My recent trip to Denmark wasn’t as far afield as you might imagine, as it’s on the south coast of Western Australia, not the European one. I stayed in a cabin on built stilts, on the side of a hill, in woodland, so from one side of the house the view was directly into the tree tops. There was a bird feeder on the balcony and we had lots of visitors to it, including some surprises. The rosella (above) was one of them. It’s the first time I’ve seen them since we moved here and there was a whole family who were regular visitors.
The rosella wasn’t the only first for us. This babbler was one of a group of about 7 who came noisily through the woods
This red-winged fairy-wren and his family was another regular visitor. I have to say he looks just the same as several other fairy-wrens (blue-breasted, variegated, lovely) and I’m only guessing red-winged because of our location.
Another frequent visitor to the bird table was this lovely bronzewing. There were quite a few of them and they were easily chased off the feeders by the gallahs, so they quite often fed on the forest floor beneath, picking up the seeds that the other birds were dropping.
These honey-eaters were also new to me – white-naped honey-eaters.
The most common visitors to the feeder, and the whole of the balcony, were the gallahs. At one point we had 22 gallahs on there, all queuing up for a feed. In the woods I found the reason they were so hungry. This one had been eating for at least 3. The parents seemed to be feeding, then regurgitating food for their very noisy chicks. You can just see one peeping out of the nest hole.
After a bit of a lull in activity, there’s suddenly lots of action around. The best news is that the ospreys have nested again, in the same place as last time. Most of last year’s nest had been blown away by storms so I wondered whether they’d choose somewhere else. The nest already looks more robust than last year, so hopefully it might hold together better for them. I don’t know how many eggs, if any, there are yet. I’ll be back to take some more pictures next week. Let’s hope they’re as successful as last year.
Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo
A couple of months ago I saw a red-tailed black-cockatoo for the first time, but I couldn’t put a photo up because I didn’t have my camera with me at the time. Then a couple of weeks ago, I saw a pair. I watched them fairly close to for several minutes. Getting a photo isn’t easy as they feed so high up and there are always twigs in the way. Then I managed to get this shot when he took off, I was so pleased.
What a delight getting up has been this week. This lovely tree is flowering. I open my curtains in the morning and see the rainbow lorikeets feeding, such a treat.
This is one of those birds that I’d never heard of until I saw it. In fact, when I saw it I just assumed it was a magpie and didn’t notice it. It was only when it squawked that I realised it was something different – a very strange sound. So I got a picture (just), and looked it up when I got home. I was camping at a place called Wave Rock at the time which is spectacular itself. I know this is a bird blog but I’ll finish with a picture of the rock for anyone who’s never heard of it.
Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo
The Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos were out and about in the northern suburbs for several weeks again, and now they’ve disappeared as quickly as they arrived.
They seem to come in early spring and feast on the flowers and bushes in the reserves. I think it’s the time of year now when they breed, so maybe they fill up before flying off to their breeding grounds.
On the Lookout
It’s really hard to think of them as being on the critically endangered list when they are so obvious in the area. They’re very noisy, they travel in huge flocks sometimes, and they let me get within a few metres of them when they’re feeding. When I think of endangered animals, I tend to think of solitary, shy animals that live in really remote places that will be very hard to spot. But the cockatoos make sure that everyone knows when they arrive.
Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo flying over
The picture below was taken in Quinns Rocks, and you can see how big the flocks are. I counted over 200 together on the reserve that day. Their numbers have halved over the past 50 years though, so there are huge conservation efforts to try and increase their numbers again. Hopefully, in a few months time, they’ll be back again but with some youngsters with them too.
Flocks in the Suburbs
Every so often I realise that its ages since I’ve seen any ‘new’ birds that I haven’t seen before, and I think that it’s inevitable as time goes on that seeing new birds will become less frequent. Then I see several new birds in a short time and realise just how many I’ve never seen. So here’s an update on several new sightings from a very short time. The elegant parrot above was one of a pair that I came across in Franklin Park (a tiny reserve) in Wanneroo. They were quite shy and it was quite hard to get a clear picture at that distance.
I’ve wanted to see a red-capped robin since I came across one in my book. I wrongly assumed that they would be as common and as friendly as a British robin, but not so. He was just as pretty though and let me follow him for a few minutes.
This little bird of prey was quite happy to sit still while I took pictures, maybe because he was so high up. He was in another tiny reserve called Caporn Park in Wanneroo. He’s another one that I’ve seen pictures of before, and I saw in a bird of prey display, but I’ve never seen in the wild before.
I’ve seen one of these, a black-faced cuckoo-shrike, before. I even have some photos of them, but they have always stayed so far away that the photos are poor, so I’ve never had one that was fit to post on here. This one was also in Caporn Park and also happy to be photographed. It was one of a pair who moved between trees around us for at least 10 minutes before we left.
- Black-fronted Dotterel
I went walking at Yanchep and saw 16 of these pretty little birds by the edge of the lake. I had to look them up when I got home. When I zoomed in close on the photos of the birds on the lake I found they were a different type of dotterel – they were red-kneed dotterels. And while I was taking pictures, a spoonbill dropped in for lunch.
Red-Kneed Dotterels at Yanchep Lake
Caversham Wildlife Park – Barking owl
This week’s pictures are of captive birds. We had an outing over the Easter break to Caversham WIldlife Park, mainly to see the koalas and wombats. I had no idea how big it was or how much there was to see and do there. As well as all the marsupials there were lots of native birds on show.
In one of the ‘meet and greet’ sessions there were owls and ‘parroty types’. Feel free to correct me if I’ve identified them wrongly.
I love being stared out by owls. This one is a frogmouth. I’m still not entirely sure whether a frogmouth is an owl or not.
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
The parrots and cockatoos were entertaining as ever – so intelligent and playful.
- Upside down
They were keen not to be out-done by the wombat and were showing off their best moves for us.
Then outside there were enclosures with birds from different states.
This stone-curlew was fairly well hidden until it started to stand up. If it hadn’t moved I may have missed it.
I couldn’t end without showing the cutest marsupial of the day. It’s called a bettong – a tiny, tiny kangaroo. It was surrounded by visitors, but just fell asleep, upside down, in the arms of its keeper. With his feet in the air, he quite happily slept through the action as all the visitors gently stroked his tummy.
I was caught out by an imposter in the park this week.
Parrot in a tree
I saw a parrot in the park when I was walking the dog. It wasn’t an Australian ringneck, but it was about the same size and shape. I managed to get a picture of it in the tree on my phone as you can see. If I zoom in close, I can just about see the galahs who were keeping him company. It wasn’t a bird that I’d seen before in Oz though.
So I went and got a camera, and took this. Then I went home, zoomed in, and got out my bird book. Not a lorikeet, not an Australian ringneck, but definitely a parrot. After much searching, I caved in and e-mailed John at Birdlife Australia for help with an I.D.
Then a friend suggested looking up an Indian ringneck. Mystery solved. Definitely an Indian ringneck. But my googling also brought back an ad for a lost pet – an Indian ringneck from the next suburb along who had escaped a few weeks ago. I phoned the owners to let them know, but I’m not sure how they’ll catch him. He seems very happy though. I’ve seen him a couple of times since, still in the company of the galahs, and still eating from the same trees.
A budgerigar in a tree. This won’t be a surprise to many who are used to seeing them, but it was a first for me.
I’ve seen budgies in the UK often in the past, but always in a cage in somebody’s home. I have to admit, I’d never even stopped to wonder where they came from in the wild.
Flocks of green and yellow
I was being driven when I saw a flurry of green and yellow. I hopped out of the car with my camera, but the birds were nowhere to be seen. I knew they were nearby though because I could hear the chattering. I waited a while, then I decided to take pictures of each of the nearby bushes before I left. It paid off. When I got home and zoomed in closely on the computer, I could see that one of the farther bushes had been teaming with budgies. I was so disappointed that I hadn’t got any good photos.
2 days later I drove back to the same spot and within seconds saw another flock of ‘green and yellow’. Within minutes, there were several flocks. Hundreds and hundreds of budgies, landing on the ground, then flying up each time a car zoomed by.
Budgies in a Tree
My favourite budgie fact (thanks again to wiki) – their plumage flouresces under ultraviolet light. I can’t help wondering how someone found that out. Did someone take one into a night club at some point?
Room for one More?
So when I think of budgerigars now, I won’t think of a solitary bird in a cage wolf whistling and occasionally shouting obscenities. Instead I’ll think of huge flocks in the wild, filling trees, chattering to each other and the ‘hum’ of their wings when they all fly up at once.
Flurry of Budgies
We all have boring weeks sometimes, and mine had been full of housework, paperwork and finances. The forecast was for days of rain and I ‘Needed to get out.’ So on Saturday morning we headed to an area nearby where we often see signs to lakes but never actually see any water. It was time to investigate Wangara Lakes. Before the storm arrived.
Wangara Lakes isn’t an official place, but the area around Wangara seems to have a series of small lakes as part of the Gnangara Mound. Many of them only hold water for part of the year as the water table is so low now, and one of them appeared to be a boggy area rather than a recognisable lake.The first Lake we visited was Lake Jandabup. Very quiet, very pretty.
Almost straight away I saw a Crested Pigeon. My husband was annoyingly underwhelmed and said he’d seen them several times before. But I hadn’t and I was very pleased to see it, and pleased that it was so happy to pose. We also saw a great egret in the water and a pair of swamp harriers (I think) overhead.
Next was Badgerup Lake – this was the one where we couldn’t actually find any water. A lovely wood, but no lake. I’ll have to go again sometime in the car and have a look for another entrance just in case we missed it. Before long we saw a little bird. My thanks to John at ‘Birdlife Australia’ for identifying it as a red capped robin. Then the elusive red-capped parrot. I think I’ve glimpsed them before, but never for long enough to be sure. And never long enough to get a photo. We saw a pair for a couple of minutes before they disappeared into the wood.
Then we headed to Gnangara Lake, but the clouds were already rolling in. It seemed silent after Badgerup and we didn’t stay for long. I saw 3 red-capped plovers down by the water’s edge (see picture below) and then a bird of prey. Most Australian Birders would have thought ‘there’s a little eagle’, but I had never heard of one never mind seen one. I didn’t even realise it was something that I hadn’t seen before to be honest. All I could think was ‘I must get a decent photo’. All my efforts went into trying to get a clear picture and keep it in focus. It was only when I got home that I realised that it was different to what I had thought I’d seen and I had to look it up. At least I had several pictures to identify it from. It’s the ‘Little Eagle’ in the picture at the top of the page.
So it turned out to be a fantastic walk to clear my head and I saw several birds that I’d never heard of, and I arrived home before the storm hit.
Australian Ringneck Eating
Australian Ringneck, Ringnecked Parrot, Twenty-Eight, Ringnecked Parakeet. I struggled over what to call this post as the birds seem to have plenty of different names. I went for ‘Australian Ringneck’ in the end as that’s what my book gave as a name that covers both that you can see here.
‘Twenty-eight, Twenty-eight’ is the call that the common local subspecies makes as he flies through the trees, hence his nickname. I often see them but very rarely get a good picture – it really shouldn’t be that hard. They usually seem to fly in twos or threes. Then they land high in the trees to feed, where they are obscured by leaves and branches. This parrot is definitely a ‘Twenty-eight’ as he has a dark green chest.
This one however, is probably a true ringneck because of his yellow chest. It’s almost impossible to know though because they interbreed, so in-between markings are common. Like the other parrots they chatter to each other constantly as they feed.
They aren’t nearly as confident as most of the other parrots and cockatoos that I’ve come across and they aren’t as ‘cheeky’. Far more sensible, and far more focused on their feeding. So much so that they won’t stand still for a picture. There were 3 of them feeding by a tree but every one of the photos with more than 1 on was blurred or out of focus because they just can’t be still. They’re really pretty though and it’s a treat when they feed on the floor and let me get close.
Carnabys Black Cockatoo feeding
It’s time for an update on several of my previous posts.
In my post on the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo I said that if you wanted to see them, then you’d be certain to see them at Yanchep National Park. A few weeks later I visited and didn’t see, or hear any of them. They seem to have largely dispersed and small groups of them can be seen all over the northern suburbs, in areas I hadn’t ever seen them before. Presumably this is due to their breeding season, or possibly after a particular source of food. Several of them were feeding in a neighbour’s tree when I took the picture above.
Musk Duck displaying
I mentioned in my AussieBirdLife post about the musk duck how he would use his tail when displaying. This duck decided to give me a demonstration, incorporating all his best moves at once, like in this picture.
Musk Duck’s tail
He opens his beak to let out a loud ‘honk’, holds his chin up to stretch his leathery flap, throws his tail over his back, and caps it off will a big splash of water with his feet.
No news is good news on the ospreys. They haven’t started nesting, but then a local wildlife warden told me that they don’t normally nest in this region until September. It’s usually in northern Australia that they nest in May/June time. I had a spell of a few weeks when I hadn’t seen them, but I’ve seen them both together again this week. So maybe I’ll have a nesting update in a couple of months time.