Monday, 31 January 2011

Kite out on a limb

We have one large Eucalyptus tree in the front paddock and it is a favourite perch for birds of prey to cast their eyes across the terrain for their next meal. Today there was a Black Shouldered Kite surveying the scene; most of my sightings of Black Shouldered Kites are on the wing, often hovering in the same manner as Kestrels, searching for a rodent or insects.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Yellow Robin

Ever watchful, the yellow robins like a perch low to the ground where any insect that dares to move is instantly swooped upon, unlike other flycatchers that generally catch their prey on the wing.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Cicadas beware

With so many Cicadas around at present their predators have gathered to make the most of the abundant offerings. Whilst the birds are the most obvious of the hunters the Cicada-killer wasp takes the prize for taking on a prey much larger than itself. The Cicada-killers or Club Wasps belong to the family SPHECIDAE and there are around 420 species of these predatory wasps in Australia. Their prey includes spiders, caterpillars, beetles, and many other insects. The Cicada-killer Wasps Exeirus lateritius are very obvious around the house as they are very large at around 40mm and their strong colour combination makes them stand out as they feed on nectar (as the prey is for their larvae) with a particular favourite flower being the Honey Gem grevillea with its nectar laden flower spikes.They also are regular visitors to the lily tub to get a sip of water.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Australia Day

The kangaroo is probably our most identified Australian, so thought I should post a photo of one of our regular visitors, a female Eastern Grey Kangaroo. We generally have at least one female that likes to spend time close to the house, particularly when she has a small joey in the pouch.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Amongst the foliage

Lewin Honeyeaters are one of our larger resident honeyeater species and the photo is typical of how they like to be; amongst the foliage. They are quite territorial and chase the Yellow Face honeyeaters and Eastern Spinebills out of the bush or tree where they decide there is only room for one.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Double, Double Drummers

The cicadas continue to be a continuous background drone throughout the sunny days and at times if you are amongst the trees where they are at their most numerous the noise can be almost deafening. These "Double Drummers" on a grey gum were trying to out do each other. At the time I was busy trying to get some bird photos, but got a bit distracted by the noise so figured the cicadas were the blog for today.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Crested Hawks

This afternoon I was attracted by a bird call I couldn't place and on investigation found a family of Crested Hawks in the trees on the western ridge. The young were calling the parents who were busy hunting cicadas and I guess were still supplying food to the young ones. The first time I have sighted crested Hawks on the property although I have seen them in the district previously.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Over the edge

This is our resident frog living at our front entrance, usually behind the window frame, coming out at night to hunt for insects and at times during the day will peer over the edge of the frame. It is Peron's Tree Frog, Litoria peronii and is quite a common frog throughout NSW and with some distribution in Queensland & Victoria.
We have identified 16 species of frogs on the property.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Double-bar visit

We have two finch species that are seen on our property, one the Red-browed finch is a resident and sighted almost every day but our other is the Double-bar finch which has a range generally north of us. We have visits on occasions when the weather conditions are conducive to an extended seasonal migration and this year we have been fortunate to have a few with us. Their call is very distinctive so you know when they are in your vicinity although the photogenic one was actually on its own but getting around with a family of wrens.

Blind snake

There are some 22 species of blind snakes in Australia and we have at least one that we see on infrequent occasions as most of their time is spent underground. They hunt through the earth for termites, worms, ants and the eggs and at times they are unearthed when digging in the garden. After rain on warm evenings they venture above ground probably looking for a mate and unfortunately they sometime end up in the pool and drown which is what happened to this one. They are hunted by another snake the Bandi Bandi which is a striking black & white ringed snake which also spends most of its life underground.

"Bird on the wire"

Not the Leonard Cohen song, but one of the Crested Pigeons that are widespread around our distict. often they are seen at the front of our property, sitting on the wires or wandering around the road edge looking for seeds carried along by the cars. They have a very distinctive whisling sound from their wings as they burst into flight to gain height which is generally followed by a glide on flat wings.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Anything but boring

Some of our insect visitors spend a large part of their life as larvae boring their way through the trunks of trees and in this form they could be described as rather boring. However when they emerge as adult beetles many shine with colour and deserve their name as "Jewel Beetles" (Family BUPRESTIDAE). Others like these two are quite large, around 40to50mm long, with striking patterns and colours.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Father takes a breather

The blue wren parents are very busy feeding their new family, who have now fledged but are still very demanding, when it comes to being fed. The adults are catching insects as the young follow them around ,calling all the time until they have their beaks stuffed. This male Superb Blue Wren just stopped long enough for a photo, before back on the job.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Eastern Spinebill honeyeater

One of our resident honeyeaters, the Eastern Spinebills are usually speeding from flower to flower, however today was very hot and this charcter toook time ouit just to sit on a high twig to catch the breeze for a minute or two.