I went for an early morning walk today. It was an enforced walk: I had just taken our car to local garage for a regular service and check up. I could have asked my wife to pick me up in her car but she was still in bed. Despite the early hour, the air was already quite warm and I could understand why most of South Australia has had fire bans issued for the day. Our first burst of hot weather for the summer promises to be a good one. Time to hunker down and do some indoor things. Like reading. Or writing this post.
On my morning walk I was aware of the vast amount of activity on the part of the birds. My walk took exactly 28 minutes to complete and I saw or heard most of the locally resident species along the way, including large numbers of Galahs. The highlight of the walk was two Dusky Woodswallows perched on the fence of a nearby neighbour’s property.
While this species is a regular visitor to our little piece of Australia (5 acres), I can’t call it a resident species. This “pair” of birds – I use the term cautiously – have been sighted on a few occasions in the same spot over the last few weeks. I suspect that they are actually a pair and have a nest nearby. Quite a few years ago a pair nested in one of the trees in our front scrub near our house.
Of course, I didn’t have my camera with me this morning, and my phone camera doesn’t have a zoom sufficient for the job, so I have posted below a photo taken some time ago. This was taken in our scrub near the house.
One of those infrequent visitors to our garden is the Dusky Woodswallow, shown in the photo above. In fact, they more often just fly over head on their way somewhere else and don’t even land in our garden. I still count in on my “Garden List” of birds seen. My rule is: if I can see or hear the bird standing in my garden, I count it. We did have them nesting in a tree in our front scrub, but that was many years ago.
Over the last week I have been working outside in the garden – when the hot, summer weather permitted. On a number of occasions a small flock of a dozen or so Dusky Woodswallows flew overhead, hawking insects for minute or two before gliding off elsewhere. They never seem to hang around for long.
Some of the woodswallow species here in Australia can be quite spectacular when they gather in large flocks. On a few occasions I have seen flocks numbering in the many hundred. Quite a sight.
A few minutes ago I had occasion to go outside. I needed a break from my writing and I needed to attend to something before the coming rain storm arrived. Of course I didn’t think I’d see anything unusual while outside so I didn’t take the binoculars.
Murphy’s Law and all that.
A small flock of about twenty woodswallows flew overhead giving their characteristic calls. Not totally sure but they were probably Dusky Woodswallows as that is the main species in this family we get around here. We don’t have them overhead all that often, and when they do come they rarely stay more than a few minutes before flying on. Even less often do they settle. For this reason I haven’t taken all that many photos of this species. The one featured above was taken inside a large aviary at Cleland Wildlife Park. The one below was taken some years ago just up the road – on one of the rare occasions when one perched for me in camera range.