During our recent visit to northern NSW we encountered several species not common to our central coast/ Sydney region. One of the most common coastal honeyeaters was the Blue-faced Honeyeater, which looks like it is wearing some superhero mask. As you can see they are very active as they hang from the flowering eucalypt trees.
Confirming an observation I have posted in the past, this honeyeater, like many other small birds, leaps from the perch with unopened wings before opening its wings to fly. The leap of faith you might say. Click on photos to enlarge them.
We were also blessed to see an immature or juvenile Blue-faced Honeyeater in the Coffs Harbour Botanic Gardens. Notice its face has not turned blue yet.
Other passerines encountered on the coast are shown below. The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet has been seen much further south in recent years as the climate warms. The other birds are found further south in our region.
While walking with my brother by the coast in Forster this juvenile Australasian Gannet flew past.
Often the common Silver Gull or Seagull as Aussies call it is not presented in birding blogs so I have done it honour here. The most common shore bird.
Some the birds seen right near our accommodation on the Clarence River at Yamba NSW are seen below. For those wanting to differentiate between male and female Magpie-lark (Peewee), I have included a special photo. My wife spotted the beautiful Sacred Kingfisher just before we left.
Travelling westward on the Gwydir Highway over the Great Dividing Range toward Moree we found some changes in the common passerine birds, and some similarities also. Onw bird which I love the sound of more than most other birds which I remember growing up with is the Pied Butcherbird which my wife and I loved hearing and seeing the whole time we were in northern NSW. It was on the coast but also more so inland.
I managed to record an early morning call on my mobile phone, but remember what I have said in previous posts, Australian birds are blessed with the ability to have many different calls for different times of day, and also several mimic very well. The Pied Butcherbird has many beautiful chiming calls, this is but one.
Another unexpected passerinic find on a windy headland on the north coast, was this lovely Australian (Richards) Pipit. He or she posed several times for me while the partner was quite elusively keeping out the picture.
The most exciting passerine find for my wife and I, and a lifer, was seen while walking through Moree Common. This Pale-headed Rosella a bird not seen down south, and a bird which Sue, my Aussie blogger friend of My Wild Australia website, has recently posted, being a southern Queenslander. It does look similar to the southern Yellow Rosella, but lacks its bright blue bib, and sports a blue tummy, instead of yellow. The Pale-headed Rosella is found all along the coast of Queensland and northern NSW, and also some distance inland from the coast. Like other rosellas they pair for life and eat grass and tree seeds, native fruits and flowers.
Moving into dryer interior of Moree we noticed tha common honeyeater changed to the tiny and very active White-plumed Honeyeater. The plume is the white mark on the side of the neck.
These birds breed really well out here, and being so time and mostly insectivourous survive well in the hot dryer climate. We saw these parents feeding their youngster which lacks the white plume, which comes later with maturity.
Other interesting honeyeaters seen include the the Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Lewins Honeyeater and the Eastern Spinebill.
Two great finds inland in the woodlands were both the Brown and White Throated Treecreepers. It was such a bonus to get a pair of Brown Treecreepers on the same tree together. The orange spot on the cheek of the White-throated Treecreeper designates her as a female.
Another lifer in the wild was a lone Cockatiel shot from a great distance away. We have only seen these birds as caged pets, but we saw this one in its own habitat out west. I have only this photo in focus, the original is so tiny it is unbelievable.
While walking through Moree Common wetlands we saw several waterbirds including Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Hardheads and Pink-eared Ducks. They all flew off when they saw us coming so these pics are from a great distance.
Another common Aussie bird often neglected in presentation is the Pied Currawong with its very curious yellow eye. This bird, similar to the Butcherbird and Magpie has a melodious call which varies throughout the day, and is more prominent at sunrise and sunset.
Also in the Moree Common we saw this and many other Double-barred Finch, but this one stayed long enough for a photo.
Of the other insectivorous birds the Grey Shrike-thrush and the Rufous Whistler were seen and heard, as both have a lovely song. We were blessed to see both male and female Rufous Whistler.
But the greatest delight,
Was seen one dark night,
A pair of Tawny Frogmouth, under a lamppost bright,
Unexpectedly seen they at first gave a fright.
Hunting moths on a tin roof late in the night.
This pair of Tawny Frogmouth were quite a blessed find for us as we all gathered around the shed where we had just had our BBQ dinner to watch the night stalker at work.
As I remind people constantly, though this bird hunts at night, this bird is not an owl, but a Tawny Frogmouth, it is a unique creature, as I have described in previous posts.