While outside in the garden earlier today my attention was suddenly attracted by a small group of swallow like birds flying high above the house.
I didn’t have time to grab the binoculars or the camera, so I can’t be sure what they were. I’m guessing that they were either Fairy Martins or Tree Martins. Both species spend winter in northern Australia and start to appear in the southern regions about now.
Looking through my field guides I’m drawn to the conclusion that I probably saw Fairy Martins. While they are quite common in the area for most of the spring and summer, I don’t see them very often over our house, so it was a special treat. It is more common to see Welcome Swallows here as they are resident here all year round.
Click here to see a photo of a Fairy Martin taken by someone else.
Silver Gulls are the most common species of gull in Australia. They are found in all coastal regions around Australia as well as far inland near to water courses and lakes. Here in my home town of Murray Bridge in South Australia they are quite common along the River Murray which is about 4 kilometres from my home.
Last Saturday morning on my way down to the CBD of the town I needed to avoid hitting a Silver Gull feeding on, of all things, a dead rabbit in the middle of the road near our place. Silver Gulls are known for their scavenging habits, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one eating a rabbit.
I didn’t have my camera with me at the time. My readers are probably relieved for that; the dead rabbit was not a pretty sight!
Magpie Larks are a breeding resident bird in our garden. We see them every day, the strident calls filling the air on many occasions throughout the day. Although the call is sharp and loud it is melodious and not at all annoying – unless the bird is only metres away.
Throughout the day they flutter around from fence post to roof gutter to tree top. Then they soar down to ground level and search for some tasty snack on the ground.
Over the last two weeks the pair of Magpie Larks living around our house have been very busy gathering mud, grass and feathers to make a nest near our back veranda. The bowl shaped nest took quite a few days to construct.
Yesterday I saw the pair violently pursuing an Australian Magpie away from the nest, so I assumed they now have eggs to hatch. Sure enough, one of them was later seen sitting tight on the nest, only its tail protruding from the nest (see below – just the tail can been seen on the left hand side).
It has been quite a few years since they nested in our garden. In more recent times they have preferred the large gum trees in our neighbour’s garden.
We had a typical winter’s day here in Murray Bridge South Australia today: cold, scudding showers and periods of rain and blustery winds. Late afternoon saw a lessening of the showers and the sun chose to emerge for a while. The wind was still quite strong in gusts.
I was on my way to photograph a Magpie Lark‘s nest (see tomorrow’s post here) when I saw this solitary Galah taking in the last of the sunshine of the day. Trouble was, the wind happened to catch his feathers just as I took the photo. Below is another shot taken seconds later. That’s better.
We don’t get all that many Australian Pelicans in our garden. In fact, we’ve only ever had pelicans flying overhead on a handful of occasions over the last 25 years or so, despite living only about 5km from the River Murray where they are quite common.
Yesterday my wife noticed two flying overhead but didn’t think to mention it to me until much later. Even if I had known I wouldn’t have been able to get a lovely photo like the one above. I took that on a holiday in Victoria last year. The pelicans in this photo came very close to the jetty where some anglers were cleaning their catch. I guess the attraction of a free feed of fish is irresistible to a pelican. Made the job of getting a photo very easy.