I recently wrote an article here about the fact that birds and cats do not mix.
Sometimes that is not quite true.
My attention was recently drawn to an amazing video on YouTube about the strange friendship between a kitten and a crow. This is really amazing and well worth watching.
It’s called “Crow and kitten are friends.”
Click here to view the video.
Yesterday my wife and I went for an early morning walk – for the good of our health.
It was a lovely start to the day. A gentle breeze, just cool enough to be pleasant, a few clouds and plenty of birds. I enjoy walking down the track near our home because there is rarely any traffic and the birding is usually good without being spectacular. The occasional special sighting is always a bonus, like the Peaceful Dove heard as we walked along. I didn’t get to see the bird in question but its call is always a delight. (The photo of a Peaceful Dove shown above was taken last year in a walk-through aviary in the Adelaide Hills.)
The walk started out well with a Brown Falcon swooping on some Common Starlings in our orchard. I’m not sure if he caught anything. Along the way we were delighted to see a small flock of about four or five Red-rumped Parrots. Several pairs of Galahs and later a small flock of this beautiful Australian parrot flew overhead. The Common Blackbirds along this road were in full voice, their musical calls another delight. Several small groups of Crested Pigeons lined the power lines along the road, or kept vigil on fencing wires.
The honeyeaters were already hard at work gathering breakfast from whatever trees or bushes were in flower, or where there was an abundance of insects. Red Wattlebirds, White-plumed Honeyeaters and Singing Honeyeaters seemed to be everywhere, many of them adding to the early morning chorus.
The occasional Little Raven flew slowly overhead, calling mournfully as it went. A number of Australian Magpies were kept busy finding food for their recently fledged young who insistently keep begging for food despite being quite able to fend for themselves.
Just where we stopped our walk and turned for home again a family of White-browed Babblers skittered across the road, flying quickly from a bush on one side of the track to another bush on the other side. Their warning calls were unnecessary; we just delight in seeing this species.
An early morning walk like that one is more than just good for the body. It is refreshing and invigorating the the mind and spirit as well as the body.
I don’t play much golf these days. I used to play socially quite often some years ago but not so much in recent years.
Golf courses in Australia are often excellent places to do some casual birding on the side. For example, our local golf course features many native Australian trees and bushes and these attract quite a range of native birds. This course also includes a number of water features as a part of the hazards players have to negotiate. These water features attract a variety of ducks and other water birds. The grassy fairways are favourite feeding spots of a number of species of birds. In some places it is far easier to hit a “birdie” of the feathered kind rather than of the golfing kind.
A golfing course in Sydney was in trouble last week when they had a massive problem with too many Australian Wood Ducks on their course. The ducks were allegedly causing massive damage to the fairways and greens, so the club gained permission to have a cull of the birds. This shooting did not go down well with some locals.
On a more positive note, one golf course in the Adelaide Hills here in South Australia has published a list of birds found on the course. The Mt Lofty Golf Course website features a list of birds that have been recorded there along with several fine photos of birds. They should be congratulated on this positive move. More golf courses could follow their fine example. So could local councils with their parks, gardens, ovals and reserves.
Masked Lapwings are a common species of bird found on many golf courses and parks throughout Australia. Watch out for them swooping when they are nesting.
I had a series of disturbing bird incidents last week. I was driving along through the Adelaide Hills near the small town of Macclesfield on my courier run to Strathalbyn. In this locality the road is steep in parts and with many sharp turns. In some spots one needs to slow down to about 25kph to negotiate sharp bends.
As I came around one corner, an Australian Magpie flew off from the side of the road and collided with the side of my car. I was only going quite slowly and had no opportunity to slow down. Looking in the mirror as I drive on I could see a magpie on the side of the road, so I am assuming it was only stunned. I hope it survived. The road at that point was not safe to stop to investigate.
Around the next corner I had to brake suddenly (after checking the mirror for traffic behind) to avoid a dozen or so Australian Wood Ducks standing in the middle of the road. I slowed down enough to avoid hitting any. They obligingly waddled off the road into the nearby paddock and safety.
Around the next corner an Adelaide Rosella parrot flew low and rapidly across the road in front of the car. This time there was no way I avoid it or brake. I didn’t hear any impact, but checking the mirror again I saw a cloud of feathers behind me and no body. I am assuming I hit it somehow.
All of these incidents happened within a sixty second time frame. Most distressing.
Last week I was travelling through Callington on my way home from Strathalbyn here in South Australia. The day was hot – around 40 degrees Celsius mid-afternoon. The wind was still quite hot and obviously the birds were feeling it.
Just south of Callington I observed – with a little amusement – some Little Ravens sitting on fence posts along the road. Nothing unusual about that; it’s a common enough occurrence around here.
What caught my attention was the number, and what they were doing. There must have been about 40 or 50 of them, all sitting on the fence posts in a row. Just about every post on ones side of the road was occupied by a Little Raven. The occupied fence posts stretched for several hundred metres. All of them were facing into the wind, each had its wings outstretched to allow for the wind to cool them a little, and each had its mouth open.
And of course I’d left my camera home that day, so here is one I prepared earlier: