A couple of weeks ago, on a coastal walk, I saw a Nankeen Kestrel being swooped by an Australian Magpie. 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:
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: