Archive for May, 2008

Galahs by the hundreds

My regular readers are probably wondering what has happened to me.

Fear not – I’ve just been incredibly busy writing and completing all of my study assignments due at the end of the semester. At the beginning of the term I had 7 due in 8 weeks. Then I still had 7 due but in 5 weeks and now I have 3 due in 3 weeks, so the task is diminishing – and so is the available time. It left no time for blogging and little for birding.

One significant observation of recent weeks has been of large flocks of Galahs around Murray Bridge. On many occasions I have seen flocks of 300 to 500; such large flocks make a spectacular sight. I must get the camera ready and try to capture a large flock in flight – or on the power lines like I saw this afternoon.

Welcome to members of the Mannum Garden Club

Yesterday I had the privilege and delight to be the guest speaker at the meeting of the Mannum Garden Club. If you are visiting my blog as a result of that meeting – welcome. Mannum is a farming centre and tourist town on the River Murray about half an hour’s drive from my home in Murray Bridge, South Australia.

During my presentation I talked about the common birds of the Mannum district. I showed many photos of these birds, many of which have appeared on this blog and are in the photo gallery.

Several of the people present asked help with identification of a raptor feeding on the oval nearby. Several Black Kites were on the grass feeding on what I presume was grasshoppers. Later as I drove past the oval again on my way home, I noticed about 60 Black Kites feeding on the oval.

Black Kites on Mannum Oval

Black Kites on Mannum Oval

I think I mentioned this before: if anyone reading this blog would like me as a guest speaker about birds, I’d be more than happy to arrange a time providing it is not too far from my home in Murray Bridge – say up to an hour or two travel time. It would be best to use my contact form here to get in touch with me. I will even fly interstate if the ticket is provided!!

Black Kite at Mannum, South Australia

Black Kite at Mannum, South Australia

An awesome sight

Hanging the washing out on the clothes line is often a very interesting birding time. It has the advantage of casting one’s eyes skywards and I have frequently been delighted with the sightings I’ve made during this otherwise mundane household chore.

Yesterday morning was one of those awesome moments not easily forgotten. I heard the alarm call of the resident New Holland Honeyeaters; this always prompts me to quickly scan the sky for any birds of prey lurking around.

I was just quick enough to see the final stages of the stoop of a Peregrine Falcon, wings swept right back, as it swept low over the trees heading for a small group of Common Starlings. I couldn’t see if it caught its breakfast.

The traffic past our property travels at about 80kph. This bird was going at least twice that speed.

What an awesome sight!

Pity I wasn’t quick enough to race inside, get the camera and take a photo.

I and the bird #74

The latest edition of the carnival I and the Bird #74 can be read here.

If you are a birder and a blogger, why not contribute to the next I an the bird? Details can be found here.

Australia: Land of Parrots

Just a short while ago I had the delight of watching Australia – Land of Parrots on ABC TV. It was a brilliant programme highlighting the behaviour of many of our wonderful parrots. While it didn’t cover all of the parrots of Australia it gave a good coverage of several species.

Eclectus Parrot (female) Adelaide Zoo

Eclectus Parrot (female) Adelaide Zoo

I found the section on the bizarre – and rather unique – breeding habits of the Eclectus Parrots to be quite fascinating. Apparently, the female stays in the nest hollow for many months and the male comes to feed her. Furthermore, the male often mates with several other females in his territory during the breeding season, as does the female. This species is also unusual in that the female is the more colourful of the two.

Eclectus Parrot (male) Adelaide Zoo

Eclectus Parrot (male) Adelaide Zoo

The photos shown above were taken of some captive birds in a walk through aviary in the Adelaide Zoo. This species is quite commonly kept in captivity, though very expensive to buy I believe.