We’ve been having some really long spells of hot weather recently, right up to the last few days when autumn should be gently sneaking in, along with cooler, more mellow days.
During the hot weather I like to keep up the water supply to our various bird baths in our garden. Most of the birds appreciate to fresh water and come for a drink, or a bath and often both. It is not unusual to have a parade of ten or a dozen different species attend the water source in a ten minute period. It can become a busy, noisy airport at times.
When I choose to write or read in our sun room with a good view of several bird baths, I will often have the camera at the ready. The passing procession of birds is a wonderful distraction, but it is times like this that I also get some excellent photos, like those of two White-winged Choughs last week. With the camera on 20x zoom, their bright glowing red eyes take on quite an evil look.
- Time for a bath – a long list of species, both birds and animals, using our bird baths
This post was updated on 20th September 2015.
Over recent weeks the flock of White-winged Choughs that frequently visit our garden have been largely absent. A few days ago I found out why.
They’ve been nesting somewhere nearby – but far away enough not to attract my attention. Now every time they pass through looking for a feed (and disturbing the Australian Magpies into the bargain) they have several young ones to feed, their begging calls making sure they aren’t forgotten.
I have been a little puzzled about our resident pair of Australian Magpies this spring. Although they showed signs of building a nest earlier in the spring they seemed to abandon the idea after a few days. I had observed them refurbishing the nest they have used for the last four or five years. Instead of continuing the nest building and then sitting on the eggs and finally being busy feeding the young in the nest, they seemed content to just occupy themselves searching for food during the day, visiting the bird bath (as in the photo above) or chasing away the White-winged Choughs whenever they came into the garden.
I thought they’d given up on breeding this season.
It seems I was wrong. Earlier this week I was passing the garage when I saw a young magpie fresh out of the nest, all downy and begging for food.
This is perplexing. I still haven’t found any nest. There are two possible explanations:
- They made a new nest in a location I haven’t yet discovered. This is entirely possible as it would take quite a while to check every tree on our five acre block.
- The young bird I saw was from a neighbouring magpie territory and it had wandered into our garden.
It does not matter. It is good to see that at least one magpie was hatched in this locality this year.
We regularly have a family of about 8 – 10 White-winged Choughs in our garden. I can’t really say that they are a resident species, but they do come for a visit almost every day. Sometimes they hang around for an hour or two, digging little holes in the soil or searching under leaf litter for lunch. Sometimes they just fly through on their way next door, or down the road. We are usually aware of their presence; they can be noisy at times.
Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the sun on the back veranda reading a magazine. Without a warning call, a large flock of White-winged Choughs flew past less than five metres away. They headed over the fence into our neighbour’s garden. I went after them but didn’t have time to grab the camera. Just as well – they didn’t hang around long enough for photos. They created quite a hullabaloo – I’m not sure what the issue was, but as they flew off down the road I managed to count them – at least 28 birds. This is the most I have seen here (from memory).
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This post was updated on November 1st 2016.
At the moment I am working outside in the cool of the evening on my laptop. I’d just sat down to do something with no thought about birding when I was distracted by a flock of White-winged Choughs in our garden.
Normally we have a family groups of about 8 regularly patrolling the grounds, feeding and minding their own business.
I was attracted by the extra noise being created by this flock this evening. I looked up and counted at least 16 birds flying past, all making quite a racket. This number is a little unusual as normally family groups around here number from about five to a dozen, rarely more.
All I can assume is that two neighbouring groups have met where their territories cross over. That was the probable cause of the noisy and larger than normal group. Whatever the reason, they have now moved on and I can no longer hear them. Their territories can cover many hectares.
The photo above was taken a few weeks ago a long distance from here in Murray Bridge. It was taken during a visit to Canberra Botanic Gardens.