Saturday, January 19, 2013

Welcome to Breeding Season in Daintree

After a long absence, the Daintree News blog is up and running again!

Queensland's Wet Tropics are, without doubt, Australia's best wildlife-watching locations with the rich biodiversity that is unique to the tropics. Ranging from sea-level to 900m, there is a diverse range of habitats.

Daintree, on the coastal lowlands and ranges, has some of the oldest and richest rainforest in the world and is home to a great variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and insects.
Birds and birdwatching are a major focus of the region with birders from around the world visiting to see a huge diversity of species in convenient and comfortable conditions.

As the 'Wet Season' approaches many local birds are finishing their breeding season, nesting at a time when flowers, fruit and insects are plentiful in the rainforest, and before rainy conditions make it difficult to raise a family. Black Bittern, Shining Flycatcher and Papuan Frogmouth chicks have mostly fledged. These all nest in trees on the banks of the Daintree River and it's best to be gone before the river floods.

Papuan Fogmouth (S.Isoe)

Others, like the Wompoo Fruit-Dove, are more likely to breed outside their main nesting season. This pair have been building their somewhat-flimsy nest in the past week. They appear to have chosen a sheltered spot, so should be successful.

Wompoo Fruit-Dove (A.Forsyth)

One of the great breeding success stories are the Metallic Starlings who migrate from New Guinea in huge numbers in August each year to breed. Their nesting colonies are massed in often-huge trees and are used year after year. They are communal nesters and can raise two, or sometimes three, broods in a season..
Adapting well to urban life, the following photo is of nesting colony in one of several palms in the carpark at Smithfield Shopping Centre.

Metallic Starling (T.Forsyth)