Randy reptiles, courting koels, and other spring things

posted in: Uncategorised 6

Some say seasonal transitions in the subtropics are subtle. By that, I guess they mean that we don’t get snow and ice in winter. But spring in south east Queensland is far from subtle. It’s a riot of bright flowers, rampant garden growth, noisy birdsong and frisky creatures of all shapes and sizes. Hard to miss, and joyous to behold. I’ve been penned behind my desk for much of the last few weeks, drawing and designing Bimblebox Wonderland. But I managed a few brief forays into the wild (including our slightly unruly backyard). This post is a selection of spring things that caught my eye.

Many birds are nesting now: lorikeets squabbling over hollows; wood ducks high up on roofs, peering down chimneys; pardalotes popping out of holes in banks. Some of the most beautiful nests surely are the pendulous variety, made by certain rainforest birds. I found this one in the D’aguilar National Park, attended by mum and dad yellow-throated scrubwren. It was suspended from a bolwarra tree, above a tranquil pool. Looking a bit like flood debris, caught high up in the overhanging tree.

YT scrubwren nest full
Yellow-throated scrubwren nest.


Apparently, golden-tipped bats use these nests as homes too. I’m not sure if they wait for the birds to move out, or if they all cosy up together.

On another walk in D’aguilar National Park I chanced upon a pair of lace monitors writhing in the middle of the track. They were mating in the spring sunshine, quite unperturbed by me, and were taking their time. I was a bit concerned about the female’s welfare, given the size difference. But eventually they went their separate ways and she didn’t seem (too) squashed.

mating monitors 1

mating monitors 2
Lace monitors mating, along the Manorina Track, D’aguilar National Park.

A few days after this, I was working at my desk and heard a sound a bit like an old man coughing. ‘Hack hack hack’. Looking out my upstairs window I found a pair of koels on the branching, fruit-bearing structure of a piccabeen palm. These birds are large cuckoos, and usually keep out of sight, especially the female. I hadn’t heard them call in this way before. But their more usual, loud contact calls are one of the exotic hallmarks of spring. “Koel, koel!” with a rising inflection, – sort of ‘Ooooo – wahh!” – which makes me feel I’m in a Tarzan movie. The male was plucking the bright red palm fruits – exactly like the bright red of his eyes – and feeding them to the female. I didn’t have my camera handy, so did a little ‘nature journal‘ sketch instead.

Courting koels
Courting koels, eating palm fruits.

Spring in Brisbane means plenty of bright flowers, including the astonishingly beautiful jacarandas and flame trees that are scattered through the streets and parks. Here’s a little scattering of flame tree flowers plus another species of Brachychiton that flowers around now.

brachy flowers
Brachychiton flowers.

There’s also the excitement of watching tasty treats growing in the garden. Like this baby avocado (just emerging from the spent flower, and a little bigger than a matchhead) and these macadamias.

baby avo
Avocado forming – a little bigger than a matchhead at this stage.
baby macca
Macadamia nuts forming.

And then there’s the trepidation of self-publishing your first book. Certainly exciting, in a sort of edge-of-your seat way. A bit like something coming to fruition. Bimblebox Wonderland is at the printers now, and should be on sale late next week. My next post will announce the launch of the Bimblebox Wonderland, and also the opening of my new online shop, here on Paperbark Writer.

Thanks for reading! I hope you are enjoying many springtime (or maybe autumn) sights and sounds wherever you are.

6 Responses

  1. Frank Box

    A delightful post, beautiful photos and sketch. Well done.

    • Paula Peeters

      Hey thanks Frank, glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Gail Rehbein

    Very enjoyable to see Spring through your eyes Paula. I agree, there’s an abundance of change to see. Thanks for sharing it and good luck with the launch! It’s very exciting.

    • Paula Peeters

      Thanks Gail. Hasn’t it been a wet spring this year? Seems to add to the fervor of the breeding activities and plant growth. And a stark contrast to the drought conditions in other parts of the country. Yes the launch is exciting, I hope that many people enjoy the colouring the pictures as much as I enjoyed drawing them. 🙂

  3. Jane

    Hi Paula,
    Spring has been a little slow to arrive in my backyard but in the last week it’s really come alive. I am lucky enough to live in a street of Jacarandas and my yard has flowering silky oaks and other natives right now. The lorikeets are going crazy during the day and the flying foxes are feasting at night. The air is filled with a honey scent. This rain has been fantastic for the garden. I’m feeling very buzzed by it all at the moment too.
    Thanks for another lovely post, Paula. Best wishes for the book launch! Very exciting! Congrats. 🙂

    • Paula Peeters

      Hi Jane, thanks for sharing impressions of your lush nectar- and creature- filled surroundings right now. And for your good wishes. Cheers, Paula