The main street of Noosa Heads, Hastings Street, is lined with restaurants, chic boutiques and a surf club. Few people walking along would have noticed a head-high branch in a little tree where two Willie Wagtails were putting the finishing touches to their nest.
This morning I walked to Badangi Reserve. As I walked along one of the paths, an Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) flew off before stopping to check me out from a safe distance:
A couple of concealed birds were calling from a thickly-leaved tree. I was walking slowly towards them, when I suddenly realised that my stalking was about to disturb some quieter birds on the ground below. They were a small group of Red-rumped Parrots (Psephotus haematonotus), feeding on the fallen fruit under the tree.
In one of my Tonga posts last year I included a photo of a Manta Ray. In the light of recent publicity about a manta dubbed “Freckles” on Ningaloo reef, I thought it might be a good time to show some more. One disclaimer; I didn’t take any of these manta photos. Vili Takau took them for me using my camera, for reasons I’ll explain later.
Vili’s first photo sets the scene.
Spotted Pardalotes (Pardalotus punctatus) or Diamond Birds are about the size of the Eurasian Wren I described earlier, but whereas the wren is plain brown, pert-tailed and sharp beaked, the pardalote has showy patterning, an almost invisible tail and a rounded beak. The wren sings well too, while the pardalote gives a frequent monotonous 2 or 3 note call (they are also called Headache Birds!) The wren builds a neat little tree-nest whilst the pardalote digs a burrow.
Or maybe that last isn’t absolutely true. After seeing what looked like a mobile jewel case fly down to a hollowed and burnt tree, I went nearer to investigate:
I had originally put these photos aside, thinking they weren’t quite close or sharp enough. However I changed my mind this week, when I received an email from BirdLife Australia nominating the Black-shouldered Kite as their bird of the month.
My photos were taken last month when I went with a couple of friends to Cape Solander. Walking south from the lookout, I saw a white bird in the distance inland that didn’t look like a gull. I took a few photos in the hope that there might be enough detail to identify the bird later.
I haven’t yet planted out this year’s strawberry runners—I still have to prepare the bed!—but strawberry flowers can be dangerous places for small creatures. My recent post about Lacewings included a photo of a larva laden with trophies of past victims searching a strawberry flower for its next meal.
I saw this little bee fly checking out another strawberry flower for lurking predators.
“Plenty of pollen, looks safe… I’ll go closer”
I recently saw another Powerful Owl, this time in Centennial Park, and the contrast with the one I saw last year was interesting. While the first owl was in peaceful woodland and quite relaxed, this one was in a park with a lot going on, and was perceptibly more alert and watchful. First, it kept looking towards the café where people were having coffee:
I have mixed feelings about Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua gelerita). I rarely photograph them because they’re so common, not only in the wild, but also as pets and in zoos. Around Sydney they’re as ubiquitous as rats, noisy as buzz-saws, and destructive as borers. However, they are also intelligent, lively and entertaining, and can be attractive in their quieter moments. Such was the pair I saw recently in Lane Cove River National Park.
My last post began with the friarbird catching something that looked like an adult lacewing. This reminded me that I had some earlier photos of lacewings (Chrysopidae), such as this one of a typical adult green lacewing.