I saw this chick sitting on the grass at Balls Head Reserve recently, looking singularly unimpressed with life:
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:
Just behind the tiny Uniting Church at Glen Alice in the Capertee valley is a patch of trees, mostly eucalypts. Here, a Little Friarbird (Philomen citreogularis), with its distinctive blue patches below its eyes, flies in to check for insects. It quickly spots something and pounces.
One of the benefits of having a fountain in our front yard is that we sometimes see birds diving in beak-first, like this noisy miner:
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to help with a weekend bird count at Boorowa, about 3.5 hours drive SW of Sydney. The count was to focus on the Superb Parrot (Polytelus swainsonii), something I had never photographed, so I readily accepted. As it turned out, we were indeed successful in seeing and photographing the parrots – this one below is a male.
But the back story is just as interesting. After all, why would such a distant bird count be organised by Willoughby Council’s Habitat Restoration Officer in Sydney?
Tonga’s 3 main island groups - Tongatapu, Ha’apai, and Vava’u – have mostly similar birds and other fauna. However I didn’t take many photographs on land as my camera was usually locked in an underwater housing. The wet weather and the camera-shy nature of many of the birds didn’t help either, but I did manage to get photos of a few creatures that were new to me.
The bird that woke me most mornings in Vava’u was this Polynesian Starling (Aplonis tabuensis). It regularly called outside my bedroom window and would then call on and off for the rest of the day. At least it didn’t start as early as the neighbourhood cockerels, or as early as our Kiwi fisherfolk neighbours who started their boat motor at 5 a.m. (and left it to warm up while they chatted!)