A few days ago I wrote about our feisty Willie Wagtail (click here to read the article). I made some comments about some of the birds I had seen our resident Willie Wagtails chasing off from near their nest. They can get very protective of the nest, the eggs and especially the young once they hatch.
Yesterday I looked out of the window and saw it again attacking a much larger bird. Because of the distance – about 40 metres – I was not sure what it actually was, but it was ducking every few seconds as the Willie Wagtail attacked its head. Fortunately my binoculars were within reach but as I grabbed them the bird flew off to another part of the garden near the front of the house with the noisy Willie Wagtail snapping at its tail.
I went to the sun room and looked out at a bush nearby. The much larger Collared Sparrowhawk was cowering in bush, trying valiantly to escape from this angry little bird. I was able to get a good view of the hawk before it flew off again, hotly pursued by the Willie Wagtail until it was well away from the nest.
Their resilience and sheer bravery in the face of great odds always amazes me. Quite the inspirational little bird.
The photos on this post were taken some time ago. I should keep my camera handy too.
Earlier this week we drove from our home in Murray Bridge to Sydney, a two day drive of over 1300km. It is a long and interesting drive. Our purpose is always to stay with our son and spend time with him and our two grandchildren.
Along the way we usually stop for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. I like to choose spots where I know I have a reasonable chance of seeing some birds. This does not always work; sometimes the weather conspires against good birding, like when the wind is blowing and I have trouble identifying the birds calling.
I also keep a sharp eye out as we are driving along, listing the birds I see. I should add that I only add to my list when my wife is driving, though even when I am behind the wheel I have been known to dictate lists to my wife – who obligingly scribes for me.
On this current trip I saw an interesting case of brave bird behaviour. As we neared the town of Narrandera a Wedge-tailed Eagle flew very low over our car. These are magnificent birds even when seen soaring high up in the sky, but at close quarters they are truly impressive. What made this sighting even more interesting were the two Australian magpies hotly pursuing the much larger eagle. There is obviously no love lost between these two species.
This is not an isolated or unique occurrence. I have seen smaller birds harassing much bigger species like the wedge-tail. I have even seen the comparatively small Willie Wagtail tacking a Wedge-tail Eagle. The eagle could easily swallow the wagtail in several gulps. It would be just a snack to the much larger bird.
We get a great deal of pleasure from watching the constant parade of birds coming to our birdbath. This Willie Wagtail was really getting into the art of having a really good soaking. It is also situated strategically for great photo opportunities too.
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.
On our walk this morning we saw a very active Willie Wagtail, flitting around in the early morning sun gathering his breakfast.
As we approached I noticed something different. It didn’t look normal. As it flew past quite close to us I realised that it had no tail. In fact, it looked quite dumpy, not at all like a Willie Wagtail. It still managed some nifty aerobatics as it gathered its morning food.
Needless to say I didn’t have a camera with me, so below is a photo of a normal looking Willie Wagtail.
PS: Should I have called it a Willie Wag???