The Noisy Miner, one of a very common native honeyeater species, is something of an enigmatic bird in our area. It is common almost everywhere, from gardens to parks, along the river and roadside vegetation and in nearby farming land. Yet I’ve never recorded this species on our five acre block which is about five kilometres from where this photo was taken.
My records go back almost 30 years and I only have one very dubious record of the species near our home. It was based entirely on call, but ever since I have doubted this record as being correct. I became a little excited a few weeks ago when I saw about a dozen in roadside trees along the nearby road where I go for my daily walk. So far, they haven’t ventured on to our land. One day, perhaps.
In reality, if they do become a resident species I probably won’t be all that pleased. They can be a little pest where fresh fruit is concerned, and they can also be very aggressive towards most other species, driving the smaller ones away and taking over feeding zones and nesting sites.
Last Saturday I had a meeting in Gawler which is just over an hour’s drive from home. I had a little time on my way home, so I stopped for a hour at Hale Conservation Park near Williamstown in the Mt Lofty Ranges. We often drive past this park going to or from our daughter’s home in Clare, but we’ve only ever stopped a couple of times. This time I had a hour of birding on a lovely sunny winter’s afternoon.
The birding was a little slow with only a handful of species obvious, mostly calling. A few days ago I showed a photo of a Scarlet Robin (click here) that obligingly posed near me. I saw quite a few Yellow-faced Honeyeaters flitting around in the tree tops, but none settled close enough for a decent photo. The best of a poor set of photos is shown below. This is the best photo I have of this species, which probably means that I need to get out birding more often seeing it is quite a common species.
The final photo on today’s post is a close-up of some of the wildflowers growing in the park. I must visit again in the springtime when plenty of native plants will be in flower.
Today I attended the meeting of a writers’ group to which I belong. It was held in the home of a fellow writer who lives in Gawler, about an hour north of Adelaide and just over an hour’s drive from my home. It was an inspiring time hearing about the projects of my colleagues and the discussion lasted several hours – until the lunch food beckoned. The talk still continued over the meal.
On my way home I decided to do an hour of birding in Hale Conservation Park, just a few kilometres from Williamstown in the Adelaide Hills. It had been a few years since I’d walked through parts of the park. Despite the welcome sunshine, birdlife was a little slow. A few birds were calling but I didn’t see much. Eventually, just as I was about to turn back towards the car park, I saw a group of honeyeaters feeding in several trees near the path. They were Eastern Spinebills, New Holland Honeyeaters and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters. Most didn’t sit still long enough to focus my camera on them, though I did manage a few shots of the Yellow-faced.
As I was following them around, a male Scarlet Robin came and perched on a branch less than two metres from me. I had about three seconds to zoom, focus and press the shutter. The bird was gone just as quickly as it had come; I didn’t see it again. I’m so thankful that I managed to get it more or less in focus.
Sometimes you just get lucky!
Sometimes everything just works really well when taking photos of birds.
Here is a case in point.
I looked out of the window from my office and saw this New Holland Honeyeater perched on one of the branches of a bush in the garden. I grabbed my camera and clicked; I was quite pleased with the result.
Sometimes you do win them.
As I wrote here a few days ago I am currently visiting my daughter in Ethiopia and doing some interesting birding on the side. You’ll have to wait until the New Year to see photos of the amazing birds I am seeing.
About a week ago I had an urgent email from a journalist with our daily newspaper “The Advertiser” which is distributed throughout South Australia. She was asking permission to publish one of my bird photos in the Saturday edition. The accompanying article explained how Noisy Miners, a protected Australian native bird, are causing many problems in gardens around our capital city, Adelaide. Many are calling for a cull of this species due to their aggressive nature towards other native bird species, especially small birds like Red-browed Finches.
I didn’t bring my computer with me as I am using my daughter’s. I couldn’t supply the journalist with a high resolution photo for the paper. So I referred her to my son who managed, with some clever lateral thinking and searching, to find the photo on our backup files. The article went ahead featuring my photo.
You can see the photo and read the article here: Scientists want noisy miner cull.