Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wildlife in the “Burbs”


The above photo is of a blue tongued lizard, sunning itself in our front garden. There appears to be a family of them living under the house – mum, dad and babies. Willy the cat fortunately ignores them, the large ones anyway, but the local wattle birds persistently attack the lizards on sight. 

blue tongue lizard_willy
Willy eyeing off a blue tongued lizard.

We also noticed the other day two delightful little spotted pardelotes stripping bark from the honeysuckle vine for nesting material.

pardelot 006

pardelot 010 Spotted Pardelotes

They are a rare sight in the suburban back garden, the bulk of the avian population being blackbirds, Indian mynahs, wattle birds and pigeons, with the occasional flock of rainbow lorikeets dropping by.

Lorikeet Chick

lorikeets 001_resize 
Adult Lorikeet in plum tree

As you can see from the photo above, the plum tree is looking ragged and chewed. This is due to depredations of possums, both of the brush tailed and ring tailed varieties, who inhabit the garden at night. In the past, the two blood plum trees were laden with fruit during summer. For the past two years, as the possum population has grown, the trees have yielded less than a handful of plums.  The possums eat the blossoms and then get stuck into the new leaf growth, effectively eating themselves out of any future bounty. In other words, they are pests, but protected by law, so you can’t dispose of them.

The brush tail possums are amazingly bold and friendly. They saunter up to you and would even try climbing your leg, if you let them.

Willy the cat won’t tackle them, fortunately – he’d come off worse in a tussle with a brush tailed possum. He’s even running scared of the mynahs and wattle birds who are extraordinarily aggressive birds.

We have new next door neighbours, so Pinto the feisty kitten has gone to live in Castlemaine with her owners and no longer troubles our backyard . However, the new neighbours, who recently emigrated from the UK, have two cats who are due to come out of quarantine tomorrow. They are bengal/burmese cross cats, a male and a female,  so I’m really interested in seeing  them, but Willy is in for a shock.  Hopefully they’ll co-exist in harmony with the local felines.


Ann O'Dyne said...

oh I just love the Blueys I hope it all goes well. make sure you don't let StickyWeed get a grip on your block. I am forever scarred by the bad effect it once had on a BTL.

The new neighbours have spent a lot on the 6-months quarantine for those gorgeous cats. poor kitties to be separated like that, esp when the horse flu was spread everywhere by the idiot quarantine inspector walking through the Japanese race horses without changing shoes before his next call.
Fen at Between The Wires blog keep her Melbourne Bengal off the streets completely. theft such a risk.
Thanks for helping me identify a pardelote - I saw one close up in my backyard and we both got a fright. No mynahs around here thank goodness, but a regular gang of about 100 cockies goes screeching across the sky and can be heard well before they arrive, and well after they leave.

Anne S said...

No sticky weed here (touch wood) for the lizards to tangle with.

And glad my photos of pardelotes were able to enlighten you. Such sweet little birds. One of them even flew inside and had to be rescued by B - amazingly it didn't make a fuss.

The next door cats have taken up residence, but have been confined indoors so far. Got a look at them in their cages when they arrived and they are very pretty. Actually, they only had to stay a month in quarantine here, but perhaps they had to spend the same amoutn of time in Q in the UK. Their owners went and visited them every day.

Ann O'Dyne said...

"visited them everyday" - bless them.

my tragic condition is to prefer birds/animals over humans.

My pardelote experience was being inside a big shrub pruning when one flew in. We were eye to eye and both startled. How wonderful for B to have one in hand, however briefly.