Friendly Welcome Swallows
Welcome Swallows are a common species throughout much of southern and eastern Australia. Here in Murray Bridge, South Australia they are the most common of our swallow species. Along the River Murray they can often be seen in loose flocks of hundreds. Even in the streets it is not unusual to see 50 – 100 resting on power lines.
Strangely, they are not all that common at our place, situated about 5 kilometres from the river. When we do have them around it is usually fleeting visits by no more than 2 – 6 at a time. In recent months, however, their visits are becoming a little more regular. Instead of once a fortnight on average, they appear to be around most days. They are probably more frequent visitors than I realise with me being stuck in my office with my writing for long hours most days.
Several days ago I was delighted to hear the soft ‘seep, seep, seep’ call and twittering quite close to the office. I left my computer to find two of them – dare I call them a “pair” (?) sitting on the storm water down pipe coming off the office roof (see photos) They could well have been calling to me to ask permission to visit!
One of them occasionally would fly off in tight circles around the nearby garden and through our new back veranda. Were they checking it out as a possible nesting site? I’m not sure, but they were very interested in the locality for about ten minutes before flying off.
Most Australians would be able to identify an Australian Magpie.
They are one of the common birds found throughout Australia except for some extremely dry inland areas. They are quite at home in the school playground, our parks and especially our home gardens. This often brings them into conflict with humans, especially in the breeding season. Their aggressive tendencies to swoop and harass humans is well known.
A South Australian scientist, Professor Chris Daniels, in conjunction with ABC 891 Morning Radio, is conducting Operation Magpie in South Australia over the next few weeks. The project runs from 1st September to the 13th October 2009. It follows on from successful projects n previous years, Operation Bluetongue in 2007 and Operation Possum in 2008.
People throughout South Australia are asked to log on and register their interest online by filling in a survey sheet on the web page. This community based research project is an extremely valuable way of gathering more information and understanding of this popular and lovely species.
In addition to the survey sheets, the web page also includes five fact sheets about magpies as well as a classroom kit for teachers to use.
To participate go to the website here.
Happy bird-day to my blog
TODAY MARKS THE FOURTH BIRTHDAY OF THIS BLOG ABOUT AUSTRALIAN BIRDS.
Happy birthday to my blog.
It has just passed the 950th article about Australian birds and is going from strength to strength as far as readership is concerned. Over 600 readers per day, from over 100 countries, and several thousand comments from interested birders worldwide.
Thank you to all of my faithful regular readers. Welcome to all of my new readers.
Thank you also to those who take the time to leave a question or a comment. You are valued. I especially appreciate those who say how much they enjoy this blog.
To celebrate this special occasion I invite readers to leave birthday greetings in the comments section. And while you are here, don’t forget all those other articles reaching back over four years now. Browse through the archives, click on the categories in the side bar or look through the many articles listed in the contents section.
To celebrate I’ve featured some of the best photos from the last year. Click on the photo to enlarge the image.
Spring is in the air
I heard my first cuckoo for the season today. Officially it is the first day of spring here in Australia, so that’s quite appropriate.
This cuckoo was some distance away and I didn’t get to see it. Going on the call alone, it was probably a Fan-tailed Cuckoo, a relatively common species in the Murray Bridge area at this time of the year.
Many other species seem to be quite busy and calling frequently but I’m not sure what is nesting yet. I must take out a little time over the next week or so and wander around having a look in all the trees and bushes around our house. Some of the resident breeding species are very sneaky about where they locate their nests.
Getting back to that cuckoo – I don’t yet have a photo of this species. Instead, I can show you another common local species of cuckoo, the Pallid Cuckoo. (The photo was taken at Round Hill Nature Reserve in NSW.)