On Friday, I went for what I thought would be a quick walk. As it happened there was quite a lot of wildlife, all too busy watching other wildlife to pay me much attention. Fortunately, I had taken my camera along "just in case".
The wildlife interactions began pleasantly, with this Grey Butcherbird feeding a juvenile too lazy to pick up food for itself:
I heard recently about a place where there were Carpenter bees, and another spot where there was an osprey’s nest, but when I looked for the bees, they were all gone, and I couldn’t check out the ospreys for over a week because I’d injured my knee falling over in the North Sydney CBD!
When I did finally find the osprey nest, there were no chicks, just a bored looking kookaburra, but then I noticed three Carpenter bees on a nearby patch of dianella. They were all females, and I promptly christened the nearest one Justine, after a cousin of mine who has pink hair.
After staying in several garden-free English B&Bs, it was delightful to arrive at Mimosa Lodge in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, where there was a half-acre of garden AND sunshine. I could hear a number of birds as we pulled in. However, when I went outside after unpacking, I discovered that much of the wildlife activity was coming from insects in the flower bed next to the breakfast terrace, and in the nearby flowering trees.
The first thing I noticed was the darker coloration of many of the honey bees. I concluded that these must be British Black Bees (Apis mellifera mellifera).
I hadn’t been for a walk westwards from our house for a while, so I set out on Wednesday not expecting much. Turns out I saw quite a lot. First, was this young Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen) with a centipede in its beak. I sighted it near the bowling club, but it ignored me, being busy warbling at its parents and getting warbled back. Magpie warbling has a lovely liquid sound, so I listened until it was interrupted by other birds.
If you ever see something glinting on a flower, look more closely – it might be a Neon Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus nitidulus). It’s hard to capture its appearance in a photograph, even with a bit of post-processing. In reality, the effect in direct sunlight is more like a small string of electric-blue neon lights, as its name suggests.