Tag Archives: Bellbowrie

Kaz is a Father – Wildlife Stories

Baby lorikeet tries to balance himself on the umbrella tree fruit.

Kaz, our pet lorikeet is a father, and he has been for about a month. I only just found out a week ago. I guess I am a grandmother again, having already had several ducklings being born to ducks my sons and I have raised in Bellbowrie, Queensland.

Weeks before the baby was born, Kaz the lorikeet came for chats in the Umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla) while I was hanging the washing. He normally visited us on the verandah where he grew up, at the front of the house. I thought at the clothesline was an odd place for him to be. A three metre drop just under where he sat was a typical place for snakes, and even the snake catcher reminded me a few times. “Dry leaves under shady dry quiet place with both sunny and dark nooks – a snake haven” he said with a grin. I suppose one day, I would cut everything down, but I didn’t have the heart to  damage the place. Both the pythons and brown snakes were removed by snake catchers from this spot and taken to the park. Currently, a baby green tree snake lives there – he is only 50cm long and suns itself on the back verandah often.

Near the umbrella tree where rainbow lorikeets gathered, Kaz would fly low onto the mango tree branches and tell me long-winded tales while I hung the washing or tended to my garden. I wished I understood him. The changes in the pitch and his excitement showed there was some important things happening in his life, but all I could do was respond in whistles, PNG pidgin and make my own sounds so he knew I was listening. He always responded cheerfully. Often he would hop onto the clothesline for a few minutes before he flew away.

Kaz in his element, as he watches over his family.

One day, two weeks ago I heard a baby bird cry and a soothing motherly response just above the clothes line. I heard these cries start a month ago. It was louder and closer. It sounded like a baby parrot in the umbrella tree, but I could not see it. The giant leaves hid the birds. I also did not know what type of parrot it was, but I suspected a rainbow lorikeet because these birds loved the spiky flower of the umbrella tree which turns into fruit.

A week went by and I noticed my feathered son Kaz coming out of the same tree. He usually slept in the palm and the gum trees in front of the house.  At the house, he came alone and stayed longer than five minutes which was his usual visiting time. He also chased baby parrot Boz out of its cage and ate the crumbs. Katz often stayed in the cage for a while longer. He was unaccompanied. His female partner was nowhere to be seen. Since he had left home, Kaz always flew with her. I wondered if she ditched him which wouldn’t have surprised me because Kaz could get rowdy and demanding at times. Last week, he flew down to me when I arrived home and flew straight back into the umbrella tree and made so much noise. He called loudly and whistled. I followed him and could hear the baby bird as well.

Mother and baby take a moment under the leaves of the umbrella tree.

Under the clothesline I listened. I saw Kaz on the branch, his partner and a baby bird. I was so surprised, but my thoughts went back to how little he was and how he just fitted in my hand when he first came to us. Kaz could not stop talking and shouting. I stared at him realising I had become a grandmother. That was what all the clothesline storytelling was about a week ago. At that moment, my excitement and sense of pride felt like I could easily fly up to the umbrella tree. I could not tell anyone about Kaz’s news as I was alone. I felt strangely moved and wanted to hug Kaz and tell him I was proud. But he is the wild thing he is supposed to be, and I just hope he can see how happy I am for him.

Over the week, I watched Kaz’s family and how attentive the parents were; keeping their little one safely in the large leaves of the umbrella tree. They protected the baby from crows, kookaburra and other large birds. Kaz visited the house daily to bring ‘take-aways’ of honey, bread, fruit and seeds back to the nest.

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First family outing.

Today, almost a month after I heard that baby bird, a rare moment presented itself when the whole family flew to another umbrella tree 20 metres away. It happened while I was walking in the back. I quickly ran back into the house to fetch my camera. The lighting was terrible and the shots were fleeting, but I am happy to share some rare images of my feathered family. Life can give you joy in the most interesting ways.



Woman Bites Dog? Was that what she thought?

I placed my foot cautiously as I walked down Lather Rd and then to Birkin Street. Birkin three years ago was completely under water when Bellbowrie and most of Queensland flooded. Out on my regular walks, I passed a house three kilometres from where I lived. It was getting late and the day slipped by gently. I did not want to trip.

Children were in the park and packing up to go home; people arrived home from work and the nearby shopping centre was busy. I could hear someone in the shower singing. A black cat meowed and ran into the back of a house. It must have been frightened.

Next, a young couple walked towards me and I heard him. “The Job is guaranteed and I know that I will get it”. She looked at him and smiled. She did not look so sure. The young man kept boasting and the young woman smiled and held his hand. I tried not to think about what kind of relationship they had. I needed to keep my pace steady to keep my heart rate up.

I walked on the grey dirty concrete footpath passed three more houses. They were all brick and tile with dark colours. No light. The gardens outside were ordinary. Most were rental properties. The houses signalled, the owners were not home yet. It was almost 6pm.

I took Birkin because it did not have too many dogs. If I went up Lather, I would get barked at all the way to the three kilometre end and back.

One two-level designed opened-planned and a duplex came into my view and I could hear people shouting on the crickets field opposite to me. I looked over and they cheered as someone ran up with the bat. The flood lights were on and the field looked as bright as day. In contrast the free wide open field looked beautiful.

The next house was dark but the following house which was ten meters ahead of me was surrounded by tall trees and thick brush. A grey station wagon car parked in front of the driveway with its lights still on. I could hear the car engine running. There was another white car parked in front of it. As I came up to cross the driveway, I changed my direction and walked away from the car onto the main road. In that instant I heard female voices,  the house door opened and I heard a dog bark and run out of the door towards me.

“Troy! Troy!, a woman was desperately calling and running behind the dog.

TROY! TROY! she called. When the woman could not stop the dog anymore she changed to : “Don’t touch him! Don’t touch him!” as she yelled at me and ran behind the dog towards me.

I froze. Having been bitten twice by dogs as a child I had been permanently scared physically and emotionally. The yelling kept going and I was totally confused by what this woman meant. I kept still while my head and eyes followed the dog as it missed my legs. I starred at the raging dog as it barked and circled me like a hungry little beast.

“Do not touch him,” she yelled at me.

I could not help but wonder who was more afraid – the dog, the woman or me?

I guess it was me.

Living in the Wild West

Our Suburb is Bellbowrie. It is one of several in western Brisbane, Queensland (Australia). Most people here are very friendly and the atmosphere is like a village. We have lived here for three years and seven in Chapel Hill (also in the west) so I am comfortable to speak about the western suburbs. The council offers daily, free buses for the students travelling out from here

With large open spaces and beautiful landscape, just near the river, this part of the west is regarded as one of the richer parts of Brisbane. House prices range from $AUD400,000 upwards. In parts, prices are as high as $2-3 Million. Our house is a fifty-year-old termite ridden renovator with some land I grow vegetables and my sons raise their chickens for eggs. Our neighbours have horses. The area is beautiful and full of wild-life. You can understand why the early settlers came here and eventually made it a pineapple farmland.

Over a year ago a body of a beautiful woman was found at Kholo creek three minutes drive from where we live. This was a very quiet place. The spot was between Mt Crosby and Anstead. In these two suburbs, families live in acreage properties, some farming and these two edge onto Bellbowrie. The discovery of this woman was shocking to all surrounding communities.

As it turned out, the story unfolded very slowly and pieces came together as police worked through the case. From the original story that hit the media; a mother of three daughters going out jogging and not coming home (according to her husband) to the wife being murdered by the husband himself. It has been a year but slowly the pieces have come together. The family lived in Brookfield which is about five minutes from us. The husband has been charged with murder.

Last night my 15-year-old son rung me from Canberra while on a school trip. He told me yesterday  police were canvassing another suburb next to us, Pullenvale. It was an interesting piece of information. I had thought it may have been some drug related search. But, as it came on the news channel tonight, police had made a discovery of large quantities of chemicals they suspect were for bomb-making.

It turned out, the house owners were away in Italy and had rented their house to someone who police now suspect was trying to make bombs.

The suspect had been arrested in another incident in Sydney, NSW and traced back to this rental house on Cedar Rd, Pullenvale.

Today police were unable to move the large quantities of chemicals due which were declared unsafe. To ensure the safety of the nearby residents, Instead, most of the explosives were blown up after police secured the area.

It just goes to show that anything can happen anywhere and people can never be what you think they are. We always have to trust our gut and our instincts but in the end, if anything is going to happen, it will happen. Isn’t that a scary thought?

Links to the news stories;



Nature – Feeling The Heat

DSCN1430        Lorikeets in the Gym          Joycelin Leahy Pictures 363                                 

A few days ago, the temperature in Brisbane was a blistering 44 degrees.  Our average is about 27 degrees but summer averages are about 35.

Seeing my sons had gone down south to see their father, and boyfriend gone to Papua New Guinea, I was on my own with our pet lorikeets, Kaz and Nisha and in the backyard were our six chickens and a rooster.

We have a tin roof so imagine how hot the house was. Fortunately the house is two stories and brick in lower level kept the bottom half of the house cool. I moved quickly downstairs with the lorikeets. Not one to watch TV and being in the middle of the morning, I switched the TV on to see what was happening around Brisbane and Queensland with the very high temperature. I was also concerned about bushfire.

Within hours that morning, the heat was cruel. The ever so proud looking greenery and tropical plants and flowers in our surroundings slowly weakened and started browning and shrivelling right before my eyes. I made sure the chickens had a lot of water and the lorikeets and I settled into the cool comfort of downstairs and before I knew it, I felt drowsy and then had fallen asleep. The heat had taken its toll.

It must have been at least an hour before I heard loud shrieking and flapping of wings and woke up to the two piercing bird cries. I had thought the two lorikeets were fighting initially. Then I left the couch and moved to the window and there was the head of a metre long green tree snake trying to squeeze through the closed door.  It must have been desperate to get off the burning concrete floor it was on. Its long green back and yellow belly slithered very quickly as it glided over the glass door and falling off at all attempt. I felt sad but afraid at the same time. They were harmless, but what about the birds? There was a small gap which only the snake’s head could fit. It tried a few times to enter. I guess in this heat, all living things feel the temperature.

Quickly and out of my sleep, I jumped up and down and made a lot of banging noise against the glass door, my turn as by this time, the lorikeets were quiet and starring at me. The snake turned and quickly slithered away. I praised the two birds and returned to the couch and drifted off again. Half an hour later, the same thing happened. The snake had come back. This time, I closed the gap with tape and went outside and with a stick, chased the snake into the bush. I was running as the ground and grass was so hot, it burnt my feet. The interesting thing about the situation was, while I was outside; I spotted another scale-breasted male lorikeet bopping up and down in our swimming pool, almost on its last breath.

I ran across the yard to the pool and gave the drowning bird a stick to climb on. Not far from him were six dead ducklings floating in a small group in the pool. I felt sad. By the look on the lorikeet’s face, the wild bird seemed so relieved and did not make a single sound. I took him with me downstairs and fed him some food and water. Within minutes, the new bird met and became acquainted with Kaz and Nisha (our two lorikeets) and we stayed in the cool room for nearly three hours. The three lorikeets shared the food and water. With its beak, Kaz tried to comb and groom the new lorikeet’s feathers but he did not like that. Nisha being the scale breasted lorikeet and still a baby was excited and became very chirpy with the ‘visitor’. By the end of the day, the ‘visitor’ started getting restless so I opened the taped door and the “visitor” flew away. I re-taped the door and went outside to inspect the sun’s damage and bury the ducklings.

Pictured above Kaz and Nisha and later with the “Visitor”. A similar Green Tree snake tried to get into my art gallery last year and when I disturbed it, it tried to hide in the bricks. As in the Google Image photo, they are very common in our area, Bellbowrie, Western Suburbs and Queensland.