Archive for July, 2009

A Rufous Whistler in the garden

Rufous Whistler (juvenile)

Rufous Whistler (juvenile)

Over the last few days we have been enjoying the beautiful song of a Rufous Whistler in our garden. The whistlers are aptly named – their songs would be amongst the most beautiful in all of the Australian birds.  I enjoy hearing this species calling just outside my ofice window at home. Unfortunately they are not here every day. It is an added bonus when they do decide to visit.

We also get visited by the Golden Whistler. The male of that species is not only a wonderful songster, he is also very beautiful.

Rufous Whistler (juvenile male)

Rufous Whistler (juvenile male)

Golden Whistler (male)

Golden Whistler (male)

Little Ravens nesting

Little Raven

Little Raven

During my recent stay in bed with the flu I had a good view through the window of a part of our garden. In the fog of my illness I was pleased to be able to view a few birds that flew past the window, or those that settled in the bushes or trees within view.

On several occasions I noticed two very industrious Little Ravens at work. They were busy pulling fine strips of bark off the trucks of several bushes and trees. As they stuffed their beaks full of bark they looked as if they had suddenly grown a handlebar mustache!

With this beak full of bark they flew off over the road. Nesting?? I wonder. I haven’t recovered enough from the flu to go searching for the nest in the cold, wintery and showery weather we are having. It’s quite possible, however, for it is about now that many of our birds start building nests ready for the spring.

Little Raven

Little Raven

Some simple bird photography rules

A few days ago I was sitting out in the lovely winter sunshine trying to recover from my recent bout of flu. Our back veranda is generally out of the wind and a very pleasant spot to take in a little snoozing in the sunshine. It was one of those rare days we’ve had recently, what with all the rain and showery weather we have been  having for a change. We can’t say we are out of the drought yet, but the signs are encouraging.

While slumbering in the sun I was aware of a bird of prey calling nearby. That certainly woke me up. What looked and sounded like a Brown Falcon was circling low overhead.  Several of the local resident Australian Magpies were vigorously attacking this poor creature. In a matter of seconds it had flown off to a safer location.

I do not yet have a photo of a Brown Falcon. During those 10-15 seconds it was circling overhead I most certainly would have been able to get several good shots of the underwing markings. Alas – no camera in my hand or within easy reach. When I did go inside to get my camera I found that the batteries were flat.

Two Simple Rules:

  1. Always have your camera handy.
  2. Check to see that the camera batteries are charged.

Happy birding.

Birding while in bed

I’m recovering from a severe bout of  influenza. Worst I’ve had in many years – possibly worst ever. I spent the best part of 9 days mostly in bed.

Fortunately our bedroom window over looks the garden. As I reposed in my sick bed, head aching, sneezing every few minutes, blowing my nose every minute or two (I went through about 6 boxes of tissues – 200 to the box) I was able to occasionally glimpse the bird life outside.

The White-winged Choughs are frequent garden visitors – usually daily. They didn’t disappoint me. It always amuses me the way the strut their way down the driveway looking for all the world like they own the place.

The resident Willie Wagtails are always busy searching out some tasty morsel amongst the plants in the garden. They were regular visitors come to cheer me up.

Several times during my illness the local gang of  White-browed Babblers came on sorties through the undergrowth, their calls sometimes making me think we’d been invaded by a pack of meowing cats.

The local Little Ravens are quite vocal at present and are also frequent visitors. Two of them were acting suspiciously, pulling bark from the trunk of a Melaleuca bush.  They then flew off purposefully across the road. I wonder if they are making a nest? I haven’t been well enough to check them out.

New Holland Honeyeaters are the most obvious birds in our garden, both in numbers and in noise levels. Even through the cold, wintery, showery weather they are constantly on the go, feeding, flying around and generally bossing around anything that dares to come near.

The resident family of Australian Magpies has been rather quiet recently. They are still around but I think this is just the calm before the breeding storm. Once they start nesting the Territory Wars begin in earnest.

Our resident pair of Grey Shrike-thrushes are usually quiet and reserved, going about their daily activities with little fuss. On a few occasions while I was sick they would come near to the window and delight me with their rich melodious call. It is enough to cheer even the sickest person.

Most days we have either two or four Mallee Ringneck parrots in the garden. Two of them are constantly checking  out a hollow in a tree near the shed. We live in hope that someday they will deem it suitable for nesting. So far this has not happened.

This is just a small sample of the many birds found daily in our garden. My recent enforced stay in bed made me realise how rich the bird life was around here, something I sometimes take for granted.

Happy birding – wherever you are.

Mallee Ringneck Parrot

Mallee Ringneck Parrot