Friday, January 15, 2010

Junior Cassowary steps out with dad

Junior steps out in lock step with big daddy Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) today near Wallaman Falls, west of Ingham. Males do all the upbringing, usually of three juveniles. More sometimes, by theft of other young. After laying several huge green eggs, the bigger - and bossier - females evidently feel they've done more than enough in the short relationship.

Found the pair of birds at edge of ridge road about 8km before the falls. Missed pictures as I braked car. Both vanished into the thick rainforest, but I found a pile of fresh poo a 'wee' way up the road. Stuck around to do some seed counting (some trees depend on passage through the Cassowary): more than 150 seeds ranging in size between little fingernail and two thumb nails. Reward for effort was reappearance of birds long enough for shaky shots.

And here's a Tony-the-tourist picture of Australia's mightiest one-drop falls, with all-important rainbow colours at base of plunge pool. Picture doesn't show bodies of the many horse flies killed while taking a handful of shots. Also lacks X marks spot for loony BASE jumpers. Somewhere under the rainbow - if they get it wrong. And they have done.     


mick said...

Fantastic photos of the Cassowaries. How lucky to see them the second time and get photos too. I like the "tourist" photo too. One question - did you have to climb up to get that view or do you have to climb down to the pool at the base?

Gouldiae said...

G'day Tony,
Sounds like a great excursion. Lovely looking spot too. I now have a a beaut mental image of you examining Cassowary excreta on the side of the road!

Mark Young said...

Congrats on seeing the Cassowary, and together with a chick! I wish i couldn've seen that as well.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony
Lovely image of the "Long Drop".
Talking of such things, shame you didn't photograph the Cassowary Poo top complete the "Double Long Drop" set!
Seriously, I have been known to collect and grow seeds from Currawong Pellets (not so slushy as poo, admittedly) to check their seed dispersal success.
75% weed seeds, in that case.
Any activity is valid in the search for scientific truth.
Big toes on that Cassowary!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,
I too have been fortunate to see Cassowary at Wallaman Falls.In my case it had 3 chicks.
Great shots of the chick in step with dad.
The seeds passing through the cassowary as a means to germination is a complete fallacy. The bird is a transportation nothing more. But it is enough.
At the Daintree Cassowary Care Nursery we have germinated all the species that are consumed by Cassowary without the use of the bird.
Regards Allen

TonyC said...

Hi Tony, Great shots of a fantastic bird.

Tyto Tony said...

Mick: Long climb down. Pic is from one of two viewing platforms.

Gouldiae: Using a stick: don't want poo on lens.

Mark: Male well known in area seen, much luck always needed. Plus willingness to spend hours wandering around.

Denis: Though afterwards that poo pic would have completed story. Too late by then. I'd dispersed the seeds into broken ground alongside road.

Allen: Thanks for info. I did think though that part of story was distance of dispersal, along with viability of seed.

Thanks, Tony.

Russell Constable said...

Nice photo... a wild cassowary is always a bonus! You are still taking nice shots Tony and it's always a joy checking out what's new on your blog.

Rae said...

Hi Mick
Very short walk to the top lookout then long walk to the bottom if you want to. Great walk but takes a bit of effort.

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