My wife and I are currently visiting family in Sydney. Yesterday we were free from helping out with the grandchildren for a few hours, so we packed a picnic lunch and headed out to a few potential birding spots.
One of the places I was keen to revisit after many years was Long Reef Point next to the Long Reef Golf Course, Dee Why north-east of Sydney CBD.
It was a cool, dull, overcast day and the birding was quite slow. Despite this I made quite a nice little list of local resident birds but few photos. While there I realised it was the wrong time of year. Most of the migrant wading birds had long flown north to Asia for our winter. Wise birds.
During our visit, my wife and I sat quietly on a rock at the top of the point reaching out to sea from the mainland. Watching the waves come in can be very good for the soul, and very relaxing. We were pleased that it was a calm day; on windy days one could easily get blown off the cliff onto the beach or rocks below.
As we sat quietly a family of Variegated fairy-wrens came to visit within a few metres of where we sat. Despite the fact that wrens move incredibly quickly, I was able to get several good shots, shown on today’s post. The one below of female is quite delightful. It looks for all the world like she is scolding us for intruding on their territory.
Over the almost30 years we have lived in our present home we have rarely seen any wrens in our garden, part of a five acre block of fruit trees and mallee scrub with some native Australian plants thrown in for good measure. In most cases these occasional visitors were the locally common Variegated Fairy-wren. There are several thriving families up the hill in a mallee and native pine reserve about a kilometre away.
In other parts of Murray Bridge the Superb Fairy-wren is the common and dominant species. Just over a year ago we came back from an overseas holiday to be greeted with two Superb Fairy-wrens having quite happily taken up residence in our garden in our absence. It was a delightful welcome home present. In the coming months we saw them frequently, much to our continued delight.
Then they went quiet for a few weeks. Mmmm… had they moved on, we wondered?
To our increased delight they now number three: a coloured male and two uncoloured birds. Had they recruited another from nearby, or was the new one an offspring? We’ll never know. In recent days I’ve seen the three of them often, but sadly the male in in eclipse plumage and has lost most of his colour. In fact, he looks decidedly scruffy, not the magnificent colours shown in today’s photos. These shots were taken a few weeks ago. I also managed a good shot of one of the females (or uncoloured male?).
I should explain that all of these photos were taken in our gravel covered driveway. Our garden is far more attractive than it appears in these photos.
We used to have a few wrens in our garden from time to time, mainly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. On all occasions they were Variegated Fairy-wrens, which is not the dominant wren species of the region.
About a year ago on our return from six weeks’ holiday overseas, we were greeted by two Superb Fairy-wrens, a male and a female, who had taken up residence in our absence. (Read about that here.) We have seen them almost every day since – except for the last month. Suddenly they have reappeared, this time with a third, uncoloured, bird. It is entirely possible that they have nested nearby without telling us, or giving away the location of their nest.
All three birds took delight in having a good splash in one of our bird baths yesterday while I was finishing my breakfast and trying to complete the crossword in the paper. Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough with the camera, so I’ll use a photo taken elsewhere on another occasion.