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:
After the robin, we saw a Grey Fantail and several Thornbills, mostly of the striated variety, but alas I didn’t get any good images. The Variegated Wrens weren’t much better – I think this one was acting as a decoy as a little group skittered through the undergrowth:
Because I was concentrating on this wren, I missed seeing a Sea Eagle and a Square-tailed Kite. When I rejoined the group a few minutes later, the male wren they had been watching flew off. Further on, there were cormorants, but the closest one, a pied cormorant, dived every time I focused a camera on it. Finally, I got a decent image of an Eastern Spinebill:
Things went quiet for a bit then, so I photographed one of the numerous bees buzzing around in the warm weather:
Another robin showed up:
Next, there was an uncharacteristically quiet Sulphur-crested Cockatoo:
And nearby, two pairs of King Parrots – this one, a female:
The last sighting was this Red-browed Firetail.
Sometimes, wildlife just won’t play for you, and for me this walk was one of those times. But then in the afternoon, things turned around when I walked with my family on the coastal path to Coogee. Here, I saw a group of four cormorants with three different species, including this Little Black Cormorant and a grooming Great Cormorant:
The third species was this Pied Cormorant:
A bit further on, a Nankeen Kestrel flew overhead:
As we watched, it flew on down the coast where it suffered the indignity of being swooped by an Australian Magpie. Magpies typically weigh 50% more than kestrels, so this wasn’t a frivolous challenge. The kestrel was up to it though, rolling over to bring its main weapons – its talons – into play, and the magpie didn’t get any closer than is shown in this photo:
Eventually the magpie gave up and the kestrel continued its patrolling. Soon it caught a lizard.
As the kestrel headed off to have its meal, we arrived at the Coogee food fair to have ours.
* My thanks to Liz Powell, Judy Christie, Steph Yee and Nick Yu for organising what was a delightful morning walk, even if the birds weren’t entirely forthcoming.