Birding while in bed

I’m recovering from a severe bout of  influenza. Worst I’ve had in many years – possibly worst ever. I spent the best part of 9 days mostly in bed.

Fortunately our bedroom window over looks the garden. As I reposed in my sick bed, head aching, sneezing every few minutes, blowing my nose every minute or two (I went through about 6 boxes of tissues – 200 to the box) I was able to occasionally glimpse the bird life outside.

The White-winged Choughs are frequent garden visitors – usually daily. They didn’t disappoint me. It always amuses me the way the strut their way down the driveway looking for all the world like they own the place.

The resident Willie Wagtails are always busy searching out some tasty morsel amongst the plants in the garden. They were regular visitors come to cheer me up.

Several times during my illness the local gang of  White-browed Babblers came on sorties through the undergrowth, their calls sometimes making me think we’d been invaded by a pack of meowing cats.

The local Little Ravens are quite vocal at present and are also frequent visitors. Two of them were acting suspiciously, pulling bark from the trunk of a Melaleuca bush.  They then flew off purposefully across the road. I wonder if they are making a nest? I haven’t been well enough to check them out.

New Holland Honeyeaters are the most obvious birds in our garden, both in numbers and in noise levels. Even through the cold, wintery, showery weather they are constantly on the go, feeding, flying around and generally bossing around anything that dares to come near.

The resident family of Australian Magpies has been rather quiet recently. They are still around but I think this is just the calm before the breeding storm. Once they start nesting the Territory Wars begin in earnest.

Our resident pair of Grey Shrike-thrushes are usually quiet and reserved, going about their daily activities with little fuss. On a few occasions while I was sick they would come near to the window and delight me with their rich melodious call. It is enough to cheer even the sickest person.

Most days we have either two or four Mallee Ringneck parrots in the garden. Two of them are constantly checking  out a hollow in a tree near the shed. We live in hope that someday they will deem it suitable for nesting. So far this has not happened.

This is just a small sample of the many birds found daily in our garden. My recent enforced stay in bed made me realise how rich the bird life was around here, something I sometimes take for granted.

Happy birding – wherever you are.

Mallee Ringneck Parrot

Mallee Ringneck Parrot

28 Choughs just flew by

White Winged Chough carrying nesting material

White Winged Chough carrying nesting material

We regularly have a family of about 8 – 10 White-winged Choughs in our garden. I can’t really say that they are a resident species, but they do come for a visit almost every day. Sometimes they hang around for an hour or two, digging little holes in the soil or searching under leaf litter for lunch. Sometimes they just fly through on their way next door, or down the road. We are usually aware of their presence; they can be noisy at times.

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the sun on the back veranda reading a magazine. Without a warning call, a large flock of White-winged Choughs flew past less than five metres away. They headed over the fence into our neighbour’s garden. I went after them but didn’t have time to grab the camera. Just as well – they didn’t hang around long enough for photos. They created quite a hullabaloo – I’m not sure what the issue was, but as they flew off down the road I managed to count them – at least 28 birds. This is the most I have seen here (from memory).


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This post was updated on November 1st 2016.

Birding while doing the washing

I think I might have commented on this before, but I can’t remember where. With over 800 blog posts it would take a while to find the reference to it.

Hang on a minute: this blog has a search facility. Doh.

A few second’s search brought up this post about seeing a Peregrine Falcon while I was hanging out the washing one day last year. And the search box at the top of each page on this blog will bring you to a list of articles from the archives that help you find what you are looking for. More articles about birds I’ve seen while hanging out the clothes can be found here.

Now – back to my original reason for writing this post.

On Tuesday morning I was hanging out the washing. Nothing unusual about that; I do it most Mondays except that we’ve now changed to Tuesdays because of our university studies, but that’s another story.

In the quietness of the morning I was suddenly aware of a splashing noise. I glanced over the fence at our neighbour’s bird bath. Water was spraying everywhere, as if they had a small sprinkler going on the lawn. Now here in South Australia we haven’t been allowed to use sprinklers for several years due to the water restrictions during the current drought. What’s more, it wasn’t one of the designated watering days anyway.

On closer inspection – I didn’t have a clear view of the bird bath – I discovered two White-winged Choughs having a glorious bath, water flying in all directions. It was a warm morning and they were taking full advantage of the water provided. Of course I didn’t have my camera on me.

You can read more articles about White-winged Choughs here.

Australia Day 2009

Laughing Kookaburra, Lane Cove National Park, Sydney

Laughing Kookaburra, Lane Cove National Park, Sydney

Happy Australia Day to all of my readers.

I’ve included a photo today of that iconic Australian bird, the Laughing Kookaburra. It is one of our most recognisable and well loved birds, and its distinctive laughing call is familiar to almost everyone in this country as well as many people who have never been to Australia.

Even though it was a public holiday I didn’t go out birding. It was too hot, reaching 40C (104F) under our veranda this afternoon. Instead I spent some of the morning working on a project on the back veranda until the heat chased me inside to air conditioned comfort. I spent some of the day in front of the television watching South Africa beat Australia in the cricket game here in Adelaide.

The birding all day was rather slow in our garden. The heat does that to the bird life. I’d forgotten to fill the bird bath this morning and so there was little action there. A few Galahs flew over during the cooler part of the evening. Several Little Ravens were calling loudly nearby. The Australian Magpies seemed to be keeping a low profile today – we didn’t even see them. The regular patrol undertaken every day by our local White-winged Choughs never happened, and even the bossy New Holland Honeyeaters seemed subdued. At one stage a small group of Mallee Ringneck parrots flew past noisily, but they didn’t hang around for long.

It does not bode well for the birding over the next week. The forecast is for a heatwave – that is, temperatures over 35C  (95F) – for at least the next 5 days and perhaps even a week.

Time to attend to some indoor projects, methinks.

A Large Flock of White-winged Choughs

White-winged Choughs, Botanic Gardens, Canberra

White-winged Choughs, Botanic Gardens, Canberra

At the moment I am working outside in the cool of the evening on my laptop. I’d just sat down to do something with no thought about birding when I was distracted by a flock of White-winged Choughs in our garden.

Normally we have a family groups of about 8 regularly patrolling the grounds, feeding and minding their own business.

I was attracted by the extra noise being created by this flock this evening. I looked up and counted at least 16 birds flying past, all making quite a racket. This number is a little unusual as normally family groups around here number from about five to a dozen, rarely more.

All I can assume is that two neighbouring groups have met where their territories cross over. That was the probable cause of the noisy and larger than normal group. Whatever the reason, they have now moved on and I can no longer hear them. Their territories can cover many hectares.

The photo above was taken a few weeks ago a long distance from here in Murray Bridge. It was taken during a visit to Canberra Botanic Gardens.