Archive for September, 2010

Spotted Turtledoves nesting

Spotted Turtledove

The Spotted Turtledove is an introduced bird species in Australia. They are very common in many cities and towns in much of Australia. We usually have a few resident in our garden and near the house. On many occasions they have made nests and raised little ones.

Two weeks ago we had a near disaster in our garden. We had a very large 15 metre gum tree come down in our driveway in a violent storm. You can see pictures of some of it on my writing site here.

A few days after the storm I noticed a Spotted Turtledove gathering small sticks on the ground just outside my office. It was carrying the sticks into the thickest part of the canopy of the fallen tree. Little did it know that I was about to cut up that part of the tree the next day. Our movement nearby and the noise of the chain saw just metres away obviously frightened it away.

Two days later my wife saw the bird carrying sticks to another tree nearby. This time it had chosen a tree which was not on my demolition plans. The next day it had changed its mind and was building a nest in a thick bush on the other side of the house, a site they had used successfully in previous breeding attempts. I will keep an eye on it.

Rufous Songlarks have arrived

Over recent days we have had the delight of hearing two Rufous Songlarks in our garden and in the nearby scrubland. This species is one of those that arrive in the springtime to breed. They spend the autumn and winter months in northern Australia where it is warmer – clever birds.

Around this time of the year they migrate south to breed. We don’t have them in our garden every year, but when they do come we love hearing their rich, melodious call echoing through the scrub. Some field guides describe the call in this way: “twitchy-tweedle”. I like that. You can hear a recording of the Rufous Songlark here, but be warned – it is not a very high quality recording and their call is partly drowned out by another bird, a calling Common Blackbird.

I will be keeping an eye on them in case they decide to make a nest nearby. I also need a photo of this species.

Little Ravens caught thieving

Little Raven about to steal some of the mat on our back veranda

Little Raven about to steal some of the mat on our back veranda

Over the years I have found that many birds can be quite enterprising in their daily endeavours. One such example occurred a few days ago on our back veranda.

Little Ravens are very common in our part of the world here in Murray Bridge, South Australia. I often see a dozen or more flying overhead. Sometimes they gather to feed in a loose flock of many dozens in the paddock opposite our block of land.

Recently I had seen several of them close to the house and in the garden. I’d also seen them carrying nesting materials. A few days ago I looked out through one of the windows overlooking the back veranda, only to see one of the ravens tugging at the mat on the edge of it. In the photo above you can see how frayed one end of it has become, so I gather they’ve been thieving from our mat for some time.

And I thought the mat was becoming worn through wiping our muddy shoes on it!

Don’t try this at home

Black Swan with cygnets, Canberra

Black Swans are a familiar sight throughout much of Australia. They can be found on artificial lakes and ponds, rivers and swamps, wetlands and reservoirs and estuarine waters. These graceful birds are delightful to see when accompanied by a small family of cygnets, as in the photo above.

Recently however, my wife was reading through a very old recipe book handed down to her from my mother. There was no publication date but could well have been bought in the 1930s. It has many tried, tested and recommended recipes from the rural communities of Australia in that era.

My wife was amused to read in this book that one native swan egg was considered the equivalent of three hen eggs.

Mmmm – don’t try that at home – or anywhere else for that matter. The early settlers and pioneers – as well as the indigenous people of Australia would have used swan eggs for survival. These days, of course, all native birds, their nests and eggs are highly protected by law. Taking swan eggs from a nest risks a hefty fine, so don’t even think about it.

A great photo gallery

I love taking photos of the birds of Australia. I always have the camera ready for taking shots of birds around my house and garden. I rarely forget to take it with me on trips anywhere.

Readers have often commented on the photos they see here on my site. Thank you everyone for your kind words. I get great satisfaction out of taking the photos and your comments are the icing on the cake!

Every now and then I come across another great photo site on the net. I’m especially drawn to those featuring birds, of course.

Recently my attention was drawn to the Bird Observation and Conservation Australia site (BOCA). They have started a very beautiful photo gallery. It features hundreds of wonderful photos of Australian birds. The collection is constantly being added to so it’s worth frequent visits.


Male Flame Robin, Mt. Macedon, Victoria