July 2, 2010
Breakfast at Cassowary House is always an exceptional affair. Where else can you watch, Cassowary , Victoria's Riflebird and Musky Rat Kangaroos whilst you have breakfast!! Other highlights of our stay included Red-necked Crake (these are present most evenings) and Sooty Owl .
There are a number of rooms at Cassowary House but we stopped at the cottage, which the Moorheads affectionally call 'the Tardis' on account of it having telephone box doors. One morning, we had to close the door as 'Missy', the resident female Cassowary , decided to come and have a look inside. She's very inquisitive and has been at Cassowary House since she was a chick, so she's very comfortable around people. This is not always the case with her mate. He was on eggs while we were there (male Cassowaries do all the parenting) but when he returns with chicks, he becomes very protective.
It's an amazing opportunity to look very closely at these remarkable prehistoric-looking birds. Their inner claws have virtually no toe - just a 3 inch long ice-pick-like claw. No wonder most people have learnt to give these birds a wide berth. They've managed to survive in the forest with people for thousands of years. But despite their reputation for aggression, their sluggish behaviour and slow, deliberate movements, has made them prone to collision with the cars that career up the local dirt roads. They are now faced with extinction.
Cassowary eyes look straight forward and there's the hint of myopia - maybe it helps to be short-sighted to find fruits on the forest floor? It was quite never-wracking to be sat on a seat under the verandah when Missy took a few steps forward for a closer look at what I was doing.
In truth, you're not likely to ever get attacked by a Cassowary unless you do something silly. As Sue Gregory explains, when the male's around with the chicks, she may impose a curfew on the guests. After all, he's lived here a lot longer and with 70-100 forest tree species depending on him for seed germination and dispersal, it's important that he sticks around.
Cassowary House is an amazing place to stay and no visit to the Cairns Region would be complete without staying there. The wildlife is amazing and there's lots to do - because it's only 30 minutes drive from Cairns, it's even a much better alternative to staying in the city. Wildlife aside, Sue's breakfasts are also something to be experienced. There'll be more food than you can eat and, the chances are, at least one fruit on the platter you haven't heard of before.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE .
Looking across the river, there is a large fallen tree and to the left of that, an area of bare open ground with short vegetation. It was on here that the Freshwater Crocodile was hauled out of the river. There were also turtles on the adjacent logs.
After about 10 minutes at the location, a Black Bittern flushed from the reeds practically beneath our feet. Read more.