Eastern Rosella – a new species for our garden list

Eastern Rosella

Eastern Rosella

Eastern Rosellas are one of the colourful parrot species to be found here in Australia. It is a relatively common parrot found in south eastern Australia and Tasmania. It has been introduced into the Mt Lofty Ranges and Adelaide region of south Australia as well as New Zealand.

Here in Murray Bridge I’ve only recorded it once several years ago. On that occasion it appeared to be an aviary escape. The nearest naturally occurring birds are some 60 kilometres to the west.

Over recent days we have had a single Eastern Rosella flying around our garden. This is a new species for my garden list. It does not appear to be a cage bird as it is very flighty. I struggled to get close enough for a reasonable photo. The photos on this post have been enhanced – zoomed in and brightened to show the beautiful colours. Consequently they are not top quality shots.

Eastern Rosella

Eastern Rosella

The behaviour of this individual was interesting. We have several Mallee Ringnecks resident on our property. Recently they produced two young ones that follow them everywhere and beg to be fed. The Eastern Rosella tried to adopt this family who were having none of it. They tried to chase it away but it was most insistent and would fly up and sit close to one of the ringnecks. The ringnecks would then attempt to chase it away again. This continued for about twenty minutes before the rosella gave and flew away. It has been back several times so I don’t know whether it intends taking up residence or not.

It would be a very colourful addition to our garden birds.

Eastern Rosella

Eastern Rosella

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Bird brain podcast #1 with comedian Steve Abbott

Now for something completely different.

Australian radio network ABC has produced a series of podcasts about bird watching. The commentary is provided by comedian Steve Abbott (aka The Sandman) and is the first on 10 episodes.

To listen click here: Bird Brain episode 1

Here is the press release I received about the series:


A definitive list of other people’s bird sightings.

Steve Abbott, aka Sandman, returns to the ABC under the guise of Steve, a middle aged man, who feels lost and dishevelled in life. He comes to the conclusion he needs a hobby to occupy his less than satisfactory life.

Birdbrain, a 10 part podcast series exclusive to abc.net.au/local, will follow Steve as he takes on bird watching, after all he can already tell the difference between the Spotted and the Striated Pardalote.

Like many of us, there is a little bit of a bird watcher in Steve, but after researching a failed TV project several years ago he already has more knowledge than the average person, but less than real bird watchers.

Sadly, for a variety of reasons, Steve finds it hard to go the extra few yards and actually go bird watching very often, so he decides to create a bird list not only from his own sightings, but of other people’s.

Birdbrain is an excuse to talk to Birdwatchers about their lists and then cunningly relate their experiences to one man’s mid life crises, said Abbott.

Most people’s bird lists read more like a diary; where they saw a bird, what they were doing when they saw it; what characteristics this bird has; is it threatened or flourishing, and if so why.

The core of each podcast is Steve’s internal monologue or the diary of Steve’s life, punctuated by his recordings of bird sightings and other birdwatchers sightings. They all go together to form Steve’s list, which may cover every bird in Australia.

It’s a very simple idea that is partly a reflection on Steve’s life, partly about birds, partly about birdwatchers and it has a strong underlying environmental message – birds are a clear and quantifiable barometer for the health of our eco systems.

Other diversions include information on binoculars, footwear, where’s the best place to see particular birds and what to tell your partner when you can’t go to her sister’s birthday party because you have a once in a life time raptor field trip.

The first Birdbrain podcast will be available on Monday 16 February. To subscribe, downloaded or listen on demand go to at abc.net.au/local/podcasts.

Australia Day 2009

Laughing Kookaburra, Lane Cove National Park, Sydney

Laughing Kookaburra, Lane Cove National Park, Sydney

Happy Australia Day to all of my readers.

I’ve included a photo today of that iconic Australian bird, the Laughing Kookaburra. It is one of our most recognisable and well loved birds, and its distinctive laughing call is familiar to almost everyone in this country as well as many people who have never been to Australia.

Even though it was a public holiday I didn’t go out birding. It was too hot, reaching 40C (104F) under our veranda this afternoon. Instead I spent some of the morning working on a project on the back veranda until the heat chased me inside to air conditioned comfort. I spent some of the day in front of the television watching South Africa beat Australia in the cricket game here in Adelaide.

The birding all day was rather slow in our garden. The heat does that to the bird life. I’d forgotten to fill the bird bath this morning and so there was little action there. A few Galahs flew over during the cooler part of the evening. Several Little Ravens were calling loudly nearby. The Australian Magpies seemed to be keeping a low profile today – we didn’t even see them. The regular patrol undertaken every day by our local White-winged Choughs never happened, and even the bossy New Holland Honeyeaters seemed subdued. At one stage a small group of Mallee Ringneck parrots flew past noisily, but they didn’t hang around for long.

It does not bode well for the birding over the next week. The forecast is for a heatwave – that is, temperatures over 35C  (95F) – for at least the next 5 days and perhaps even a week.

Time to attend to some indoor projects, methinks.