Ospreys Are Back!

Osprey Nesting

Osprey Nesting

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

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.

Breakfast time

Breakfast time

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.

Grey Currawong

Grey Currawong

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.

Wave Rock

Wave Rock

 

Lake Joondalup

I visited Lake Joondalup on my first trip to Australia and couldn’t get over the number of parrots there were (these turned out to be corellas).  I vowed to go back again if ever we moved here – and now I do, regularly.  The lake is home to resident and migratory water birds, and the surrounding parks and woodland are home to many other birds and wildlife.

long-necked turtle

Long-Necked Turtle – Lake Joondalup

One of my favourite things to see there is the aptly named long-necked turtle.  It’s not easy to see one and it helps if it’s very sunny so you can see through the water clearly.  I’ve seen them from Neil Hawkins Park (on the West bank, near to the centre of Joondalup).   There’s a walkway onto the lake where you can look for them, and you can usually see plenty of the less shy waterfowl too. The park has a play area and plenty of barbeques, so it’s usually full of families.  The resident long-billed corellas live there and are very friendly.  They can normally be found on the lawns in the day, along with the pigeons.  Gallahs nest there and I also sometimes see ringnecks and rainbow lorikeets.  Due to the amount of wildlife in the reserve, there are plenty of birds of prey there.  Swamp harriers often cicle over the water and eagles occasionally visit.

Lake Joondalup - Dry

Lake Joondalup – Dry

 

 

Further South, by Edgewater, is Picnic Cove.  Another play area, more barbeques, more water birds.  And also (although I’ve never seen them), tiger snakes.  During the summer the water level drops.  By autumn, the water almost disappears at Picnic Cove.

 

Lake Joondalup

Lake Joondalup

Spider at Lake Joondalup

Watch out for spiders

 

Once the winter rains come and it starts to fill again, plenty of birds arrive to breed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a 16km circuit of the lake that you can walk, run or cycle that takes you by the lake and through the woods.  In the summer you’ll see spiders with enormous webs in the trees.

 

 

What might you see there:  Shoveler, duck, black swan, Australian Shelduck, musk duck, long-billed corella, gallah, rainbow lorikeet, ringneck parakeet, pink eared duck, white faced heron, white necked heron, spoonbill, egret,  kookaburra,  black shouldered kite, Australian kestrel, swamp harrier, wedge-tailed eagle, white bellied sea-eagle, pelican, buff banded rail, black-tailed native-hen, chestnut teal, ibis, red-kneed dotterel, whiskered tern, hoary-headed grebe, Australasian grebe

 

Black Shouldered Kite

Black Shouldered Kite

 

Long-billed Corellas

Long-billed Corellas – Lake Joondalup

Rainbow Lorikeet – A Beauty or a Beast

Lorikeet nest hole

Lorikeet Nest Hole

As you may have read in an earlier post, the rainbow lorikeet has become one of my favourite birds to see while I’m out and about. They’re bright, colourful, chattery and confident. So I was quite surprised to read an article “Palms Host Pesky Parrot” on one-perth.com.au, asking for help in controlling their numbers. And a little bit of Googling reveals quite a lot of negative press for them.

The lorikeets are native to Eastern Australia, and only established themselves in Western Australia through releases (accidental or otherwise) from collections and aviaries. They have since bred very successfully and become quite a problem. Firstly, they displace native birds by taking their food supply and their usual nest sites. They cause a huge noise disturbance when they are in large numbers – very unwelcome if they happen to be just outside your house. They cause crop damage especially, it seems, to the grapes in Western Australia’s vineyards. They may be beautiful birds to watch when there are 5 of them in a park, but if you can see your annual grape crop (and therefore your livelihood) being wiped out by hundreds of them, they may start to lose their attraction. They are also said to spread disease (although I couldn’t find the facts and figures to verify that) and pose a strike risk to planes at Perth Airport.

The government are asking landowners to try to control their numbers by removing one of their favourite nest sites – by removing the old, bottom leaves of palm trees. Over 34,000 lorikeets have been culled in the past 6 years, so reducing their breeding potential may control their numbers without so many having to be culled.

A similar thing happened in the South of England, where over 40,000 ring-necked parakeets are now thought to live. They also bred from escaped birds and their numbers increased rapidly (one roost is home to over 7,000 birds). They also love to eat the grape harvest, and have to be culled by farmers. It caused a huge amount of friction between those who love the birds and like to see them and those who regard them as a pest and who worry about the harm done to native species.

I like seeing squirrels in parks in England, but it’s terrible to realise just how quickly the introduced grey squirrel has completely wiped out the red squirrel from almost all of the UK. It is taking huge effort and resources to protect the remaining populations of red squirrels. The lorikeet might oust native Western Australian birds if left to breed unchecked.

So now I look at the rainbow lorikeet in a new light. I still love to see it, but I appreciate that it’s breeding needs to be checked, and I fully understand why it’s loathed by people whose livelihoods are put at risk. It’s still allowed to stay on my Top 10 list though, as it’s definitely native to Eastern parts of Australia.

 

 

Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet – posing at last

Surely this has to be one of the most colourful birds in the world and it truly lives up to its name. I’m really lucky to have these living in the nearby parks. Seeing them makes me smile and I always stop to have a look when I pass them. They love to chatter to each other while they eat. The food trees also have a distinctive ‘ticking’ noise while they feed, as their beaks pick the seeds out of tiny cones.

Like many of the cockatoo/lorikeet/parakeet types of birds, they are quite confident so they will let me get reasonably close to them. Except when I’m carrying a camera. They must have an in built camera sensor. For months, whenever I didn’t have my camera with me, they would let me get really close to them. Whenever I took my camera along, they were nowhere to be seen.    Lorikeets in Kings Park

I seem to have got past that hurdle and now I have plenty of pictures. They mainly live on the East, South East and North coast of Australia, but there is an established population around Perth. They can be seen in many parks in and near Perth, but King’s Park has to be one of the best places in WA to see them. The tall, mature trees have holes in them suitable for nesting and there’s a year round food supply. There’s something very entertaining about watching a lorikeet head suddenly pop out of a hole 25 feet up a tree trunk.

The rainbow lorikeet would be a very strong contender for my favourite Aussie Bird so far.