the moment , some on neighbouring properties.
Below is an image I really like of mum & baby who visit us often.
Currently in care I have a little female grey. She came in from a member of the public in town. Her mother was killed by a car. She had been keep for 4 days and given cows milk before being handed over. I don’t know what else had happened to her but she was very sick. She had thrush and couldn’t suck.. I have had her for 3 weeks and it has taken that long to stabilize her . She is now thriving . Her name is “Worm” .
and here is ” Fidel the Splendid Wombat” taken last month.
I know this update is bitsy but leaving things for a over a year makes it hard to pick up the thread. I hope you enjoyed some of it!