ON THE ROAD — By the time I left the shady home of the Western Bower Birds at the Olive Pink Botanical Gardens the sun was high and the temperature climbing towards 40 degrees centigrade. Nevertheless Jan and I took the stone steps leading up to the top of Annie Myers Hill, at the back of the gardens. Near the top I disturbed a Euro (Macropus robustus) who hopped away only a short distance before deciding sensibly it was best to just rest in what shade was on offer. The gorgeous doe dozed quietly and then a little head popped out of the pouch for a look around. After a short inspection of the surroundings the big joey went back into the pouch to continue napping in cozy comfort.

I recently posted some pictures of Orange Footed Scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt) scratching around our backyard and on their huge nest mound in a small park next door. A couple of days ago I caught fleeting glimpses of a young scrub fowl, recently emerged from the mound. Wisely they are born with a reflex to flee and fly whenever disturbed. Twice I saw it and twice it disappeared with a clatter of wings. But today Jan went down to the old chook house (Australian for chicken run) that has been empty and overgrown with vines for some years and found this little scrub fowl had found the door open and wandered in. I came and grabbed a couple of quick pics from some distance and got out before he/she got into a panic. The female lays a single egg that is about 20% of her bodyweight in a hole about 45cm deep. Some 50-80 days later the heat from decomposing vegetation has completed the incubation process and the youngster is ready for action. When the chick is ready to hatch it breaks open the egg with its strong feet. It rests in the small cavity in the ground for a day or two and then tunnels its way upward. When it emerges it immediately takes flight. It gets no parental guidance or assistance from mum or dad, who have invested all their energies in working on the mound and the large egg. The mother bird will be busy getting ready to lay another egg, which happens right through the year at intervals of 9-20 days.