Last Friday my wife and I went for a birding date in the Royal National Park, it was a beautiful winter’s day, the only problem was as we walked along […]
Last Friday my wife and I went for a birding date in the Royal National Park, it was a beautiful winter’s day, the only problem was as we walked along the track was the absence of different bird calls. The main call was the prolific Yellow-faced Honeyeater as small flocks scoured the tree canopy for lerps and blossom, constantly calling to each other and occasionally playing chasings.
As we scoured the river bank for Kingfishers, but found none we noticed this Little Corella popping its head out of a very tight nesting hole, as this is the beginning of the breeding season for several of the Parrot species, and the competition is on between Corellas, Lorikeets, and Cockatoos for nesting holes in the smooth barked Angophora costata trees known as Sydney Red Gums.
This Corella has chosen the smooth barked Scribbly Gum tree due to the high Ccocky population in the park, where most holes are taken. I have arrowed some of the scribble patterns made by a small insect in the bark which gives this tree its name,
Here are a couple of Rainbow Lorikeet guarding the nesting hole as the female sits on the eggs inside. Note one is the traditional hole in the tree and the other a termite nest which was originally holed and also used each spring for nesting by the local Kookaburras and Kingfisher. The greenery used inside is an interesting addition for comfort. The hole on the left comes with a covered porch, quite salubrious.
Along the track we were watched by this young Kookaburra as it sat quietly, as they do watching and waiting for a food moment with its very keen binocular eyesight. They don’t appear to be looking for food, but they are, on the ground below, ready to dive down and pounce on worms, lizards, snakes, large insects and mice. I classify the Kookaburra as our most placid bird.
Not far away the opportunistic Pied Currawong can be heard calling, also in search of an easy food moment.
I would like to share my resident Pied Currawong bathing, something I seldom see as this bird is so secretive and very conscious of being watched, considering it secretly watches opportunistically to take advantage of others. He just happened along as I was writing this post. I held the camera while keeping myself out of view, notice how he looks around cautiously.
One of the most difficult birds to photograph due to their fast non stop movement and love of dark under canopy protection is the Brown Gerygone (pronounced Ger-ig-on-ee which is its identifying call). These little guys are such a challenge.
On the river nearby this Australasian Grebe was spending time with a Dusky Moorhen having a quiet moment together. I have included a pair captured cruising a few days earlier in our nearby park, with remaining breeding plumage from the previous breeding season to distinguish non-breeding from breeding plumage, note particularly under the Grebe’s chin, and ear area. You only see Grebes together when breeding or with young, for the rest of the year they tend remain alone, often being found in the most unexpected places, but usually in the middle of a pond or lake, and never on land. They are excellent divers, and dive to escape danger as well as forage underwater for small fish and aquatic insects.
It was quite unusual and premature for this local species of Wattle to be flowering this early, in the middle of Winter, as it normally is the first flower traditionally marking Spring in our country, usually late August-September.
Lastly, the only other bird we saw long enough to photograph was this adult female Variegated Fairy-wren. Notice the orange eye and beak markings and the light blue tail, the non breeding male lacks the eye rings and lores and has a dark beak, and a much darker richer blue tail with light blue wing flanking. I enjoyed capturing the different tail postures of this little lady as she jumped around
Enjoy your week and stay safe and warm. We are masking up again as another recent Covid outbreak looms in our city causing concern and possibly affecting our plans for the weekend and a visit from two of my grandsons in two weeks who have missed four opportunities over the last two years to have time with us. If this is your first visit check out the rest of my website for more helpful birding info.
Meanwhile here is an interesting video about this bird with the big inquisitive yellow eye, unique to our country, and how he features in the 2nd edition of “What Birds Teach Us” – the perfect gift for your child and grandchild. You will also hear some of the many amazing sounds these birds make.
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