Archive for September, 2008

Oh No – I forgot my blog’s birthday

I have been so busy with my studies at university in recent weeks that I completely forgot to celebrate this blog’s THIRD BIRTHDAY. (Sings merrily to himself. No one joins in. Looks around – no one else in the room. BIG SIGH)

This blog started on the 3rd September 2005.

It has been an interesting journey with many friends visiting on a regular basis. Many people have commented and there have been some interesting debates.

My special thanks to Sim’ my son who keeps it all ticking over nicely in the technological sense.

Just to celebrate, here is one of my favourite bird photos.

Red Capped Robin

Red Capped Robin

White Winged Choughs nesting

White Winged Chough carrying nesting material

White Winged Chough carrying nesting material

Earlier this week I was aware of plenty of noise in the garden coming from the local family of White Winged Choughs. About five or six of them were regularly flying into the garden from next door and then parading around. I noticed several of them collecting tufts of drying grass from the mowing I had done the week before (see photo above).

They were obviously then heading off next door to a tree about fifty metres away. It took only a few seconds for me to locate the partially built mud nest.

As I returned from looking at the nest I disturbed two more near our tank – where there is a slow leak. Ah ha – so that’s where they are gathering the mud for the nest. It has been a busy few days for the family. I look forward to the time when the babies are being fed. There will be a constant flow of traffic feeding them.

Rankins Springs Birds of the Bush festival

Rankins Springs is holding their annual Birds of the Bush festival next weekend. This delightful little community is situated in the mid-western area of New South Wales.

Rankins Springs is approximately 574 km from Sydney, 353 km from Canberra, 856 km from Adelaide and 519 km from Melbourne.It is located between West Wyalong and Hay on the Mid Western Highway in the Riverina.

I have driven through this area quite a number of times, often stopping for a meal or refreshments on our way somewhere else. It is about time I planned to actually stay there for a few days because the birding is very good.

For more information  about this special event click here.

Red Rumped Parrots, Rankins Springs

Red Rumped Parrots, Rankins Springs

This photo was taken several years ago when we passed through the town on our way further east. We had lunch in a little park in the main street. Several Red Rumped Parrots were drinking from this pond. They are hard to see because this was before I had my good digital camera with its zoom lens. Click on the image to enlarge.

Rainbow Beeeaters on a flying visit

Rainbow Bee eater

Rainbow Bee eater

This spring  has been a little unusual as far as our migratory birds are concerned. A few weeks ago I wrote about the lack of cuckoos here in the Murray Bridge district so far this spring. Another species that we often get a little earlier than this is the Rainbow Beeeater. Sometimes they just pass through on their way south, staying for a few minutes or perhaps a few hours.

Many years ago – probably about 15 years ago – we actually had them nesting nearby. This was a great delight as they would be constantly in or near our garden. In more recent years I have heard and seen a few just up the hill from our place – about a kilometre away. This is secluded bushland and quite suitable soil for their nests.

For my readers who were not aware of their nesting habits, let me enlighten you. The Rainbow Beeeaters make a small tunnel in the earth – say the side of a dirt road or in the bank of a creek, river, road cutting or small gully. This tunnel is about 30cm long, at the end of which they make a small nesting hollow where the eggs are laid.

When I was a child on the family farm in the Murray Mallee I remember always being fascinated by these nests on the edge of the track leading to our home. It always was an exciting time of the year when these beautiful birds arrived from up north and began digging a new nest.

Today I heard a single bird calling. It had gone before I had a chance to get outside and check it out. I hope this is the first of many, and that this year they will stay around long enough to find a suitable spot to nest.

Welcome Swallows

Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow

Yesterday afternoon we were sitting in the lovely spring sunshine on our front verandah. We were enjoying the beautiful day while having a cuppa. As we sat there two Welcome Swallows flew in under the verandah and just over our heads. This was a delightful little event that thrilled us, mainly because they came so close – perhaps a metre or less over our heads.

I’ve seen Welcome Swallows do this kind of thing in many other places, but this is the first time we’ve seen it on our verandah. In fact, we do not see this species all that often over our garden. This is strange, because the species is very common in our immediate district. At times I have seen loose flocks of several hundred near or over the nearby river. At other times I have seen 50 – 100 resting on nearby power lines. For some reason they do not want to visit our place.

I know that they make a mess when they make their mud nest under a verandah or the eaves of a house, but it would be lovely if they thought our place was a suitable nesting site. I’d probably even be happy to clean up the mess they made.