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

Bozo update – plus some sad news & some good news

Last week I went to Sydney for a week. Larry and son Scott looked after the roos .Scott enjoyed feeding Bozo sitting in a chair in the large paddock next to the house paddock. This proved to be a good move as in the late afternoon a mob of greys can be seen in the distance on the far side of the paddock. One afternoon after Bozo had finished his bottle Scott called Larry to come and take a look. Bozo had hopped over to the greys then hopped on into the centre of the mob and begun grazing without a care in the world! Bronte and Bucky also went but stayed on the fringe. All the manuals say that a buck will not be accepted into a mixed mob so this was indeed a surprise. Obviously Bozo knows these greys and has been seeing them at night for some time. The morning after I returned Bozo didn’t turn up for his early morning milk. He has stopped drinking as much in the morning so he is probably starting to wean himself off. There are conflicting views about when a grey roo should be weaned. In the wild they drink up to 18-19 months of age so I don’t see why we should to do any different if the joey still wants to drink.

big healthy Bozo now aprox 16- 17mths old

big healthy Bozo now aprox 16 – 17mths old

We waited to see if Bozo would return .It got to 12pm .Larry was more worried than me. I think Bozo is a strong young buck who can run very fast but if alone he could be crept up on by a group of wild dogs .Eventually  I went off to look around in case he was lying somewhere injured or dead. I got to the edge of the large paddock where there is an open gate and a bank with long growth which goes down to the river. I was calling “Bozo” and the next thing he hops up from the bank to the top but  the other greys he was resting and grazing with got scared and hopped off down the bank ,across the river and away . Bozo was upset and looking for them .Needless to say I felt awful but it was to late. He came back home with me . I am now waiting and hoping it happens again soon .I’m sure it will.

early morning workout

early morning workout

What is very interesting it appears that  depending where you raise a buck ,even alone, he maybe able to join a mixed mob after all. I guess not many carers are lucky enough or want to live in the type of surroundings we do.

If you have been following my blog you will remember “The Fatty Family”.

Fatty & Mama relaxing in the afternoon sun

Fatty & Mama relaxing in the afternoon sun

Mama was a very old red – neck wallaby who had a baby that came out of the pouch about 4 months  ago. Fatty, Mama and Baba where constantly together although Baba would run around full of energy and often stay on his/her own for some time before appearing again. We think maybe a little girl as very independent. Mama seemed to be waning and we suspected she was going downhill quite quickly. Having the baby must have been hard on her but she was a great mother and taught her baby well.

Last image of Mama & Baba together

Last image of Mama & Baba together

Mama knew she was waning and she never left our house paddock for about a fortnight before she died. We thought she felt save here and knew it was good space for Baba.The week before I went to Sydney we found Mama dead in our old shed. She was lying down peacefully as though she had chosen that place. Fatty is now on his own but lots of other red-necks around.We see him every day. We were always told they are solitary, and they mostly are  although they congregate quite close to each other in some areas. Living here has shown us some different behaviours. Baba comes morning and evening and has a supplementary feed of special grain.

Baba alone

Baba alone

We wish we could give Baba some milk formula but there is no way  we can get close enough .The trauma of capturing Baba would be too much and we think she is doing fine and growing well. There is another red-necked female “Josie” who has a  baby in pouch ,head out grazing.Josie seems quite comfortable to have Baba sticking close by with her.

I have also read and been told that this doesn’t happen…….We think Mama was quite likely mother and grandmother to many of our resident red-necks.

Josie and Baba

Josie and Baba

Josie looking after Baba. Notice her bulging pouch. We often see head and legs sticking out!

Josie looking after Baba. Notice her bulging pouch. We often see head and legs sticking out!

Some time ago I applied for grant to purchase some native plants. Bird attracting shrubs which are endemic to this area and some Casuarina Trees for the endangered Casuarina Cockatoos who only eat those nuts.

casuarina cockatoos feeding on a small casuarina tree in our house paddock

casuarina cockatoos feeding on a small casuarina tree in our house paddock

I am very pleased to say I got the grant and planting will begin in the spring. The native shrubs will keep the pest flora from re growing. We are also looking at planting in some native grasses into areas as we clear them of pest flora. Scott Lily from Wollar Nursery will be supplying the plants and is also our advisor .He is also an advisor for NPWS .

Bozo update

I tried for a long time when Bozo was younger through some of the wildlife groups to locate some eastern grey kangaroos that were the same age that I could take into care to give him some buddies and create a mob.

Bozo -  still cute  9 -10mths old

Bozo – still cute
9 -10mths old

Eastern grey kangaroos live in mobs of varying sizes. We are surrounded by them ,lots of mobs but they are very nervous of humans and it’s impossible to get close to them before they all hop off .Some are small mobs of just boys “bucks” and some are large mobs of bucks, girls “does” , youngsters at heel “joeys” ,and babies still in pouch. A lone buck will not be accepted into a mixed mob but could join a group of bucks if there is a suitable group around. Does are welcome to join a mob. Despite my efforts I couldn’t convince anyone to part with some kangaroos at the time. About 2 months ago I made contact with Julie & Brad Smith who run the “Wildlife Aid” group in Muswellbrook .They invited Larry and me over to visit them so we did. It was such a pleasure to see the dedication there.

Julie's backyard

Julie’s backyard

Julie's babies

Julie’s babies

They then came out to our place and liked what they found .They decided to give us one of their female greys “Bronte” about the same age as Bozo.

Bozo & Bronte

Bozo & Bronte

We had to lock Bronte up initially to get her used to being here and let her get to know Bozo. She didn’t like been locked up and Larry wasn’t happy about it so after the 2nd night he left her free. We couldn’t find her the next morning but thought she would return .After 4 nights there was still no sign of her and as she had already weaned off milk we thought she had joined up with one of the mobs. Julie and Brad had a buck a bit younger than Bozo still drinking milk so decided we could bring him here. He and Bozo were introduced to each other and we thought after a few days they would bond. Then the next day, much to our delight, Bronte returned. As Bucky had been around her for sometime previous he decided to stick to her like glue .We think he treats her like a substitute mum even though he takes his morning and evening milk from us.

Larry feeding Bucky with Bozo and Bronte

Larry feeding Bucky with Bozo and Bronte

Bucky was found on one of the mining roads in Muswellbrook , his mother had been run over and killed. He is quite a nervous little fellow. Bozo likes both Bronte and Bucko but he doesn’t hangout with them as during the day as he likes his veranda. He goes off in the evening between 7-9pm .Maybe meets up with them at night , but we don’t know. They all arrive back about the same time in the morning about 6am.Bucky won’t spa with Bozo as Bozo
frightens him with his giant clodhoppers .Bozo spas with us, with me for
about an 1/2 hour every morning and he gets Larry when ever he can! The other morning I saw a very big buck not far from the house looking up this way. He had a couple of other bucks with him so maybe Bozo is meeting up with them by night. Either way he seems fine and I’m sure when he weans off his milk (hopefully soon) and starts to get some sexual maturity he will start spending more time away from the comforts of veranda! Another of my sisters visited a while back and Bozo liked her immediately, just the same as he did with Helen. He doesn’t take to people just like that so I think there must be a similar smell between siblings which is recognised by some animals who likes having aunts to spoil them!

afternoon nap

afternoon nap

My sister Andriani with Bozo

My sister Andriani with Bozo

cheeky Bozo sneaked into the kitchen!

cheeky Bozo sneaked into the kitchen!

my friend Bunny feeding Bozo

my friend Bunny feeding Bozo

When Bozo was younger I used to take him into town. My friend Bunny would roo sit while I did my shopping. She would feed Bozo and give him lots of TLC so she is a favourite also!

Bozo loves his substitute mum

Bozo loves his substitute mum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Girlie” released

originally  posted June 15th  2013

Girlie has done really well. Her fight feathers have grown beautifully and she has had a significant weight gain. from intake of 180grams she is now 194grams.An adult is from aprox 200-250grams.We released her today. She will probably stay around the house paddock for a few days and we will be able to provide some support food until she joins a flock and takes off with them.

flight feathers growing

flight feathers growing

Looking good

Looking good

Girlie released Can you see her way up!?

Girlie released
Can you see her way up!?

 

 

 

 

 

Female King Parrot “Girlie”

originally  posted may 2nd  2013

A few weeks ago we got a call from the Merriwa vet asking if we could take a parrot picked up on the ground in town by a member of the public. The vet nurse ,Julie, told us she had very short flight feathers and specks of yellow in her feathers. Off we went to collect her .She looked like a young bird to us .The yellow fecks through her feathers were something we hadn’t seen before.

 

 on intake

on intake

We emailed the expert in Sydney ,Alex Rosenwax  at Bird and Exotics via my friend Sandi his very experienced vet nurse. We found out the flecks of yellow could indicate a disease which had no treatment and would kill her but also that it could be bad nutrition due to someone maybe taking her from a nest and not really knowing what to feed her and consequently just letting her go or she may have escaped. We hoped for the latter and it seems we have been rewarded as she is now looking really good, getting long flight feathers and putting on weight. The king parrots come round her aviary in the mornings and talk to her .The yellow flecks will go when she moults and gets her new feathers. If all goes well she will be released in about another 4weeks.

poor Girlie

poor Girlie

Young Fu arrives and other birds in care

 originally posted Jan 1st 2013

 Last Dec 2012 we had a new unexpected arrival to our flight aviary. Chu and Man were obviously very happy in there and Chu laid eggs which 1 at least was fertilised and out popped young Fu. Named after our old bird Fu who died of old age some weeks before. I can’t say they were great parents but did their best. They were certainly feeding him but as we really didn’t want to breed caged birds (these are unable to be released and came into care as unwanted pets) we hadn’t provided them with a breeding box . They did follow their natural instincts and mad a nest in a log but neglected to keep it clean. The nest actually collapsed and out fell young Fu. We took him in and raised him then returned with mum and dad.

baby Fu

baby Fu

youngster Fu

youngster Fu

Raising a cockatiel to independence takes about 7weeks. We had a friend staying with us from Sydney who was a great baby bird sitter! he spent many hours on the back verandah watching the wildlife and introducing young Fu to the outdoors .

Fu almost fully feathered

Fu almost fully feathered

Brian best bird sitter  and Fu

Brian
best bird sitter and Fu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had an adult  female kookaburra in care. She had damaged a small bone in her wing and had not been able to fly and catch food .She was on the road and picked up by a kind young man on his way to work who took her to the local vet in town who then called to see if we might be able to help. She was very thin so we put her in a small shade cloth cage to rest ,gave her a course of antibiotics and began offering her mice to eat. She ate well, got her strength back and while that was happening the small bone calcified and mended and we were able to release her. Kookaburras are part of their own family group and have a territory so you should always ask where they were picked up from and release the bird to the same place so it can reunite with it’s family.

Chris&kookaburra

Chris&kookaburra

We also had a young raven which we found on the ground on our way back from town .Only in care for a few days. It seems  that he had a collision in strong winds and had suffered some minor concussion. He was also fine and released.

Bozo growing Up

originally posted  November 4th 2012

It’s been a while since I updated but having a baby kangaroo is keeping me busy.My sister has been over from NZ for a visit which I really enjoyed. She is an animal lover and was great helping with Bozo.

Helen&Bozo

Helen&Bozo

papoose

papoose

We  made a papoose while she was here and he loves to be carried around in that. Bozo out grew his play pen so Larry has built him a small pen that he goes into for safety when we have to go into town.

Bozos pen

Bozos pen

It has a shade cloth roof to keep him cool but also to stop any wedge tail eagles from swooping down for a yummy meal as baby roos are a favourite food! It has a shelter part at the back and he sleeps out the at night in his bag (substitute mum’s pouch) Bozo’s weight was aprox 1625 grams when we found him in his dead mum’s pouch.  He is now   aprox 3200 grams.

Bozo in his pouch learning about the great outdoors!

Bozo in his pouch learning about the great outdoors!

Swallows breeding

originally  posted October 21st   2012

We have about 4 swallows nests around the house and the babies are all out now and learning to catch food on the wing. Adult swallows have a very busy life when they are feeding their young. All you see when watching the nests is constant open becks! It was a good learning experience watching the developments day by day.

nest up above our front door - mum swallow sitting on her eggs

nest up above our front door – mum swallow sitting on her eggs

 

hungrymouths

hungry mouths

 

 

 

 

 

getting big

getting big

mum feeding

swallows first flight

swallows first flight

 

We have been getting our vegetable garden going and at last things are starting to grow. We have been eating lots of radishes and lettuce while waiting for everything else! Also trial and error with many plants trying to find out what grows well here. Our bottle brush bushes are out in flower and attracting quite a few friar birds. Always something to learn .I didn’t know that friar birds were nectar eaters but they obviously are. The Casuarina Cockatoos

male casuirina cockatoo

male casuirina cockatoo

female casuarina cockatoo

female casuarina cockatoo

yellow tailed cockatoos

yellow tailed cockatoos

are around constantly and we have also seen a couple of brush-tail wallabies in the past week .It’s good to know that we have endangered species around here .We have also sighted a couple of flocks of yellow tail cockatoos in the past month which I was delighted about as I used to love seeing them flying overhead in Sydney and I didn’t  think they were around here.

Brush- tailed Rock Wallaby

Endangered Brush- tailed Rock Wallaby

 

 

 

 

New arrival – Bozo

originally posted 13th Sep 2012

A couple of weeks ago while driving into town we came across a road kill. A kangaroo hit by a car with a head injury. Larry stopped to move the body off the road and we found it was a female eastern grey with a baby in pouch. The baby was not injured so we wrapped him up and bought him home. He is about 6-7mths old ,fully furred and just popping his head out of the pouch looking around. I had some emergency milk formula at home so once we got him warmed up I gave him some. He is coming along well and now has put on some weight and taking his food O.K. Eastern Greys have to be part of a group so I shall have to make some enquires to try and find him a buddy.

being brave

being brave

feeding little Bozo

feeding little Bozo

Flight aviary finished

originally posted 13th September 2012

furniture

furnishing the flight aviary

The flight aviary is finished apart from some cosmetic outside painting which I’m doing in dribs & drabs in between other things. Our cockatiels love the big space and much to our surprise made a nest  and laid some eggs which are fertile as a couple of mornings ago I put my eye to the small hole at the bottom of the log and a bird was hatching! Mani ,the male, is very protective and will let us know he means business when we get to close.  Chu is taking it all very calmly. There were 2 eggs and we don’t know yet if the other has hatched. We have contacted our bird vet in Sydney and let them know we are now able to take some birds which need a home but can’t be released and also birds endemic to this area for rehab if they are suitable for a wire aviary. We have designed the aviary so it can still be used as two areas if need be. Sadly, Fu ,who was the old bird died a couple of days ago of natural causes, old age! At least we know he had some time with us that was O.K.

flight aviary finished

flight aviary finished

Chu trying out the furniture

Chu trying out the furniture

We would also like to build a raptor aviary but that project will be down the track a bit.. Raptors have to kept in a soft aviary otherwise they damage their feathers and they have to be 100% for flight when catching prey.