Categories
Birds

Some Birds of Bowen Mountain.

After a boozy lunch at Karu Distillery with a good friend (where I focused so much on the award-winning chipotle vodka that I couldn’t focus on the birds), Bramanda visited our friend’s beautiful Bowen Mountain hideaway, where some lovely birds graced us with their presence.

The Pied Currawongs (Strepera graculina) were very sociable:

The light was fading fast (it had been a longish lunch!), but some members of the Columbidae family (Pigeons and Doves) that we had not previously photographed turned up to forage. This is a Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia melanoleuca)

One of the Currawongs needed some late-afternoon hydration:

Then, a pretty bird we did not recognize at the time, but which we’ve since identified as the Brown Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia phaisanella)

We are not sure if this guy is a Common Bronzewing, or a Brush Bronzewing (Phaps elegans). I’m leaning towards it being a Brush Bronzewing, due to the particularly rufous forehead, and the fact that in our bird guide, the wing iridescence is painted more brightly, like this guy here. May just be a trick of the light though:

And there were also some very attractive domesticated birds in our friend’s garden as well:

But the stars of the show were the Brown Cuckoo-Doves. Though they have a reputation of being difficult to spot in the forest, they posed quite happily for us.

Categories
Birds

Cook’s Tour.

The Cook’s River Cycleway is one of those underrated Sydney classics: a 30km mostly off-road cycle path (give or take, and depending on where you consider the start and the end), that wends its way between many different landscapes – from industrial wastelands to landscaped parklands and Casuarina groves, mostly hugging one of Australia’s most polluted rivers! At times ugly and smelly, at times beautiful. Very Sydney!

On a strangely cool December day, Bramanda rode about half of it, and saw quite a few birds.

Starting with a mystery: we confess… we don’t know who this is. We would love it if anyone could reply with a identification of this bird.

Australian Pied Cormorants and Australian Pelicans were using the inflatable pollution booms as a lilo:

Magpie-lark Dad was showing his two fledglings how to forage in the mud, but they were noisily more intent on being fed, rather than learning to feed themselves:

A family of Australian Wood Ducks:

This fluffy young Pied Currawong was also being shown the ropes by a parent:

A pair of sleepy, fledgling Noisy Miner siblings hunkered together for warmth in the cool breeze. It made me sleepy just watching them:

At Boat Harbour (a tiny man-made dock that once served the historic sugar-mill) a pair of Tawny Frogmouths were roosting. We had heard that this family of Frogmouths were something of a fixture at Boat Harbour, so we were pleased to spot them on our visit.

At Beaman Park, a flock of Eastern Rosellas was feeding:

In Gough Whitlam Park, a Little Pied Cormorant dried his wings and was none too happy that I had interrupted him:

Also in Gough Whitlam Park, we happened upon this lovely Striated Heron, waiting for passing fish. As is always the way when we encounter Striated Herons, we spent ages here in the hope of him doing his “amazing telescopic neck” thing… sadly no luck this time:

Even though the fish were tiny by his standards – we’ve seen Striateds deal with much bigger catches – he seemed to be catching enough to make it worthwhile:

Categories
Birds

Lockdown Lunchtimes.

With the imminent lifting of the Sydney COVID Lockdown, we take a look back at some visitors to the backyard over the last few months. I would set up my home office each day on the back deck, and around the middle of the day I would take a short break to eat lunch, and to photograph the birds that occasionally shared mealtime with me.

The Rainbow Lorikeets were always happy to share my apple:

A Currawong once tried the apple too, but wanted it takeaway:

Of course, regular visitor Lefty the Magpie (see “Lefty” – Sep 1 2021) often came around on the scrounge food – bread or chicken or cheese.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos would also come around if we put a seed-block out:

The pair of Butcher-birds (see “Backyard Butchers” Aug 31 2021) would also take the opportunity if there was ever any dropped food.

Two cats are having a temporary stay with us, and one of them flatly refuses to eat indoors. Because of that, there is often beef, kangaroo, chicken or salmon in the cat bowls on the back deck, as well as special biscuits.
We realise it is bad for birdlife to be fed too much processed meat – it can lead to calcium and other mineral deficiencies, which can compromise eggshell strength and bone density of chicks. We would not ever deliberately feed birds the food we feed the cats, but as we use raw meats that contain ground bone and offal, and biscuits that enhanced “science diet” – we hope that as long as they are stealing it in small enough quantities, it’s OK for them.

I filled a meat-encrusted cat bowl with water in order to soak: Lefty found this meat-flavoured water an interesting drop.

But it wasn’t always dropped cheese and cat meat. Sometimes they lunched on their natural diet.

And finally, in a tree in our neighbour’s yard overlooking ours, a King Parrot had a big lunch of fruit. (Apologies – I do not know what sort of tree this is).