Saturday, 31 August 2013

Superb Scarlet

Scarlet Honeyeaters are beginning to arrive in numbers as their favourite food shrubs in the garden are coming into spring flowering. Today they were busy in the Grevilleas and this one was feeding on the hybrid Grevillea "Superb".

Monday, 26 August 2013

Tasty buds

A pair of Galahs called in as one fancied a snack and landed in the top of our Christmas Bush and proceeded to snack on the buds and doing a bit of pruning at the same time.
Its mate was content just to sit on the powerline and wait till the snacking was finished then they both flew on their way. Fortunately for us not too many buds were consumed so we still will have a good display in a couple of months.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

10 minutes at the watering hole

With hardly any rain in the past four weeks the birds are making a lot of use of the bird baths and a favourite for the smaller birds is a large shallow sandstone dish, that we have placed on the ground amongst small shrubs. I stood nearby for just on 10min as a steady stream flew in for a bath or a drink. They don't spend much time just a quick splash and then off so I missed a couple of shots and some are not the best.
Striated Thornbill

Red-brow Finch
Varigated Wren (m)
Grey Fantail
Eastern Silvereye
Yellow Robin
Varigated Wren (f)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Catching Yabbies

Lately in our area there are quite a few White-necked Herons Ardea pacifica to be seen in paddocks where they are likely to be feeding on insect larvae, insects and frogs that are becoming active. However today I noticed one flying in to check out the feeding possibilities at our dam.
It quietly worked around the edge and looking for any movement that promised a tasty meal.
We stocked the dam some years ago with Yabbies Cherax destuctor, a small native  freshwater crayfish that are nice eating albeit a bit fiddly as they are not particularly large.
We have seen Cormorants spend time hunting them and getting mainly the young ones so I was interested to see what success the heron would have.
 A sudden lunge into the shallow edge and I waited to see if there was a catch and if so what was the victim.
Success and it was a Yabbie which can be seen firmly held on the tip of the beak and
in the 15min or so that I watched, it managed to catch three before flying off to look for another feeding ground.
White-necked Herons are one or the larger Herons at about 1m and are found throughout Australia.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Morning Sunbake

A warm start to the day brought out a few early sunbathers, the expected Yellow-faced Whip Snakes who have been quite active with mating being a top priority.
 Sharing the same rock area was a young Easern Bluetongue Lizard Tiliqua scinocides, the first that we have seen around the house although they are often sighted sunning on the road and drive.
Bluetongue lizards are one of the most common Australian lizards and one of the largest in the skink family with a range throughout the country. Often found in suburban gardens they are one of the first introductions to nature for children and sometimes kept as pets.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Plentiful supply

Our Gigantic Lily is now almost fully open and has become a busy feeding station for the honeyeaters as well as bees and other insects.
An Eastern Spinebill gets a fill up
 Today a trio of Little Wattle Birds worked over the flowers and as there is so much nectar available they were quite content to feed together.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Tunnelling time

The first Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus has arrived and is busy tunnelling a nest site and when he is taking a break he perches on a nearby branch, giving distinctive loud calls to attract a mate to check out the nest site.
I am not so sure that he has chosen a good site for the nest as it is in an area where the lace monitors regularly hunt through the summer months and eggs are a favourite food. However I will be interested to see if he finds a mate and they use the site.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Night and daze

A loud bang on a window interrupted our TV viewing last night and on investigation we found a dazed Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides perched on the verandah railing. It was probably swooping on a moth and did not see the window, a problem we often have with birds during the day but this was our first night occurrence.
A few minutes rest and it was off again on its silent hunt for insects, moths, frogs and other night time creatures. They range throughout most of Australia and are often seen in car headlights as they swoop in after their prey and unfortunately many are road kill victims.
During the day they can be seen if you can spot them roosting in a tree looking very much like a broken dead branch.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

A Spring arrival

Our unseasonably warm weather has flora and fauna a bit confuse thinking spring has already arrived and today we had a migrant fly in and sing in full voice looking to attract a mate. It didn't give me a clear photo opportunity being content to stay amongst the mistletoe foliage where it blended in to the background.
 The visitor is a Olive-Backed Oriole Oriolus sagittatus  which has a range from New Guinea and northern Australia where they are year round residents down through eastern Australia and as far as Adelaide being migrants in the southern parts.

Gigantic Lily's first diner

About twenty years ago we planted what we thought was a Gymea Lily, Doryanthes excelsa but as it grew larger we thought that maybe it was the cousin Doryanthes palmeri Gigantic Lily. The range of this plant is north-east NSW and south-east Queensland where as the Gymea Lily is south-east NSW

 We have been waiting for a flower spike to to appear and this year our first flowering has occurred with a spike about 4m long and the individual flowers are just starting to open. The first to try the  nectar of the flowers was a Lewin Honeyeater.
We also have Gymea lilies in the garden and after only about five years we have a flower spike developing and expect it to be in full bloom in the next month or so.