I recently mistook a peewee for a magpie, reminding me to be more careful about identifying pied (black and white) birds! Talking of which, when is a wagtail not a wagtail? Answer - when it’s a Willie Wagtail, which is a fantail and not a wagtail. But what happens when the Willie Wagtail you’re watching is not a fantail either? Well…
It all began when this Willie Wagtail kindly allowed me to take its picture:
I’ve previously written about the Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena) at Oyster Cove, and I returned there a few days ago. However this swallow looked a little unwelcoming as I walked past:
A couple of weeks ago, on a coastal walk, I saw a Nankeen Kestrel being swooped by what I thought at first was an Australian Magpie but turned out to be a Magpie-Lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) or Peewee. At the time, I put up a few photos, and these are more from that same walk.
I first noticed the kestrel in the distance over Coogee beach. It came closer and was almost overhead as it passed us.
A well-known piece of music, On hearing the first cuckoo of spring*, reflects the composer’s delight on hearing the European cuckoo announcing spring after the long northern winter. On my walk yesterday, I heard my first Channel-bill Cuckoo announcing the southern hemisphere spring. However, its hoarse “Waaaark” as it flew past didn’t quite produce the same delight.
Sunday 1st September was warm and cloudless, a perfect day for a walk. So perfect, in fact, that I went for two walks! The first, organised by Willoughby Birders, was in the Harold Reid Reserve, Middle Cove.* As we assembled in the car park, we birdwatchers were watched in turn by the usual hungry-eyed avian opportunists – namely kookaburras, currawongs, ravens and butcher birds. But the focus of our walk was on the smaller birds.
Small birds in tall trees and undergrowth are not easy subjects. The first bird I was able get a decent image of was this Eastern Yellow Robin: