Archive for the 'Plants' Category

Feeding Adelaide Rosellas

Adelaide Rosella feeding on Eremophila youngii

Adelaide Rosella feeding on Eremophila youngii

Last weekend we were having breakfast in our sun-room when four Adelaide Rosellas flew into one of the bushes in our garden, an Eremophila youngii (see photo above). I had the camera ready for many minutes but they would not come out into full sunlight and the above photo is the best I captured on this occasion. Just one bird is seen peeking out to see what was happening around it. The others were hidden in the foliage, busy feeding on the nectar in the flowers.

The Adelaide Rosella is now a frequent visitor to our garden. It is a race of the widespread Crimson Rosella and confined to the Adelaide region, Mt Lofty Ranges and mid-north of South Australia. Its occurrence here in Murray Bridge is a relatively recent extension of that range.

Parrots occurring in our garden in Murray Bridge include:

  • Adelaide Rosella (regular visitor, possibly breeding)
  • Crimson Rosella (occasional)
  • Eastern Rosella (regular)
  • Mallee Ringneck (resident breeding)
  • Galah (resident breeding)
  • Rainbow Lorikeet (regular)
  • Purple-crowned Lorikeet (regular)
  • Musk Lorikeet (occasional)
  • Budgerigar (rare)
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (rare)
  • Little Corella (occasional)
  • Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo (once only)
  • Cockatiel (occasional)
  • Red-rumped Parrot (occasional)

Over the years we have lived here we have planted many native Australian plants, not only for their attractiveness when they flower, but also to attract our native wildlife, especially the birds. We have quite a few eremophilas, grevilleas and correas as well as many others. The particular bush shown in the photo has flowers on it for much of the year so the rosellas and honeyeaters head for it on a daily basis. Below is another photo of the same bush, this time with a New Holland Honeyeater having a feed.

Further reading:

New Holland Honeyeater feeding on Eremophila youngii

New Holland Honeyeater feeding on Eremophila youngii

 

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater at Monarto CP

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater

A few days ago my wife and I took advantage of a lovely sunny winter’s day. We’ve had some very gloomy overcast weather in the last month or so, and some sunshine was an event to celebrate. We went for a drive to Monarto Conservation Park which is about a 15 minute drive from our home in Murray Bridge. Monarto CP is about 60km south east of Adelaide in South Australia.

Mind you, the sun may have been shining, and there were no clouds in the sky, and we were well rugged up, but the breeze was still chilly. Never mind, we packed the folding chairs, a Thermos of hot water, some tea bags and some biscuits for afternoon tea. We were prepared.

Before indulging in our treats we went on the walking trail through the park. This is an easy, almost level sandy track through several different habitats. Despite the recent poor weather we were delighted to see so many native plants in flower. I have included a few photos below. While my wife has a good working knowledge of our native birds, her main interest is in the native plants (you can read about her interest on her site here).

I have found over the years that birding in the Monarto Conservation Park can be rather hit or miss. Sometimes the birds can be singing and busily feeding and flying around. On other occasions the bird life can be quiet and inactive. Much of this is due to two main factors: weather conditions and what is flowering.

On this occasion there seemed to be a great deal of activity but, wouldn’t you know it – the birds were not showing themselves all that much. In fact, I only managed reasonable – certainly not brilliant – photos of one species: the Tawny-crowned Honeyeater as shown in the photo above. I should be pleased; the photos taken were the first I have managed of this species.

This honeyeater is a widespread species of southern Australia, from coastal NSW and Tasmania, much of Victoria, southern South Australia and south-western Western Australia. Its preferred habitats include mallee, heathlands, eucalyptus woodlands and street trees. It can easily be confused with the similar looking Crescent Honeyeater – which initially I did.

Further reading:

Bird list:

  • Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
  • Red Wattlebird
  • Mallee Ringneck parrot
  • Silvereye
  • Grey Shrike-thrush
  • Australian Magpie
  • Southern Scrub-robin
  • Grey Currawong
  • Weebill
  • Grey Fantail
  • New Holland Honeyeater
  • Brown-headed Honeyeater
  • Grey Butcherbird
  • Tawny-crowned Honeyeater
  • Little Raven
  • Willie Watail
  • Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
  • Shy heathwren
Grevillea lavandulacea

Grevillea lavandulacea

Sundew

Sundew

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Red Wattlebirds and Eucalypts

Eucalyptus sideroxylon rosea  - Red Ironbark

Eucalyptus sideroxylon rosea – Red Ironbark

Red Wattlebirds are one of the largest species of honeyeater in Australia. They are also one of the more common species of honeyeater over their range which is southern Australia.

The Red Wattlebird is a resident breeding species in our garden and on our five acre block of mallee scrub here in Murray Bridge, South Australia. We see them every day and we hear them calling throughout the day. During the warmer days they are frequent visitors to our bird baths, bullying most other species away from the water.

Over recent days we have been observing several wattlebirds feeding on the flowers of the Eucalyptus sideroxylon rosea tree in our drive-way. The common name of the tree is Red Iron-bark. I tried to get a photo of one of them feeding on the flowers but they always flew away before I could sneak up within camera range.

So – instead of getting frustrated by my lack of photos of the feeding birds, I have decided to show some photos of the flowers of the trees for your enjoyment.

Further reading:

Eucalyptus sideroxylon rosea  - Red Ironbark

Eucalyptus sideroxylon rosea – Red Ironbark

Eucalyptus sideroxylon rosea  - Red Ironbark

Eucalyptus sideroxylon rosea – Red Ironbark

Eucalyptus sideroxylon rosea  - Red Ironbark

Eucalyptus sideroxylon rosea – Red Ironbark

 

Time for a sweet break

Yellow-throated Miner feeding on a banksia flower

Yellow-throated Miner feeding on a banksia flower

The various species of banksias are often well favoured by our native birds and especially our many honeyeater species. Banksias are often bushes or small trees with dense foliage, ideal for many of our smaller birds like finches, thornbills and the like because the leaves provide shelter from predators such as hawks and eagles. The dense leaf cover also provides ideal protection for nesting sites.

Banksias are also good producers of nectar in their many large flowers. The flower shown in the photo above is on the smaller side; many are much bigger. The Yellow-throated Miner, one of the many honeyeater species in Australia, obviously loves this one. The photo was taken in the grounds of the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales.

White-throated Treecreeper

White-throated Treecreeper

White-throated Treecreeper

On my recent visit to the Lane Cove National Park in Sydney a spent a half hour or so slowly walking along one of the roads through the park, trying to find and photograph some of the birds present in the park. It was a rather frustrating time and although I managed to add a few birds to my list, I wasn’t very successful at getting many photos.

The above shot of a White-throated treecreeper – a poor shot at that – was the only one I can use here. So instead of returning to the car without any photos, I turned my attention to some of the flowers.

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