My back deck is high amongst the paperbarks, and close to them. I had not expected to come so close to a tree climbing goanna, but for once it was not waddling across the grass below, where I see one almost daily.
So close, I could admire not only the intricacy of its patterns and colours, with that surprising blue tinge, but its face, its ear and eye. Even its claws had camouflage dots!
When I first spotted this one it seemed to be lolling on a branch, not gripping or climbing, but that soon changed.
It turned around rather awkwardly and began climbing down one branch…
… to head up another. Sometimes it went to the perilously thin ends of branches before turning. Searching for birds’ nests and eggs?
The birds were certainly alarmed, chattering and flying about.
As they were a little further away, in a tall eucalypt…
But that odd thick shape I could see there turned out to no threat. To my great delight it was one of my favourite birds, a Tawny Frogmouth.
And from the lingering fluffy feathers I think it may be still young… unless they are just my camera’s blur from using the zoom.
I am heartened to think there may be a family of them about and will keep an ear out for that distinctive repeated ‘oom’.
I didn’t hear those ‘ooms’, but later that very afternoon, nearing dusk, I saw that the ‘lump’ up there on that branch was bigger.
I could not get a very clear view but it was definitely an adult and two young Tawny Frogmouths. The young look much fluffier than my earlier sole bird, so was that the father, the apparent fluff just my camera, or the wind?
The father often cares for the fledglings, so perhaps my visitor was a father sussing out where to bring his young to rest, or just taking a break from childcare before the kids caught up with him.
All three were gone next day, but what a treat, however fleeting! My first Frogmouths in this new place…
When I moved into my last place (that was flooded), within weeks a Frogmouth had two chicks hatch in a nest in a she-oak in my yard and I could watch them growing and being raised. Such a privilege!