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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
My recent story of masked bees (http://wildnsydney.com/fibs_blog/a-masked-bees-nest) began on flowers of the bloodwood Corymbia ficifolia, also called the Albany redgum. These small trees hailing from Western Australia are perhaps the most spectacular of the many eucalypts with abundant and beautiful flower displays.
This season’s display is pretty well finished now, but at its peak it attracts considerable attention from a variety of wildlife. This is primarily because of the copious amounts of nectar held in each flower’s cuplike base. Here, a honey bee and a spotted flower chafer beetle have been joined by a rainbow lorikeet. The lorikeet laps nectar and pollen with its specially adapted brush tongue:
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?
In the last few weeks I’ve been hearing these birds again – sounding rather like rainbow lorikeets, but higher-pitched, much more squeak than squawk—and eventually I got fairly close to some, high in a flowering eucalypt in Brennan Park. The small group of Musk Lorikeets (Glossopsitta concinna) was back in the area after a break of several months, chattering as they went about gathering their breakfast from the eucalyptus flowers. Conditions weren’t sympathetic for photography, but I got some reasonable shots.