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.
Over the last few days I have been sharing some of the photos I took several weeks ago when I took time out from my busy schedule to do some birding. Despite being a chilly winter’s day, the conditions were quite acceptable and it was good to feel some sunshine after all the dull wet weather we’ve had so far this year.
One of the birds I enjoy seeing most times along the Murray River here in Murray Bridge is the Darter, shown in the photos below. One has to be quick to see this species in the water when it’s fishing. It dives quickly and often stays under water for a considerable length of time. After every period of feeding, every Darter and every cormorant needs to find a suitable perch and “hang out the washing”, that is, they need to dry their wings before they become waterlogged and drown.
I was able to approach this individual to within five metres as it perched there. Interestingly, this one appears to be an immature female, going by the plumage.
As regular readers of this site would know, I live in the rural city of Murray Bridge in South Australia. Our city straddles Australia’s largest waterway, the Murray River. Last week I took an hour out of my busy schedule to take a few photos of birds at Sturt Reserve, named after the early explorer, Charles Sturt who sailed past this spot in 1830.
One of the birds I photographed on the small jetty in the reserve was a Crested Tern. This part of the river is probably about 100km upstream from the river mouth (I’m guessing) but we have several bird species more common along the coast venture upstream this far, including the Crested Terns and the Caspian Terns.
Little Corellas are very common around our district here in the Murraylands of South Australia. Along the River Murray and in some parks around town flocks of 200 to 500 are common. And very noisy – not to mention destructive when they start chewing on the trees in the parks. This morning I visited the Farmers’ Markets held at Sturt Reserve on the banks of the river and I saw flocks of 50 or more in a number of spots, most of the birds on the grass feeding.
Despite these large numbers in our district we rarely have then visiting our garden, even though we live only 5km from the river. I’m not sure of the reason for this. Perhaps they have access to more food along the river, perhaps there are more nesting hollows there or it could be some other factor at play.
When we do have a flock fly over like it did this week, we immediately can tell they are around due to their raucous call. It’s not something easily ignored. The flock this week was only about 60 strong but they still made quite a racket.
A few weeks ago went had a family get together. Our son and family were over here for our grandson’s 3rd birthday, and my wife’s sister and niece and her family came down from the mid north of the state. we had a barbecue lunch at home and in the afternoon we went to Sturt Reserve so the children could play on the excellent playground there.
This reserve is popular with locals and visitors. It has plenty of lawn areas for picnics along the banks of the Murray River. After the children had played for a while we all went for a short stroll along the river bank. I had my camera ready – but more for people shots. I wasn’t really taking all that much notice of the birds. I still managed a few good shots as shown here. The Whiskered Terns (see photo below) was a challenged as they constantly flew over the water. I must practise more at photographing birds in flight.