I am currently in Sydney visiting my family, including my only two grandchildren. They are very demanding and energetic and this makes me tired, but very satisfied. When we are staying with them I don’t get many opportunities to get out birding. This trip has been a little different and I will write about that in the next few days.
One interesting thing happened this evening. For his fifth birthday in October I gave my grandson a simple, lightweight pair of binoculars. I hasten to add that this was at his request; he’d often seen me using mine and wanted to be like his granddad. We were on the front lawn looking out for any birds we could see. We managed to list the following:
- Australian Raven
- Rainbow lorikeet
- Grey Butcherbird
- Laughing Kookaburra
We were just heading off inside for them to go to bed when Miss 2.5 yo came running up to me all excited. She pointed to the Grey Butcherbird perched on the power line about 5 metres away. I guess they are never too young to start getting them interested in birding.
Other birds seen or heard during our nearly three week stay include:
- Pied currawong
- Noisy Miner
- Common Myna
- Crested pigeon
- Australian Brush-turkey
- Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
- Tawny Frogmouth
- Australian Magpie
- Wonga pigeon
- Rock Dove
- Eastern Koel
A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF MY READERS.
Thank you all for visiting this site over the last 12 months.
There’s more to come in the coming year.
Today I feature some of my favourite photos from 2013.
My wife and I are currently staying in Sydney with our son and his family. We are having great fun playing with our two grandchildren age 5 and 2.5. We will be here until Christmas.
Because of the configuration of the house, the spare bedroom is at the back of the house, next to some large bushes and near to some large street trees. Up until recent days the Laughing Kookaburras have woken us before 5am; one morning it was 4:33am. As first light filters through the trees the hundreds of locally resident Rainbow Lorikeets start up their screeching as they fly from tree to tree.
Because of those two noisy resident species we treasure every second of sleep we can get, especially when the grandchildren usually knock on our door well before 7am. So it was a little disconcerting to have a Tawny Frogmouth doing the overnight shift, calling just outside our bedroom window! Fortunately, the call was soft enough not to keep me awake.
Australian Brush-turkeys are a very common bird in the eastern states of Australia. Despite being very common, I had only seen this species on one occasion before – and that was in 1981. On this current trip to Sydney I was very keen to not only see this bird but also get some good photos. I scored on both counts.
My 5 year old grandson has recently started gym sessions, learning a variety of gymnastics skills. He is a very physical boy keen to emulate the Circolombia gymnastics/circus troupe one day. He was born in Colombia, so they are something special to him.
Being the keen grandfather I went along to see him go through his paces. On our return journey his mother was driving past the Artarmon Public School oval – the school he will start at next year – when a Brush-turkey crossed the road right in front of us. It nearly came to grief under the wheels of an oncoming truck, but the driver managed to avoid receiving a free turkey for Christmas. Actually I have no idea what they taste like, and it would be an offence to kill and eat one because they are protected by law.
In the previous few days I had been keeping a close eye on roadside verges, parks and gardens because I thought I had seen one a few days earlier while taking the grandchildren to child-care. This was a only a few streets away. My son used to regularly see one scratching around in the small patch of vegetation lining the Artarmon Railway Station, but that was several years ago. Good to see they are still in the district. Readers not familiar with the Artarmon area of Sydney should note that this is about a kilometre south of Chatswood, a very thickly populated and busy part of north Sydney, and a mere 15 minutes train ride from the CBD of Sydney itself.
In case you were wondering, today’s photos were not of the bird crossing the road. I took these photos three days later in a national park a little further north – but that’s a story for another day.
Some birds around Gundagai
From Narrandera we continued travelling east, going through Wagga Wagga without stopping – except at the traffic lights. From this point on we started climbing into the hilly country and eventually the mountains. The beautiful scenery is constantly changing and is a delight to travel through.
We succeeded in reaching our morning tea destination on time, stopping to refuel both the vehicle and us. Our favourite stopping spot along this stretch of road is the Dog on the Tuckerbox complex a few miles out of Gundagai, a place made famous by the legend surrounding a dog. Another couple having a break struck up a conversation with us; they, too, came from South Australia.
Another reason for stopping in this spot was to visit our favourite road side sales outlet. Farm fresh apples sold here are delicious, and we always stop here and buy a bag or two. Sadly, we can’t do the same on the return trip home due to our home state’s stringent laws about bringing fruit in. This is to protect our extensive fruit growing areas from the dreaded fruit fly pest. As an added bonus this time, we also bought some lovely cherries.
While all this was happening I managed to get quite a respectable bird list.
- Australian Raven
- Striated Pardalote
- Red wattlebird
- Grey Fantail
- White-plumed Honeyeater
- Australian Magpie
- Grey Shrike-thrush
- House Sparrow
- Common Starling
- Restless Flycatcher
- Australian Magpie-lark
- White-winged chough