Archive for April, 2007

Listen to the Rain

It’s raining!

What a lovely sound it makes on the roof.


Normally I wouldn’t make much of the rain on this blog, but the last year has been so dry that a good rain is quite newsworthy. This part of Australia has experienced a serious drought over the last year or so. We are currently on severe water restrictions with the threat of much worse to come. Some other parts of Australia are far worse off than we are, but we seem to be heading in the same direction. Many reservoirs are down to below 10% of capacity with only a few weeks of supply left.

A Day of Rain

At about eight o’clock this morning the rain started steadily. It has been raining now for close to nine hours and shows no sign of letting up. I’ve just checked the radar of the Adelaide Bureau of Meteorology and the rain should continue for quite a while yet, perhaps well into the night. And more is forecast for the coming week.

Birds in the Rain

Most birds just love the rain. I haven’t seen any come to the birdbath all day (not that I’ve been watching it all that much – the rain is far more interesting). The Honeyeaters and Willie Wagtails enjoy having a good shower in rain water. This morning I saw several Australian Magpies just sitting calmly on a post enjoying the water dribbling down their backs. On the downside, I did see one very wet, bedraggled, sad looking Galah sitting on a power line this morning.

Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie

This photo of a lovely magpie was not taken today. It was taken some time ago when we were on a picnic at a nearby reserve.

Birding in Israel

Unlike a friend of mine, I’ve never been to Israel, either as a tourist or a birder. I can get a good feel for the birds of this country, however, from the site called Birdwatching and Birding Tours of Israel.

It has plenty of photos of birds to enjoy, along with trip reports and details of birding tours of the country.

The Amazing Superb Lyrebird

The Superb Lyrebird is an amazing mimic. It is able to imitate about twenty different bird calls heard in the Australian forests. But even more incredible is its ability to imitate mechanical sounds. Have a listen to the sound track on this David Attenborough video of the Superb Lyrebird.

How to watch birds

Some time ago I write a series of articles called How to be a birder – some hints. This series of 20 articles covered many aspects of being a birder, with hints for the beginner through to more experienced.

How to watch birds is an article on another website. It has some very useful information for beginners to this fascinating hobby, including what equipment is needed. Its information about binoculars is most detailed and useful. The sections on bird books, including field guides is for American birders only so readers from other countries need to seek out those resources relevant to their own region of interest.

Here in Australia we have many useful resources (go to the links section for relevant places to seek out books, field guides and equipment).

Dusky Woodswallow

Dusky Woodswallow

Australian Sea-lion – and a few birds

Australian Sea-lion, Granite Island

Australian Sea-lion, Granite Island

On our recent trip to Victor Harbor south of Adelaide I was able to do a little birding over the weekend. On the Saturday I went with two friends for a walk across the causeway to the nearby Granite Island. I only saw a few Silver Gulls and Pacific Gulls and Little Pied Cormorants. On the return walk I saw a Caspian Tern and several Crested Terns on the beach.
The walk to Granite Island is a very popular walk for locals and visitors alike. We were delighted to see a very relaxed Australian Sea-lion lolling around in the water near the jetty. The way it behaved it was almost as if it was showing off its swimming skills to all the humans watching only a few metres away. Perhaps someone had trained it to behave in this way.

Australian Sea-lion

Australian Sea-lion

Australian Sea-lions are relatively common along the southern and western coasts of Australia. It largely breeds on the many islands along these coasts and I know of only one mainland breeding colony near Streaky Bay in the far west of South Australia. This species rarely venture more than 20-30km from the coast while feeding. From the size and colour of this individual in was most probably a female. Females range from 1.3-1.8m in length; the males at 2-2.5m are considerably larger and paler around the head.

Reference: A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia (by Menkhorst and Knight).

Australian Sea-lion

Australian Sea-lion