It’s a time of transition in tropical north Queensland as the season changes from wet season to dry season. Thala’s native forest is on the migratory route of bird life heading north and south.
Channel Billed Cuckoo
Migrating north to PNG and Indonesia, the Channel Billed Cuckoo is the largest species of cuckoos in Australia. Being a cuckoo, it lays its eggs in the nest of another (larger) bird, and being a large cuckoo. Channel Billed Cuckoos usually choose as foster parents Pied Currawongs, Australian Magpies, crows and ravens. Occasionally eggs are laid in the mud-nests of White-winged Choughs or Magpie-larks, and very occasionally in the nests of birds of prey.
Rainbow Bee Eater
The Rainbow Bee Eater is returning to Thala after spending the summer in southern states. A spectacular bird, Rainbow Bee Eaters have green, blue, chestnut and yellow plumage. It has a slim build, slender curved bill and distinctive streamers that extend from the end of its tail. Bee Eaters are a familiar sight in Thala’s forest. Keep an eye out for them on perches that give them a wide view – they’ll launch after flying insects, flying swiftly, sometimes with rapid twists and turns, before snapping the insect in its bill, and returning to the perch to eat it.
Pied Imperial Pigeons
The breeding season for Pied Imperial Pigeons is coming to end as the wet season ends in north Queensland. Pied Imperials are now on the move migrating north to Indonesia and PNG.
The Metallic Starling has brilliant red eyes, a long forked tail and green-glossed black plumage. They’re a very social bird and are easily spotted in the trees surrounding open-sided Osprey’s Restaurant. With their breeding season finished, they’re now migrating north to Indonesian and PNG.
Female Hercules Moth are the largest moth in the world and have a wingspan of up to 27cm across. Males are distinguished by their hindwings which stretch into long tails. At their rear end they have two large, false eyes which confuse potential attacker. The lifespan of Hercules Moths are short-lived. After they’ve emerged from their cocoon, they find a mate then die within a few days.
Their spectacular pale-blue caterpillars can grow to a length of 12 cm and feed on leaves of the Bleeding Heart tree, which is found in Thala’s forests. They’re active during the wet season and we’ve been seeing a lot of them recently.