A raft of rosellas
Earlier this week I spotted several birds coming in to land on the swimming pool cover in my garden. I keep the cover on the pool during the winter months to stop twigs from nearby trees falling into the water. The cover also stops excessive evaporation of the water.
During recent months, however, the winter rains have been quite good here where I live in Murray Bridge, South Australia. Other regions have been in serious drought conditions. Whenever it rains, small, shallow puddles of water gather on top of the pool cover. These pools are very inviting to the local birds and any others passing by.
When I stealthily crept closer to the pool I discovered three Adelaide Rosellas had landed on the pool cover and they were having a lovely time splashing around in the shallow pools of water. I crept quietly back into the house to get my camera, but by the time I came out again they were ready to leave. I didn’t get a chance to take some photos.
When I first moved to my home on the western edge of town over 30 years ago, I never recorded Adelaide Rosellas in my garden. Over the last ten to 15 years, their visits have become more and more frequent. Sometimes several months go by without sighting them, and then I will see some several months in a row. I guess you could say that their visits are somewhat sporadic. I certainly cannot call them a resident species like the Mallee Ringnecks which are always around somewhere on my five-acre block.
The Adelaide Rosella is a sub-species of the Crimson Rosella, common here in the southern parts of South Australia, as well as throughout the eastern states. I have also seen the Yellow Rosella nearby, another sub-species.
Because I didn’t get a chance to get a photo of the three visitors this week, I have used a photo of one taken some years ago (see above).
Feeding Adelaide Rosellas
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.
- Get out of my patch
- Red wattlebird in Eremophila bush
- Mallee Native Plants Nursery – my wife’s site about Australian plants
Rosellas come to visit
This morning while we were having breakfast a small flock of four Adelaide Rosellas came to visit our garden. It was delightful to see them feeding on some of the flowers of our native plants such as eremophilas. This sighting is notable in so much as they are uncommon visitors to our garden here on the outskirts of Murray Bridge, some 80km south east of Adelaide, South Australia.
Adelaide Rosellas are a sub-species of the widespread Crimson Rosella, a common species in southern and eastern Australia. The Adelaide Rosella is largely confined to the Adelaide region through to the mid-north districts of the state. Until recent years I have not observed this sub-species so far east of the Mt Lofty Ranges, and they seem to be extending their range eastwards. We are now seeing them every few months in our garden.
A colourful visitor to our garden
Last week while we were having breakfast in our sun room, we had a very colourful visitor. This Adelaide Rosella, a sub-species of the more common Crimson Rosella, came to check out our bird bath. Sadly, I had neglected to top it up over the last week or so and we’d had some windy and sunny days and it was dry. The rosella stayed for only a few moments before flying off.
Adelaide Rosellas are common in the Mt Lofty Ranges some 50km to the west, and through the mid-north of South Australia. Here where I live in Murray Bridge 80km west of Adelaide, they are widespread but not common.
The red on the feathers varies from almost a deep crimson, as in the Crimson Rosella, through to a very washed out orange. Further upstream along the River Murray, another sub-species, the Yellow Rosella is quite common.
Crimson Rosella in Murray Bridge
Crimson Rosellas are a common parrot of the eastern states of Australia. Here in South Australia they are largely confined to the south east of the state. A hybrid race called the Adelaide Rosella is common parrot of the Adelaide region, including the Mt Lofty Ranges and the mid-north of the state.
In recent years they have gradually expanded their range east towards our home here in Murray Bridge. I am seeing them here more and more often, including regular visitors to our garden.
To my surprise, we recently had two Crimson Rosellas briefly visit our garden. This is the first that we have observed in nearly 30 years living here. In today’s photos I show the two birds seen – one an adult quite significantly deeper in colour than the Adelaide Rosellas – the other in juvenile plumage.
This interesting observation raises several questions:
- Is this species expanding its range along with the Adelaide Rosella?
- Were these two birds aviary escapes, after all, they are relatively common cage birds in our area?