OK, so we’re a little late for the start of 2014 but we have a bumper issue for you to get the year going, including a movie competition with plenty of double passes to give away.
Our cover photo this issue is Don Hany mano a mano (or perhaps, more aptly, ‘soul to soul’) with an eagle as part of his deeply moving role in the new Australian movie healing, which will be released into cinemas in May. We took a look at the movie and were so impressed we thought our readers would enjoy some insights into the making of the movie and the relationships between the birds of prey and the cast and crew of healing. In the article ‘healing: a must-see movie for all wildlife lovers’, we ask director Craig Monahan and actor Don Hany to give their thoughts on the film and their insights on working with these wonderful birds.
For our reptile lovers, this issue contains some fascinating articles, including ‘Where the dragons dwell’, in which Lyall Naylor looks at Australian dragons. In addition, Luke Allen tells us everything you ever wanted to know about toxinology and the power of poison!
Other articles include ‘A secret tropical wildlife sanctuary’ set in the Kimberley with Michelle Grady, ‘Trail cameras for wildlife monitoring’ by Alex Payne, Fairy martins with Lisa and Peter Nunn in ‘Secret sightings’, plus our regulars, Bernice and Mark Mahoney, strut their stuff in ‘Secret shutterbugs’, and Manfred Zabinskas relates another extraordinary encounter in ‘Secret rescue’.
Don’t forget to pass the magazine on to your wildlife friends once you’ve finished reading, to share the joy! If you’d like to stay abreast of Wildlife Secrets’ news, plus enjoy regular competitions for DVDs, tickets, books, toys and lots more, simply subscribe to our online newsletter by going to the home page of the web site (www.wildlifesecrets.com.au) and filling out your name and email address and submitting. ”
This month’s features
Where the dragons dwell …
They may not breathe fire and they are a little shy, but the dragons of Australia are nonetheless fascinating. They have captured the imagination of Lyall Naylor since he was a child and here he tells us all about them.
healing: a must-see movie for all wildlife lovers
There’s a wonderful movie soon to be released which stars Don Hany, Hugo Weaving and Xavier Samuel as well as
an unlikely bunch of actors: majestic birds of prey. These extraordinary birds are at the heart of this film, and we sat down and talked to director Craig Monahan about working with the raptors during shooting. We were also fortunate to have the opportunity to ask Don Hany what it was like to act alongside these scene stealers!
Trail cameras for wildlife monitoring
In the dark of night, or when we’re not looking, what do wildlife get up to? Trail cameras allow us an intimate insight into their secret lives, and Alex Payne explains how you can set up a camera to catch those special moments.
mother Nature’s chemist
The thought of snakebites sends shivers down most people’s spines, but their venom is much prized by researchers. Luke Allen milks snakes for a living, and he let us in on a few of the secrets behind the science.
This month’s regulars
secret places: a secret tropical wildlife sanctuary
Michelle Grady works for the Pew Charitable Trusts, an international conservation group that works with governments to safeguard natural assets. In Western Australia they have turned their attention to the wonderful Kimberley region, where no animals have become extinct since european settlement—an incredible achievement.
If you see a row of mud ‘bottles’ along a wall, chances are they are the nests of Fairy martins. Lisa and Peter Nunn have been watching their local ‘fairies’ jump into action when rain arrives, and are keen to make sure the birds feel at home in their area.
What! No … I don’t believe you. But it’s true. Manfred Zabinskas from Five Freedoms Animal rescue had an amazing encounter with something on high. you’ll have to read his article to find out what, and you may very well be as amazed as we were.
We don’t know how they do it, but Bernice and Mark O’Mahoney have been out and about capturing even more amazing wildlife with their camera. recently they tracked down an elusive Sacred Kingfisher, a shy Northern Brown Bandicoot, and a swift Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. The results are simply inspiring.
Wildlife accident awareness campaign for drivers in Australia.
Click here for full infographic.
Tips on reducing animal collisions.
This infographic was developed by Budget Direct.
The Cane Toad Muster Song
Kimberley Toad Busters
(see article – Cane Toads and Kimberley Toadbusters from Vol1 No6)
It was a great moment when Dana Lyons, famous American environmental singer, known for his internationally famous song “Cows with Guns” contacted Kimberley Toad Busters and offered to help in their campaign.
Dane Lyons heard of the incredible community efforts while I was still in the states and decided that what the Kimberley community was doing in their efforts to mitigate the cane toad impact on native biodiversity was truly amazing” He went on to add “I was very interested in understanding how and what the Kimberley Toad Busters were actually achieving as it sounded like what they were doing was more of a military exercise to the cane toad issue than the sort of environmental approach one usually see’s when dealing with environmental threats”.
Dana spent three weeks touring the Kimberley, visiting remote communities and towns, and discussing various environmental and social issues that seemed to be of great concern to the community in general and how some of these issues were affecting the Kimberley environment. Dana commented that “everywhere I went, no matter who I talked to, the energy and commitment to the need to do more to look after the Kimberley environment was the same. Burning and cane toads were some of the issues that most people seemed concerned about. What was very clear also, was peoples angry reaction to how government could have allowed the cane toad to get this far, and why they were not doing more to assist community to deal with the problem”.
Dana had no problems finding lyrics for his new song ‘Cane Toad Muster’ He went on to say that “one of the inspirations behind the lyrics was a comment by Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley President John Moulden, that the Kimberley was at war with the cane toads, and that if every man, woman and child was out there killing toads, then the toads would be wiped out”.
Dana’s final statement was “I had a lot of fun composing this song and I hope that I have captured the essence of the soul of Kimberley people and the results of the efforts the Kimberley Toad Busters have been trying to achieve, and that it helps them in their amazing efforts to fight the cane toad invasion across the Kimberley ”.
Contact Lee Scott-Virtue KTB President & Founder 08 91682576 or Dana Lyons 0497569469
In this issue we dive into the ocean depths. Every year those most enigmatic of animals, whales, traverse our oceans, often coming close enough to shore for us to view. Described as the ‘greatest wildlife show on earth’, the inevitable network of boats that races out to meet them is no longer doing so with harpoons, thankfully, but with cameras and binoculars! In this special we look at the top spots to see whales around the country.
Further afield, Tony Holland takes us on a classic African safari – to an exotic location where you will find a dramatic world of animals only seen in Australia in the zoo. In the wilds of Africa, in particular at the Maasai Mara reserve, the savagery and wonders of life are played out in our Secret Places special.
And back home Maggie Harriman tells us about the plight of a female Wedge-tailed Eagle that needed to be separated from her nest and brood due to a serious injury.
Get ready to scroll, pinch and zoom in on your favourite animals! Wildlife Secrets now brings all the news and features across the wildlife globe right to your computers, tablets and smart phones. This issue will be released digitally and our readers will soon be able to subscribe to the digital edition as well as the print edition. Our digital apps will be ready sometime in May and will allow people to download the current edition and past editions, as well as select from multiple subscription offerings. Stay tuned by following us on Facebook or the Wildlife Secrets Blog.
Our cover this month: Humpback whale breaches near Merimbula, NSW. Image: Wayne Reynolds
Frilled Dragons Come Alive in Darwin.
One of the most iconic animals of the Top End is not the crocodile but the Frilled Lizard or Frill-necked Lizard Chlamydosaurus kingii) – or just Frillies. If you have never seen one of these in the wild it is possibly for one of two reasons. The first is bad timing; if you go before November or after March they are scarce. Usually in the wet season, these guys are very abundant and visible on roads, trees and on the ground feeding. The second reason might be that to they are rather clever chaps and to the see them is difficult. As you are walking along the track or driving the road, the frillies are usually waist to shoulder height on trees. They watch out for predators well and as the predator comes they circle around the other side and only their spindly legs give them away. Their camouflage does the rest. So look for two knobby knees at the height they might even do a peek a boo act with their head to check where you are too! Watch the video. (continue reading…)
by simon on Sep.12, 2012, under Birds, Fauna, Information, Invertebrates, Location, Magazine, Mammals, Media, New South Wales, Queensland, Reptiles, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia
Spring brings the amazing wildlife more in contact with humans than any other time of the year. Help is available for many of our injured or nuisance wildlife.
Birds will be breeding, building nests rearing young, reptiles slithering about and marsupials active from dusk to dawn. So what are some of the key things to watch for this spring.
Bird nest – Tania Begg
Nest building animals, collecting hair, fibrous, leaves, twine are often collected and cause havoc for adults and often young birds caught around the nest. remeber to keep string, twine and fishing line in the bin not on the ground. Why? Adults and young birds often get entangled when they use it around the nest. When parent birds are building the nest keep a low profile try to avoid the arae of that tree and keep all domestic animals from being a threat especially that fat cat!
- Tawny Frogmouth fledgling – Tania Begg
With all the strong winds several eastern states have had already. Many reports of nestlings and baby birds are flooding in. Mortality is high as nests have been blown out of their trees or shrubs.
In late spring beware the fledglings, often seen on the ground rather adult looking, I describe them as like human teenagers adult like but without their drivers license or in the birds case a flight license. Adults will feed them on the ground in many cases e.g. Magpies, Noisy Miners,
Magpie breeding season is well under way. Swooping magpies seem to be in every town. Usually associated with nests in high traffic areas, typically the more harassed or in conflict the more intense the swooping.
The other swooping bird the Plover will be seen swooping people. They nest in yards with long grass or around roundabouts, park lands and within water ways. The hatchlings are remarkable once free of the egg, will quickly be able to walk and follow the parents to a new feeding site. They remain close to the parents for several weeks.
The very important facet to understand is to limit the aggression by avoiding conflict. Magpies in particular get more prone to swooping if there is regular conflict daily. Some magpies will actually target a type or size of person that travels near rhe nest if there has been a direct confrontation in the past e..g. Adult men who have kidnap a fledgling in the past. That magpie then targets men while less hostile toward women. Swooping birds can often be more apparent when there is a fledgling bird on the ground. Often fledgling birds are fine t be left alone in the care of the adults. See volume 1 no 2 Australian Wildlife Secrets “Don’t be a birdnapper”.
The warm weather stimulates the inerterbrates including the massive armies of the ants. Warm weather is also a precursor for the Echidna to begin his wide searching of ants. Wandering widely often get bailed up by dogs or can be seen in yards wandering around. Trick is to leave them alone let them wander and leave on their own even in dense suburbia yes.
Kangaroos and less so wallabies will inevitably graze along roadsides at dusk. Drive safely and sow down around grazing roo’s. Pouch checks of dead macropods, are critical for the joeys at this time of the year. Report all dead roos to your wildlife groups. most dead inspected/pouch checked macropods will have a marking like an X spray painted on them.
Possums and gliders, its time for large amounts of babies or joeys more accurately. Ringtail possums can carry up to 3 joeys usually 2 on average and are very prone to losing one or two through misadventure. Brush tailed possums usually carry one sometimes two joeys. This leads to a large amount of joeys being reported from the ground. Predators like cats and dogs are also a major problem during spring. Orphans are rescued by most wildlife groups and always ring your hotline when a joey is found on the ground during the day or signs of injury.
Spring is a time to slough the skin, for boys to chase the ladies for kilometers, feed as much to replenish lost fat stores from winter dormancy. Snakes can be sluggish in spring on mild sunny days, snakes are often slow to move away and confrontations may occur. Be alert while hiking, working along bush lands or in gardens. Always get professional help to deal with regular snake appearances otherwise develop a tolerance and safety plan for a snake visit.
Found basking in yards or around parks and large native gardens are very common in spring. The enormous amount of lizards that emerge in spring, basking along fences, roads and moving in search of mates. Care is needed when mowing especially as the lizards may be sluggish in the first few weeks. Wandering monitors are more likely when weather is over 30 degrees. Watch out for basking lizards on roads.
If good rains continue we will see an emerging bonanza of frogs this year, calling incessantly often driving some people to lose sleep! This can be remedy by playing your favorite music softly to offset the frog chorus. However the frogs after many years of drought and poor breeding while resurge, tadpoles will appear in many dams, ponds and roadside ditches. Please remember not to move tadpoles or frogs from one location to another. As this can cause disease to be spread from one region to another, cause imbalance and reintroduction of cane toads.
Yearlings are often reported in seal prone areas of bays, coastlines and estuaries. Often around piers where often fisherman feed them scarps or they feed on discarded off cuts. Tired New Zealand fur seals, leopard seal and Sub Antarctic seals can rest along the coastlines. While distressed public feel sorry for them it usually is only a wait and see approach before they wander back.
The warmer months also means more microbat activity. These winged wonders are silently racing through the night grabbing millions of insects. It may occur that colonies roost in your roof space. The high pitch squeaks may be heard by those with very good hearing. Not to be confused with the rats or possum that are very noisy to pretty much all.
Contact your state body conservation department or local wildlife shelter or rescue group for assistance and advice.