While we were driving through the Australian Botanic Gardens Mt Annan just before Christmas last year, we came across a small flock of Red-rumped Parrots feeding on the roadside grass. As far as I can remember, I haven’t observed this species in the Sydney region before. All that means is that I haven’t been looking in the right places and haven’t been out birding enough in Sydney. Perhaps I play with the grandchildren too much every time we go there to visit. No – never!
In this small flock I managed to get photos of a male (above) and a female (below). The male is showing the red rump (hence its name) and the female is plainer in colours.
Where has the time gone?
I was just getting over Christmas and then WHAM! New Year hits us and now I find that a week – a whole week – of 2014 has gone by without me wishing all my readers a Happy New Year.
Someone please slow down the clock – or add another month or two to the calendar. I need an extra few weeks/months in every year to get done the things I plan to do.
Many years ago I had a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon pinned up near my desk at work. The caption read: “God put me on Earth to achieve a certain number of things. Right now I’m so far behind I am going to live forever.” I feel that way right now – and have frequently felt it over recent years.
So with no further ado, let me wish all of my readers a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
One of the hindrances to not sharing anything new here recently has been the peaceful passing of my mother-in-law. It has meant a flurry of activity, including a rushed trip home from Sydney where I’d hoped to have been out birding a little more. Mum’s funeral was a celebration of the great things about her – not the hardships and ill health of recent years. It was also a time of gathering together family and friends to remember the good times with much laughter.
What about the birds?
I’d better get around to telling you about the birds I’ve seen recently. One species I longed to see in my son’s garden in Artarmon was a King Parrot. Even my 5 year old grandson can identify that one because it is a frequent visitor to the garden. Sadly none made an appearance while I was playing with the children during our three week stay.
On a brighter note I did see about 4 Australian King Parrots during our day-long visit to Mt Annan Botanic Gardens at Campbelltown in the south of great Sydney. The light conditions were poor – very overcast – when I tried to photograph them, and the photo below is the best of a poor lot. At least you can see that it is, indeed, a male King Parrot.
The photo at the top of this page is one of my favourites and was taken in one of the walk-through aviaries at Adelaide Zoo here in South Australia.
The Red-tailed Black-cockatoo is an impressive bird. Not only is it a spectacular bird when seen flying overhead in a large flock, its colours are intense. When seen up close like this one in a walk through aviary at the Adelaide Zoo, one gets a new appreciation of the size of this species. I was certainly careful to keep my fingers away from that enormous beak – see the photo below to see what I mean!
This is but one of a number of black cockatoos found in various parts of Australia. This one has several races spread over a wide range. Large numbers can be found in central, western and northern parts of Australia, while smaller numbers are found in an isolated and endangered population in south eastern South Australia and western Victoria.
We have a family of 6 to 8 Mallee Ringneck parrots resident in our garden. We see them every day and they love feeding on the flowers of plants like the Eremophila shown in the photo above. They are also partial to our pears – before they are fully ripe. (Last summer we managed to foil them by draping bird netting over the trees. Yes!)
Quite often we have seen several of the parrots sitting at the entrance of a large hollow in one of our trees. We also see them entering and leaving this hollow. We’ve suspected that they have been nesting in this hollow, but we lacked definite proof until earlier this week.
My wife, who runs a small nursery growing Australian native plants (click to visit), was working in the nursery when she noticed a ringneck feeding a young one in the tree near her. So we can only assume that they have recently used the hollow (or another one nearby) to raise a family.
The Mallee Ringneck is a race of the Australian Ringneck.
The Brown-throated Conure is found in central and South America. It will often be found in the company of macaws. It feeds on seeds, fruits and flowers but will also raid cultivated crops such as mango and millet. Like many parrots, they congregate in large, noisy communities, especially when feeding and roosting.
I have not seen this species in its natural habitat. These photos were taken earlier this year on a visit to my local zoo in Adelaide, South Australia.