Sunday, February 12, 2017

Wildlife in the Queensland Heat Wave Feb 2017

12 February 2017

Temperatures soared in mid February during a terrible heatwave in Eastern Australia.  Where we live on the Darling Downs, South-East Queensland, temperatures reached 46 degrees Celsius in the shade!!  During this time we were kept busy ensuring that all local wildlife at Jarowair had access to water.  The bore-pump was busy for days, with sprinklers going in gardens, troughs and waterholes being filled daily with water and we also placed more containers of water around the property for wildlife.

Koala with a wet face, from having a drink from the water container we placed at the base of his tree during the heat wave. He watched us from up high and came down as soon as we walked away to have a long drink of cool water.

Three koalas were witnessed on our property during this weekend, all looking terribly hot and panting in the trees, trying desperately to escape the heat.  We made a decision to put a container of water under each tree that had a koala in it.  One particular tree, we placed the container of water down at the base of the tree and went back to the house to get others to set up at the other two trees - within the time we returned, the koala from the first tree had already climbed down and was lapping the water up from the container at the base of the tree!  We watched from a distance and it proceeded to sit their and have a good drink before it scampered off to some thicker trees close by that were a little shadier.

Another panting koala during the heatwave - a container of cool water was placed at the base of his tree also.

Joeys were steaming in their mothers pouches and the mothers were all congregating around the water holes - the joeys were trying to stretch the pouch open so they could get cool.

This large Eastern Grey Kangaroo Joey was trying to get some cool breeze by stretching out the pouch awkwardly, while his mum rested at "Wallaby Waterhole" at Jarowair during the heatwave.  You can see how stressed mum is as her whole arms are wet from licking them - a method macropods use to cool down when stressed.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos during the heatwave at Jarowair, February 2017
Red-necked Wallaby with wet arms during the heat wave.  Macropods lick their arms to cool and calm down when stressed.

Birds were painting and the tiny waterhole down the back - was busy with many variety of birds coming down for a drink.  We were expecting to see a python waiting at the waterhole for an easy meal with so many birds coming - but I guess they too were staying out of the sun.  There were a tremendous variety of birds coming for a drink including three juvenile Olive-backed Orioles, Brown-headed Honeyeaters, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters to name a few.

Olive-backed Oriole with its' beak open and wings out- trying to cool down near the waterhole at Jarowair during the Febuary 2017 heatwave.

Australian Magpies with beaks open trying to cool down in the heatwave

Laughing Kookaburra with beak open - resting above the waterhole trying to cool down during the Febuary 2017 heatwave.

Noisy Miner - trying to cool down during the  heatwave

Nosiy Miner coming for a drink during the heatwave.

A wild Brushtailed possum in one of the nesting boxes at Jarowair - was unusually hanging out of the entrance hole trying to get cool during the middle of the day during the heatwave.  Brushtailed Possums are nocturnal - so normally you wouldn't see them peaking out from their safe hiding spots in the day time - but I guess the box was getting pretty steamy in the high temps.

The temperatures continued for many days and we kept up the routine of ensuring waterholes, troughs, birdbaths and containers were full of water, as well as putting on the sprinklers in a variety of gardens to cool down some of the local birds.

The heat-wave certainly took it's toll and we lost a few shrubs that were almost at fully grown size.

Anyone can help wildlife during a heatwave such as this, by putting out water for wildlife.  Deep dishes should have  a branch in them so lizards and small birds do not drown.

J & B

Lastly a Lace Monitor was out and about - stealing eggs from the chook pen during the heatwave - he seemed to be tolerating it much better than other animals.

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