Black and white birds have featured heavily in my recent posts, so it’s time for a bit of colour. Cue a pair of Crimson Rosellas (Platycercus elegans elegans).
The two of them flew overhead just as I joined up with a Willoughby Birders group for a morning walk in Explosives Reserve. An hour or so afterwards, we came upon them again, high up in a tree. The rosellas watched us for a few minutes before deciding we were harmless and could get on with their brunch. They flew past us to a lower and closer group of shrubs. Here’s the nearer one of the pair:
I recently mistook a peewee for a magpie, reminding me to be more careful about identifying pied (black and white) birds! Talking of which, when is a wagtail not a wagtail? Answer - when it’s a Willie Wagtail, which is a fantail and not a wagtail. But what happens when the Willie Wagtail you’re watching is not a fantail either? Well…
It all began when this Willie Wagtail kindly allowed me to take its picture:
I’ve previously written about the Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena) at Oyster Cove, and I returned there a few days ago. However this swallow looked a little unwelcoming as I walked past:
A couple of weeks ago, on a coastal walk, I saw a Nankeen Kestrel being swooped by what I thought at first was an Australian Magpie but turned out to be a Magpie-Lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) or Peewee. At the time, I put up a few photos, and these are more from that same walk.
I first noticed the kestrel in the distance over Coogee beach. It came closer and was almost overhead as it passed us.
A well-known piece of music, On hearing the first cuckoo of spring*, reflects the composer’s delight on hearing the European cuckoo announcing spring after the long northern winter. On my walk yesterday, I heard my first Channel-bill Cuckoo announcing the southern hemisphere spring. However, its hoarse “Waaaark” as it flew past didn’t quite produce the same delight.
Sunday 1st September was warm and cloudless, a perfect day for a walk. So perfect, in fact, that I went for two walks! The first, organised by Willoughby Birders, was in the Harold Reid Reserve, Middle Cove.* As we assembled in the car park, we birdwatchers were watched in turn by the usual hungry-eyed avian opportunists – namely kookaburras, currawongs, ravens and butcher birds. But the focus of our walk was on the smaller birds.
Small birds in tall trees and undergrowth are not easy subjects. The first bird I was able get a decent image of was this Eastern Yellow Robin:
On my first bird-walk after coming back from Noosa, I spotted a pair of eyes looking down at me from the roof of the Cammeraygal school in North Sydney. The eyes belonged to an Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis).
The spring is sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder where the birdie is?
Often at this time of year, the birdie is in some sort of conflict. In the past week I’ve seen two currawongs attacking a third one they had cornered in a neighbour’s garden, and a magpie angrily pursuing a raven. In neither case did I have a camera handy. However I was able to photograph a spat in the Noosa Spit Reserve, between a Little Wattlebird and a Blue-faced Honeyeater. It was a typical clash over feeding rights to a banksia tree between two members of the honeyeater family. This was an early moment:
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: