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):
Three weeks ago I posted several photos of Brush Turkeys on nests. Three days later, I put this photo on my Facebook Page, showing the male watching his hen of the day digging hard, with both turkeys completely unfazed by the schoolchildren walking past.
But my recent focus has been on another turkey, the late starter in the Australian Catholic University. Four weeks ago he didn’t have a nest, but some rapid sweeping of the soil and leaf litter around his chosen site soon gave him a respectable mound. Not long afterwards, he began to attract a few females. The first one I saw was about 7 a.m. July 30th:
Last week I wrote that I would keep the Chiltern Trail honeyeaters for another post, and here it is.
The first honeyeaters I saw on the walk were White-eared Honeyeaters (Nesoptilotis leucotis). Unfortunately they were all in separate trees, socially distancing from me as well as from each other, and this was as good a photo as I could get:
Ever since the first COVID lockdown, I’ve noticed a greater number of people walking my usual paths around North Sydney, often with a dog in tow. There’s also been a corresponding decrease in the number of birds—apart from those birds who don’t mind human proximity, such as Brush Turkeys! So as last Friday was forecast to be the last sunny day before a period of wet weather, I decided to go somewhere I hadn’t been to for a while – the Chiltern Trail at Ingleside. Bird-wise, it wasn’t a great success – a bit early in the season perhaps - but it was still a very pleasant visit.
Walking down the track, I heard Spotted Pardalotes (Pardalotus punctatus) calling from the surrounding trees, and eventually I saw a male low down on some bracken.
With an East Coast Low sitting over the Tasman Sea, last week’s weather was pretty cold, wet, and windy. I didn’t venture out much, but on Thursday when I was walking past North Sydney Demonstration School I came across this male turkey working on his nest :
A couple of weeks ago when I was wren-watching on the cliffs above Coogee beach, I noticed a Nankeen Kestrel perched further along just below the cliff-top. Before I could move closer, three people clambered over the safety fence above, and the bird took fright and flew off.
I consoled myself with the thought that I already had some decent photos from a few years ago. They were taken at Pearl Beach, and featured this kestrel:
Stingless Bees (Tetragonula carbonaria) or Sugarbag bees are much smaller and less noticeable than honey bees. Once they came to my attention though, I found them intriguing. I first spotted them in our front garden around a Crepe Myrtle. Their plain black upright silhouettes against a dark background made me think of sci-fi movie space pods:
Then I got closer to one on a Tecoma flower. I could see its stubbly white hair growth and the three simple eyes on the top of its head complementing its two larger compound eyes :
Last week I wrote about the Variegated Fairy-wren as being Sydney’s “other wren”, the wren that it was “other” to being the more common Superb Fairy-wren.
When I heard that there might be more Variegated Fairy-wrens at north Coogee beach, I went there to have a look. Instead, I saw several Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus), starting with this male in his breeding plumage:
The others with him included another male, but this one was in non-breeding (eclipse) plumage.
I’ve always had a soft spot for wrens, perhaps because my wife is called Jenny. I even did a post about an English wren here. But the Jenny-wrens are British birds, and our Sydney equivalents are the fairy-wrens. Most Sydneysiders have seen the little brown females skittering through the undergrowth in local bush reserves, often accompanied by a male in his black and electric blue breeding dress. Usually, these are Superb Fairy-wrens.
The Variegated Fairy-wrens (Malurus lamberti) are shyer and less common than their Superb cousins, so I was pleased to be able to photograph this Variegated male in his breeding plumage earlier this week.
I saw an odd-looking magpie today, odd for North Sydney, that is. It looked like this:
Whereas North Sydney magpies usually look like this (though not usually quite so dishevelled!)