I’ve done fewer walks this month because of the smoke levels around Sydney. There have been fewer birds to see, but those I saw seemed to be unusually relaxed and cooperative, like this Crested Pigeon near the Coal Loader café.
The pigeon and its partner were prepared to venture closer, although I could only ever get one bird at a time in frame.
Further on, next to the HMAS Waterhen drive, there was a pair of Galahs grazing the dry grass. The nearer one carefully checked the sky:
Then its partner did so too:
I also looked up, wondering if there was a bird of prey around, but could see nothing except smoke haze. The galahs also relaxed, and came closer as they got on with the business in hand, or rather in beak:
Every so often one would pause to check me out whilst mumbling over a beakful of grass:
Back on Bay Road there was a small ficifolia tree flowering over the footpath, to the delight of one Rainbow Lorikeet. The nectar in the flowers was more concentrated and sticky than usual, possibly because of the drought.
This bird also showed little concern about human passers-by. It was only about two metres above the path and every time someone walked below, it would move up a few centimetres, squawk, and then return to the flowers:
I got an excellent view of its long brush tongue in action:
Shortly after, while I was picking up some rubbish around the bins on Berry’s Island, a Noisy Miner with a wisp of spider web on its head quietly walked over next to my foot:
It moved a little further away and looked back at me before flying off:
I’m not sure why all of these birds were so relaxed about my presence. Possibly the drought had encouraged them to forage closer to people for scarce food, or even to beg for it. Whatever the reason, I was happy to take the photo opportunities they gave me.
Of course, in the midst of all this avian New Year’s trust, there had to be one grumpy exception—this White-browed Scrubwren. Partially screened by leaves, it ordered its group in a series of buzzes to fly from this pesky paparazzo:
It then gave me a filthy look before flying off after them:
Suitably rebuked, I left too.