On Saturday I was sitting in my comfortable reading chair in my office. I was enjoying a coffee and reading a magazine that had arrived the day before. A sudden flurry of wings at the nearby window caught my attention. (My attention is very easily distracted by birds.)
A Grey Shrike-thrush had landed on the on the window sill barely a metre from where I sat. It pecked at something on the glass – probably an insect caught against the window – took a quick glance in my direction, and flew off to a nearby tree to eat his morning snack.
It is close encounters with our bird life like that which makes this such a wonderful hobby.
I’m recovering from a severe bout of influenza. Worst I’ve had in many years – possibly worst ever. I spent the best part of 9 days mostly in bed.
Fortunately our bedroom window over looks the garden. As I reposed in my sick bed, head aching, sneezing every few minutes, blowing my nose every minute or two (I went through about 6 boxes of tissues – 200 to the box) I was able to occasionally glimpse the bird life outside.
The White-winged Choughs are frequent garden visitors – usually daily. They didn’t disappoint me. It always amuses me the way the strut their way down the driveway looking for all the world like they own the place.
The resident Willie Wagtails are always busy searching out some tasty morsel amongst the plants in the garden. They were regular visitors come to cheer me up.
Several times during my illness the local gang of White-browed Babblers came on sorties through the undergrowth, their calls sometimes making me think we’d been invaded by a pack of meowing cats.
The local Little Ravens are quite vocal at present and are also frequent visitors. Two of them were acting suspiciously, pulling bark from the trunk of a Melaleuca bush. They then flew off purposefully across the road. I wonder if they are making a nest? I haven’t been well enough to check them out.
New Holland Honeyeaters are the most obvious birds in our garden, both in numbers and in noise levels. Even through the cold, wintery, showery weather they are constantly on the go, feeding, flying around and generally bossing around anything that dares to come near.
The resident family of Australian Magpies has been rather quiet recently. They are still around but I think this is just the calm before the breeding storm. Once they start nesting the Territory Wars begin in earnest.
Our resident pair of Grey Shrike-thrushes are usually quiet and reserved, going about their daily activities with little fuss. On a few occasions while I was sick they would come near to the window and delight me with their rich melodious call. It is enough to cheer even the sickest person.
Most days we have either two or four Mallee Ringneck parrots in the garden. Two of them are constantly checking out a hollow in a tree near the shed. We live in hope that someday they will deem it suitable for nesting. So far this has not happened.
This is just a small sample of the many birds found daily in our garden. My recent enforced stay in bed made me realise how rich the bird life was around here, something I sometimes take for granted.
Happy birding – wherever you are.
The Grey Shrike-Thrush is a resident breeding bird species in our garden here in Murray Bridge, South Australia. We really enjoy its beautiful call with its rich tones and far carrying sound. This species is known for its call, but the pair resident in out garden is not all that vocal, even when breeding. In fact, during nesting they are almost silent around here, which tends to be the opposite in many other places.
The Grey Shrike-Thrush is a common and widespread species of bird found throughout most of Australia. There is some plumage variation from one location to another. In northern Australia there are three other Shrike-Thrush species, all of which are still on my “yet to see” list.
Despite this being a resident species in our garden, it has taken me until a few days ago to get a reasonable series of photos.