Ants, Beetles, Geckos, Mangos, Moon, Plants, Snakes, Stars, and Sunbirds

EDIT: Identified the snake as a ‘Krefft’s Crowned Snake’ (Cacophis krefftii). According to ‘Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland‘ (QLD Museum 2000 ISBN 0-7242-9349-3) They are mildly venomous, but are reluctant biters. I will see if it is conducive to being handled when I see it next. the snake is more likely the ‘Brown-Headed Snake’ (Furina tristis), a somewhat more dangerous snake than the aforementioned one. These ones get agitated easily, and according to QLD Museum, venom toxicity is unknown.

This is another random post.Possibly short on words, but again, lots of images. Some of the pics are so-so, some are ok. As always, click on the image for a full size view.

The first is a wood borer beetle. These guys chew holes in the side of tree trunks. They’re tough buggers, and you don’t want to get bitten by their pincers. If I recall, the body on this one was about 3 centimetres long.
wood_borer

Detail

Detail

another view

another view

We also have a lot of Geckos here. This one was eager for a big feed:

Gecko with a Moth

Gecko with a Moth

I have identified this snake now. It’s a Krefft’s Crowned Snake Brown Headed snake (Furina tristis). Snakes can be common this time of year as they move about looking for mates. This one came past the house one night. I am guessing a type of Brown snake, but not sure. Going by the head shape, it is probably poisonous, which is enough for me to show it healthy respect. Some of the top 5 deadliest snakes in the world live up this way. :

Body of snake

Body of snake

Brown snake

Brown Headed snake

Snake at night

Snake at night

Green Tree Ants are Australia’s only species of Carpenter ant. They build nests out of silk, and the leaves of trees, like this nest:

gtant01
gtant2

These ants are at the end of our bench, trying to drag a meat juice absorbent pad closer to their nest. The Green Tree ant loves protein and therefore blood, so I leave the empty meat trays at the end of the bench. I’ve seen one of these pads at the top of the post, some 1.5 metres above the meat tray. I’ll update this post if they get this one to the top:

Green Tree Ants Taking absorbent paper away.

Green Tree Ants Taking absorbent paper away.

Detail view of Ants moving absorbant meat pad

Detail view of Ants moving absorbant meat pad

antsmeat03

These ants are also edible. Their abdomen contain an acidic liquid that tastes like lemon or lime. Traditionally, nests are crushed and used to make a tea for those with the flu or a cold. The juice from the ants can also be rubbed on the skin to deter bugs and fight bacteria. I think it is also used to help new mothers who are having trouble breast feeding. Rubbing the juice on the breasts  assists in inducing milk flow.

Our Sunbird nest is once again occupied. This time, 2 babies have hatched. This is a few shots of the mother:

The female Sunbird

The female Sunbird

The Female Sunbird 02

The Female Sunbird 02

Sunbird in nest

Sunbird in nest

The male comes by when the female is out gathering food, and also feeds the babies. I am hoping to get a shot of him today. If I do, it will be just below here :).

Some of the less noticed parts of trees and vines grab my attention. This is a clump of seed pods an one of the smaller trees out the back. I haven’t identified it yet, so any comments are welcome.

Small seed pods

Small seed pods

This twisted shape is the shell of a leguminous (it’s kinda bean like) vine. The seed pods open and twist apart, then dry to look like this. Usually they fall on the ground, but this one got caught on a small branch and is hanging like a Christmas decoration.

A legume pod after it has opened, hanging from a branch

A legume pod after it has opened, hanging from a branch

We also have what I call a ‘Banana Mango’. The fruits on this tree are elongated, and ripen to a pale banana yellow. The pulp is stringless, and also pale yellow.  It has a distinct taste, unlike any mango I’ve tasted before.

Banana Mango tree

Banana Mango tree

Banana Mango Fruit

Banana Mango Fruit

Detail of banana Mango fruit

Detail of banana Mango fruit

Button vines grow wild up here:

Button Vine on tree

Button Vine on tree

We had a bit of a downpour here a few days ago. The Wet season is trying, but not really happening. I am wondering what the New Year will bring.

Rain 03

Rain 03

Rain 02

Rain 02

Rain 01

Rain 01

At night, the clouds have come through in patches, but nothing in the way of real rain. I caught the full moon, and a bit of a starscape (not a good one, just a bit arty) as well:

The Full Moon

The Full Moon

Starscape

Starscape

I got a bit of a surprise on the weekend. Back in late 2011, I was hitch hiking back from Rockhampton, and this bloke picked me up at the Etna Creek pads (truck pull off area), and drove me about 300km to the North side of Sarina. We had a good old yarn, and I said to him that if he was ever up my way to drop in. Well, that was 2 years ago, and I had moved since last we met, and my phone number had changed. Well, it so happened that he turned up in Cooktown at the end of last week. He was fishing at the Cooktown wharf at 3am, and he struck up a conversation with another bloke. The subject somehow got around to me and it turns out that the bloke he was talking to was a friend of mine. He got directions to Bloomfield and started hunting, and found me on Saturday arvo. I was dumbfounded! Well, we caught up on what we’d been doing. Liam has been all over, living as homeless world traveller, in cities and in the jungle and such. He is writing a book about his adventures, so I will not disclose anything here. Liam crashed for the night and headed off on his 250cc road bike down the Bloomfield Track. We have exchanged contact details and will stay in touch.

Liam

Liam

Finally, I don’t remember if I did, or did not show this in a previous post:

Evening at home:

Evening at home

Evening at home

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4 thoughts on “Ants, Beetles, Geckos, Mangos, Moon, Plants, Snakes, Stars, and Sunbirds

    • Hehehe. We have trees that bite here. The stinging tree, if you brush against it, releases super fine, glass like needles into your skin. They are immediately painful and can take hours for the pain to ease. The irritation is ongoing, and the effects can last up to six months.

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  1. I have met green tree ants up in the Kimberley. I was on a scientific expedition, exploring and mapping a remote area, and we had climbed up a steep hill, only to brush against the trees at the top. The ants waited until they got as far into our clothes as possible and then bit! Scrawny school kids, famous scientists, photographer recording for posterity…. We all got naked as fast as possible and took turns picking them off each other!

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    • Hehehe :). I have been caught by surprise before. Nowadays I am pretty used to the inevitability of having these buggers on me. They use the clothesline as a highway, and if we don’t meticulously clean the sink, they invade the place looking for protein.

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