The weather has been pretty changeable lately, but over a week ago, I took my chances and went for an afternoon walk. The clouds were beginning to gather after a fine clear day, and looking up, I couldn’t see many birds.
Looking down, however, I could see lots of winter wildflowers. One was this Spider Grevillea (Grevillea speciosa):
So far this blog has been light on flowers. However today is the second Sunday in May, which is Mothers’ Day in Australia. As this is a traditional day for giving flowers, I thought now would be a good time to remedy my omission.
These photos aren’t of local (New South Wales) flowers, however. They were all taken on one day nine years ago at two spots near Kalbarri in Western Australia. Neither location was your typical flowering meadow; this was one of them, on the Murchison River.
I’m not familiar with most of these WA flowers, so I’ll let the photos speak from themselves, with just a brief afterword.
Last month I took this photo of the sun dimmed through bushfire smoke. Its red colour reminded me of one of the trees whose funeral pyre is now making up much of the smoke - the Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata.)
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:
The Chiltern track at Ingleside runs from Chiltern Road down through Kuringai Chase to McCarr’s Creek Road. It’s not very long – about 1.7 kms – but is a “hot spot” for birds in the honeyeater family, which includes wattlebirds and spinebills.
I was there last weekend at the suggestion of Liz Powell, Habitat Restoration Officer at Willoughby Council, on a “Discovering Honeyeaters” walk led by Judy Christie. There were about 20 others in the group of assorted ages and experience. I’m not usually a fan of group birdwatching, but this one seemed to work well. In particular, some of the younger members had very sharp eyes, enabling them to point out birds the rest of us might have missed.
At the beginning of the track there were several Little Wattlebirds (Anthochaera chrysoptera) making their usual level of noise. At first I ignored them, as I already had good photos of this bird. However one in particular seemed to want to be photographed, and so I eventually obliged: