Happy Christmas and good birding
I hope that all of my readers have a safe, wonderful and joyous Christmas.
I will be spending the day quietly at home with immediate family, probably reading some books I received for my birthday recently and trying not to eat too much while still enjoying the occasion. The day here in South Australia promises to be quite pleasant – not too hot and not too cold. We are in the middle of summer, and we’ve already had many hot days.
Birds and hot days
Speaking of hot days – don’t forget to give the birds in your garden a treat for Christmas. Replenish the water in their bird baths and they will have a great day too. Seeing all the birds coming for a drink or a bathe is an added bonus if the bird bath is easily seen from the house.
Apologies to all of my regular readers. I haven’t posted much here recently and over the course of the year. I have had many challenges regarding my health but in cooperation with my doctor we are gradually getting on top of these issues. I am planning a great year of sharing my bird photos and my birding experiences in the New Year. I also have some exciting developments to share here on this site.
Happy Christmas – and Happy Birding.
One of the species we often have visiting our garden, or soaring overhead, is the Black-shouldered Kite, shown in today’s photos. Over recent weeks we have had frequent visits by an individual displaying juvenile plumage. This is not the first time that this species has been observed breeding in the vicinity of our home.
Yesterday’s visit proved fruitful for me. Normally the bird will perch on the dead branch at the top of a mallee tree at the house. This gives it a good view all around. Usually, when I creep outside with my camera it flies off immediately, much to my annoyance and frustration. Yesterday was different; it posed for my camera while I took about 20 photos. Great – especially with the deep blue summer sky as a backdrop.
It wasn’t allowed to perch there unchallenged for long. I noticed that the resident White-plumed honeyeaters were chirping their warnings to all around, and the Red Wattlebird (shown below) was brave enough to actually swoop the kite and snap its beak nearby. Eventually the harassment was too annoying, and the kite flew off.
If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy reading the following:
- Brown Falcon at Monarto Zoo
- Wedge-tailed eagle overhead
- Black Kite, Mannum
- Surprised by a kite – a humorous encounter with a Yellow-billed Kite in Ethiopia
Keep the water coming
Summer has arrived here in South Australia. Already during spring we have had many days with temperatures over 30C (86F) and the forecast is for a hot, dry summer. In my home town of Murray Bridge we frequently get days over 40C (104F) and occasionally the thermometer soars to as high as 46C (115F).
Whatever the temperature in summer our birds often suffer from the extreme heat and hot searing north winds. On days of high temperature there is a constant stream of birds visiting our bird baths in our garden. They not only appreciate a drink, they often take a dip as well. On days of extreme heat their very survival depends on having access to water. The death rate during hot weather would be very high.
My advice would be to put out some dishes of water, or invest in a birdbath; there are many different styles available so check out your local garden centre or pet shop. Check the birdbaths every morning, replenishing the water as necessary. And don’t forget to scrub it clean once a week (but don’t use any detergent or other cleaning agents – just a brush will do).
Keep the water coming – your garden birds will love you – and keep coming back again and again.
See more photos here.