After the windy days of last week came a few warm still days at the tail end of autumn. This was how all of autumn should have been, but instead we had an extended hot summer. Winter has suddenly begun and rain and cold weather are now the the norm since the past week. May has always been my favourite month for weather here, crisp clear cool windless days with warm welcome sun shine, not too hot not too cold, not too humid. My wife and I set out for a walk in a local favourite Oatley Park Reserve in the warm winter sunshine. This Kookaburra caught my eye as we began our walk. Later I was joined by a family.
One bird that I will always see and hear on a walk through my favourite parks and reserves is the Laughing Kookaburra. It is an all year resident. I was asked by a young boy recently at a seminar I spoke at “Is the Kookaburra really laughing when it makes its sound?”
Most of my life I have observed and noted how group and then begin to call together, often one bird starting and the rest following. Kookaburras communicate, mark time, mark their territory, and give forewarning of bad weather with their call ( as I have shared in my book ‘What Birds Teach Us’). I heard one calling outside my home today, and ran outside to find it looking at a huge black rain cloud coming towards us, within an hour it was raining. Usually their warning comes 2 – 8 hours before, followed sometimes by updated warnings.
We were both surprised how quite the trees were on this occasion, which usually would be chiming with the sounds of passing birds and MFFs. One bird that got our attention while feeding on this Banksia head was the Eastern Spinebill, a beautiful honeyeater.
The absence of the summer birds was noticeable, even the usual winter birds were not present at the time of our visit. This little Grey teal made its way toward us hoping to get a feed, but most of the young waterbird families had left but for a few birds. One bird that was present and in a small flock was…
My Bird of the Week – The Royal Spoonbill
The Royal Spoonbill is found throughout the eastern half of mainland Australia from top to bottom, extending across the top end to the Kimberly region. It derives its name from the large dark blue spoon shaped bill. They are waders found in all seasons sweeping the shallows of swamps, wetlands, lakes and tidal creeks ( as highlighted in above footage) in search for tiny fish, crustaceans and insects.
They produce a beautiful afro-like head dress plumage on their heads, and a distinctive pink marking on their forehead when they are breeding.
Between tide changes you will often find them resting in seclusion in mangrove trees or standing by the water sometimes on one leg, with head tucked into the feathers on its back.