Of Cuckoos and Kingfishers
This week we have been spending quite a deal of time in the garden and especially in my wife’s native plant nursery. We have been busy sorting through the plants and preparing for a large plant sale in Adelaide next week.
Being outside for much of the day has its advantages as far as birding is concerned. We live in a relatively quiet area and so we can hear birds calling from all around us. We also have a small patch of mallee scrub near the nursery which is at the back of our house.
During this last week I have been aware of several special visitors to our garden. Yesterday I wrote about the Rainbow Bee-eaters returning for their summer holidays in the south. I hope they nest nearby.
On Thursday we were delighted to hear a Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo calling near the house. I caught a brief glimpse of it sitting on the nearby power line but it flew off after a few seconds. We have heard it calling on a number of occasions since. This is another species that travels south for the summer. It is regularly recorded breeding in this part of Australia during the summer months. It is also a regular visitor to our garden.
Yesterday we were surprised and delighted to also hear a Sacred Kingfisher calling somewhere nearby. Every time I went chasing the call it would disappear, or stop calling, so I didn’t get to see it. I checked on my computer database and it has been nearly six years since the last visit of this species to our garden. More recently I have seen it on a number of occasions along the nearby Murray River.
The photo above was taken a few weeks ago in the walk through aviary of the Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills.
Heard a Horsfield’s this morning when I was walking out to get the paper. Haven’t checked on the Bee-eaters or Sacreds yet.
It is interesting that this is the only cuckoo we have heard this spring. I wonder if they have missed the main breeding season. Many of the honeyeaters, for example, have young in the nest already, or they’ve left the nest.
I have no idea what the Sacred Kingfisher sounds like but I saw a bird resembling this photo in our backyard today.
There was no distinct blue colour, just a “grubby” whitish front, black across the eyes and around the back of the neck and the top of the head was grey. The wings were also grey. The things I noticed were the heavy-set body, the beak – it seemed almost upturned from my vantage point and the tail was “W” shaped – two rounded feathers at the end and quite slim.
Could it be a female or juvenile or do I have the wrong bird?
It almost sounds like it’s a juvenile bird. Bit hard to tell, even with you description.
Just want to say that both my neighbour and I have seen a bird matching the picture of the sacred kingfisher in our large gardens over the last several months. We live opposite a bushland reserve containing a creek, in Chadstone Melbourne and we both have a number of large eucalypts on our property. I got a very good sighting of the bird today with my binoculars.