Merry Christmas Everyone
I wish all of my readers a very merry and blessed Christmas, wherever you are.
I would be really pleased to get greetings from you – just use the “comments” section above.
Birds in the hot Australian sun:
Many parts of Australia are in the grips of an early, very hot summer, and this is especially so here in South Australia. Our capital city of Adelaide last week had a record December heatwave for over a hundred years with a string of 4 days over 40C. Yesterday was another very hot day at around 37C and today, Christmas Day, the forecast is for 38C. This will make it the hottest Christmas Day since 1945.
During hot conditions like these our birds suffer terribly. All of my Australian readers – and readers everywhere suffering in the hot, summer sun – I would like to encourage to buy a bird bath for their garden. Even putting a few old bowls or dishes of water around the garden is better than nothing.
We have had three bird baths strategically placed in our garden for many years. These have been placed so that we can watch from the room which we use the most. Many of the photos which I have used on this site were taken from that room, including that of a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater shown above, and taken in the heatwave last week..
Two days ago our daughter arrived home for the Christmas break and doubled our number of bird baths. Our children have given us three new bird baths. I hope this doubles the number of photos I can take!
I hope that you have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
- Spiny-cheeked honeyeater on a hot day
- Make room for me – White-winged Choughs get a little crowded at the bird bath
- Time for a bath – a list of bird and non-bird visitors to our bird baths
Quite frequently I have close encounters with our bird life, especially those which are resident in our garden and on our five acre block on the outskirts of Murray Bridge in South Australia. Sometimes I have the camera with me, sometimes I have to race off and get the camera. And then… there are those occasions when the bird flies off immediately.
Yesterday morning I was just finishing having breakfast, reading the daily paper and doing the cryptic crossword (yes, I solved it). I just looked up to check the bird bath – the one shown in the photo above – when a White-plumed Honeyeater landed on the window sill less than 50cm from where it was sitting. After staying for all of 5 seconds it flew off. No time to get the camera.
Then this morning the same thing happened, but this time a small movement on my part sent the bird flying off without actually landing.
Mmm… that makes me think. I wonder if this particular bird is coming to the window on a regular basis? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was coming to snaffle an insect or a spider lurking around the window frame. Or perhaps it was after some spider’s web to softly line a new nest?
I probably – no definitely – need to clear all the spiders’ webs around the house – but then, I am trying to be ‘bird friendly’. (Notice how I neatly side-stepped doing some house maintenance?)
For more articles about my close encounters with birds click here.
I have included a few more photos of close encounters with birds below.
Happy Birthday to Trevor’s Birding.
10 years old today.
Goodness, how the years have flown since my very first post on this site. That was actually on a different platform and has been updated several times over the years.
A few statistics
- A total of 1668 articles about birds and birding
- Well over 5300 comments from my readers
- Several thousand photos shown
- Visitors from over 200 countries and territories
- Over a million pageviews from well over half a million visitors
Wherever I travel I take my camera, binoculars, notebook and field guide and fit in times of birding (bird watching) and bird photography whenever I can. On many occasions I also go out and about near my home for the deliberate purpose of birding. On my return home I then enjoy writing on this site about the birds I have seen and sharing the best of my photos. Some of these travels take me to other states in Australia as well, especially when we visit family in Sydney, and friends in other places.
Some of my readers may not be aware of the many hundreds of articles in my archives – 1668 articles to be precise – and growing every few days with new articles. These can be accessed via the button at the top of each page and range from the most recent to the very first article. Here is a treasure trove of writing about birds.
Another way of accessing articles on specific areas of interest is via the Contents on the side bar, including
- How to be a birder
- Glossary of Bird Words – to help my readers understand any jargon used here (and it needs some editing – as well as be completed)
- Favourite Birding Spots – some of my favourite places to go birding (and it needs some serious updating!)
- Great birding moments – those special times when I saw a special bird, or got a lovely photo
Categories and search
Another way of searching for specific information on this site it to use the search facility (in the top right hand corner of each page). Just type in what you are looking for – you might be surprised what comes up. The categories section on the sidebar is another area where you can search for articles on a particular species or topic. If all that doesn’t work, try the contact form – also at the top of each page. Send your questions to me via email and I will reply as soon as I can, noting that there will be a delay if I am busy out birding and away from my computer.
Every article has a comments section and I would love to have many more. The 5300 comments so far are just the beginning. Just remember that they are moderated, and I reserve the right not to accept, or delete, or even edit comments, so keep them civil and in good taste. Children often read the articles here.
Over the years I have shared many photos here, with many more to come. Today, however, I decided to share a few of my favourite ones (see below).
And keep coming back for more.
Over recent posts here I have written about a trip we went on after a visit to Adelaide for a medical appointment. We travelled home via Gorge Road, Gumeracha, Birdwood and on to Mannum for lunch. Mannum is about a half hour drive north of our home in Murray Bridge and is also situated on the banks of the Murray River.
After buying our lunch at the local bakery – excellent food, by the way – we drove the short distance to the other end of town, stopping at Lions Park on the wetlands area next to the local caravan park. This is a lagoon which is usually full of water from the adjacent main part of the river. On most occasions I find that this is quite a suitable birding area with a good variety of both water-birds and local bush birds.
As I wrote in my last post I had forgotten to bring my camera with on this trip, something I rarely forget. Consequently I had to be content with sightings using my binoculars and not get too excited about potential photos. It wasn’t long before I was really regretting my oversight regarding the camera.
As we ate our delicious lunch a colourful male and female Superb Fairy-wren came hopping across the grass only a few metres in front of our car. They would have provided me with some wonderful shots, but that was not to be.
A few moments later – as if to taunt me even further – an Australian Reedwarbler came out of the reeds nearby and it also began hopping around on the grass only metres in front of the car. Over the years I have struggled to get good shots of this bird. One hears them wherever there are reeds but one only ever catches glimpses of them scurrying from one patch to another. They don’t seem to want to stop and pose in full view and in good light so my camera can do its work. To see one hopping around in plain view was just taunting me. Never mind – I will return!
All in all it was a quite productive hour of birding. Here is a list of my sightings:
- Australian Reedwarbler
- Superb Fairy-wren
- Crested Pigeon
- House Sparrow
- Peaceful Dove
- Purple Swamphen
- Eurasian Coot
- Little Black Cormorant
- White-plumed Honeyeater
- New Holland Honeyeater
- Masked Lapwing
- Whistling Kite
- Australian Pelican
- Silver Gull
- Noisy Miner
- Pacific Black Duck
- Grey teal
- Red Wattlebird
- Australian Magpie
- Little Corella
- Welcome Swallow
- Little Grassbird
- Caspian Tern
- Little Raven
- Magpie Lark
- Willie Wagtail
- Striated Pardalote
- Black-tailed Native Hen
- Red-rumped Parrot
I must go back again some time soon – and try to remember my camera.
Last Friday my wife had a medical appointment in Adelaide. It was an early morning appointment which meant that we had most of the day to do other things. Instead of taking the quick way home via the south eastern freeway we took a far more interesting route home. We drove up through the Adelaide Hills (part of the Mt Lofty Ranges) via Gorge Road. Along the way we stopped for an extended cup of tea and delicious scones at the Big Rocking Horse at Gumeracha.
I was about to grab my camera to take some photos of the world’s largest rocking horse and some of the local bird life when I realised I had left my camera at home. I had remembered my note book and a pen to record what I saw, I had remembered my binoculars and a field guide resides permanently in the car so I don’t have to remember it. But no camera. Doh.
Oh well, I just had to be content with doing some birding via the naked eye. (Can one say “naked eye” when I do have the assistance of glasses?) Still, birding without either a camera or binoculars is good for honing one’s observation skills. I had also left the binoculars in the car while we sat in the warm restaurant having morning tea. The large picture windows make viewing the nearby landscape extremely easy and delightful.
So, without the help of any visual aids I managed to following list of birds:
- Common Blackbird
- New Holland Honeyeater
- Little Raven
- Crimson Rosella (Adelaide Rosella)
- White Ibis
- Rainbow Lorikeet
- Australian Magpie
- Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.
- Australian Wood Duck
That’s not a great list but the conditions were difficult for the following reasons:
- It was very cold and not many birds were active
- The weather was heavily overcast and gloomy
- The scones were delicious and needed my full attention
- My wife an I were in deep conversation for over an hour discussing an important life decision I need to make shortly.