In my last article here I posted some photos of Yellow-rumped Thornbills bathing in the small pools of water which gather after rain on our swimming pool solar blanket. On the same day, a small number of Silvereyes also came for a drink and to bathe. I have shown these in today’s post.
Our swimming pool is in our backyard, a short distance from our back veranda. On nice sunny days when it is not too hot in the middle of summer, or not too cold in the middle of winter, we enjoy sitting on the veranda to have our lunch. Sometimes we take a mid-morning break there for a cup of tea or coffee. We have also taken an afternoon break when gardening.
On all of these occasions, we enjoy the constant parade of birds in our garden, perched on the fence or in the trees nearby, and on the pool cover like the Silvereyes shown today. I often have my binoculars and camera at the ready while we sit there. On this occasion, I managed to get many photos of the Silvereyes and the Yellow-rumped Thornbills. A Grey Fantail was also fluttering around, but you will have to return in a few days’ time to see those photos in my next post.
The water that gathers on our swimming pool cover in the winter and spring months are visited by many birds over the course of each day. In addition to the species I have already mentioned, another frequent visitor is the Magpie Lark. Both the male and the female come on a daily basis, often perching on the pool safety fence and calling loudly, their antiphonal singing a delight to hear. (Antiphonal: when the two birds sing a duet in parts.)
Our resident Australian White-backed Magpies also come to drink, and the bossy Red Wattlebirds will chase the smaller birds off. White-plumed Honeyeaters flit in and out nervously, while the Peaceful Doves take their time, gradually getting closer and closer until they gather the courage to stoop and drink. The Crested Pigeons also come for a drink, though they are usually more interested in mating displays than drinking.
The Welcome Swallows occasionally swoop low over the pool but more often they are seen much higher in the air. The many House Sparrows and Common Starlings come frequently to drink and bathe, but the resident Mallee Ringnecks rarely do so; they prefer to feed in the nearby trees. The Willie Wagtails, however, are frequent visitors to this part of the garden.
As you can see, it is never boring in our garden if you are a birder like myself.
PS: Over the years, I have written articles about all of the birds mentioned in this article. To see photos of them, and to read more about each of them, use the search facility in the top right-hand corner of any page.
Silvereyes are small, dainty birds about the size of a House Sparrow. They are relatively common and widespread throughout its range in eastern and southern Australia.
I can’t call this species a resident species in our garden here in Murray Bridge, but it is a frequent visitor throughout the year. In recent weeks several of them have become regular visitors to our bird baths during the extremely hot weather we have experienced. (Many records have recently been broken regarding high temperatures.)
While I have called it a dainty bird with a delicate demeanour and a soft alluring call, there is a darker side to this bird according to some people. They have a liking for fruit ripening on trees and vines. Their sharp beak is ideal for piercing grapes, apricots, peaches , berries and other fruits, leaving the fruit spoiled as a result. That is why I have gone to much trouble – and expense – to cover our fruit trees with bird netting. My strategy seems to be working – so far.
On my recent visit to Tintinara on a business trip I was able to take out some time to do some birding on the way home. I’d finished work, so the time was my own. Between Tintinara and Coonalpyn in the upper south east of South Australia the highway travels through some very interesting country. The dominant vegetation is mallee and wattle, mixed with banksias and a whole range of interesting smaller plants. My wife wasn’t with me; she is the plant expert in the family. She writes a blog about Australian plants (click here.)
About halfway between these towns is a locality known as Culburra. There was a small town there at one time; now only a few houses. At one point there is a road side rest area for tired travellers. I drove in here, parked the car and wandered into the bush. Nearby there is a water tank; I’m not sure of its purpose as there was a sign warning against drinking the water. A few metres away there was a metal slab set in the ground with water weeping from it. This probably covered a pipeline or possibly even an access point for fire fighting trucks.
The seeping water had formed several little pools and the local birds were taking advantage of the freely available water. I watched in the shadow of a nearby tree for some ten minutes while the procession of birds came to drink. The most frequent drinkers were the Silvereyes – shown in the photos. These beautiful little birds are common in the area and would have to be one of my favourites.
Click on the images to enlarge.
I was working in my home office last week when I heard a sudden bang on the glass about a metre from where I sat. I immediately grabbed the camera and headed out into the garden. There on the garden bed was a little Silvereye, obviously quite stunned but alive. I was able to take a series of close up photos while it recovered. Within a few minutes it had flown off again.
Window strikes by birds is a constant problem around the world. Home windows, office blocks and anywhere glass is used in buildings create a potential hazard for flying birds. At certain times of the day or light conditions the reflections of the surrounding area – sky, garden, forest – give flying birds the false impression that they can fly straight ahead.
In reality, they fly straight into the glass which is acting like a huge mirror. I have read about various techniques for preventing bird strikes on windows but haven’t yet come across a foolproof way of preventing it.
Luckily for this little fellow, he survived.
Click on any image to enlarge the photo.
I’ve been a little distracted from blogging on this site this week – for two reasons.
I’ve been very busy with my studies is one of the reasons.
The second reason is that this week I became a Grandfather for the first time. Our son and daughter in law are currently in Colombia, South America adopting a little boy. You can read about their adventures here. We’ve actually been able to see and speak to the little fellow (7 months old) via a web cam on Skype, wonderful technology which allows us to actually see and hear him in real time.
Meanwhile, you’ll have to be satisfied with a photo of a Silvereye taken earlier this week in our garden.