Birds Flora

Through Canola to Coota.

Leaving Jugiong, we headed to Leeton – with a stop off at Cootmundra – along the so-called “Canola Way”. The yellow-flowering canola fields were stunningly picturesque.

At Cootamundra, we walked along the Heritage Bird Walk. We saw the Red Wattle-bird:

The Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana):

A new bird to our cameras – the Noisy Friar-bird (Philemon corniculatus):

And furtively keeping to distant trees, a Sacred Kingfisher:


Jugiong Jaunt.

The first overnight stop on our trip to South West New South Wales was the tiny town of Jugiong (population 260 approx.) 338 kilometres south west of Sydney.

Since the mid 1990s, Jugiong has been totally bypassed by the Hume Freeway, and nowadays survives as a tourist spot thanks to its two attractions: the Long Track Pantry, and the Sir George Inn.

On our night and morning there we snapped some of the local birdlife.

Crimson Rosellas (two juveniles):

A new bird for us – the Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis):

The juveniles of this species are easily spotted by the yellow-green skin around the eye, and the lighter grey on the the bib:

In the same flowering tree, Red Wattlebirds:

A Yellow-faced Honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops)

A female Superb Fairy-wren:

And of course the males:

The Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa):

The male Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris):

A Red-browed Finch:

A nice place to overnight when heading west…


Medlow Reds.

Having a long weekend stay in the old Gatehouse at Medlow Bath (1867), our most conspicuous visitors were the Red Wattlebirds (Anthocaera carunculata).

The Red Wattlebird is not red: is named for its red wattle, the fleshy lobe that hangs from each side of the neck. The are very territorial, and can be noisy in chasing off other birds. Their calls are not musical – a harsh, coughing “yak” or “chok” sound – but it’s not unpleasant.

They take occasional insects, but chiefly eat nectar from flowers with their probing tongues. The Red Wattlebird is the second largest honeyeater in Australia (the Yellow Wattlebird of Tasmanian is larger).


All Over the SOP.

On a solo cycle through Sydney Olympic Park and on to Meadowbank Wharf, Brad – predictably – found some birds.

Around the southern end of Haslam’s Creek, a few families of Purple Swamphens (Porphyria porphyria) were showing their chicks the ropes. The chicks were rather cute:

One of the parents on the shore was determined to distract me away from the chicks with a display I can only refer to as “flashing his bright white arse”…

Moving onto Woo-la-ra Hill – which Bramanda have nicknamed Cisticola Hill – a few minutes listening for the distinctive call led me to a small group of Golden-headed Cisticolas (Cisticola exilis):

At Badu Wetlands, a number of juvenile Pied Stilts (Himantopus leucocephalus):

And also a photogenic Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia):

In the rapidly dropping sun, a Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) made a lovely silhouette against the diamante water:

A Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata):

A female Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)…

…and the male. It is not widely realised how varied the male’s plumage can be as he moves in and out of his breeding phases:

In the mangroves right in the south-east corner of Homebush Bay, a juvenile White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) was working out how to forage amongst the pneumatophores. He was very unsure of where to place his feet as he browsed between these spiky aerial roots.

Heading for home, I checked in on the Magpie-lark location, but only found this male. Is he the now-fledged chick we photographed less than two months ago?

And as a final treat, a Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea) allowed me to photograph her feeding her recently fledged youngster.


Nth Curl Curl / Long Reef.

Though we watched the Fairy Terns for quite a while, we saw a lot more of interest on our trip to the beach.
A pair of Silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis).

A Fairy Tern

A beautifully painted – and timely – warning on the clifftop (artist unknown):

On the walk out to Long Reef Headland, we came upon a noisy juvenile Eastern Koel (Eudynamys orientalis).

Formerly the Common Koel, and sometimes called the Pacific Koel, or colloquially Storm Bird, the noisy, glossy black adult male is seen more regularly. Adult females and juveniles are more buff / brown with fine barring on the chest and underparts. They are a type of cuckoo, and the eggs are laid in the nests of other species.
The juveniles can be conspicuous, because they will beg stridently for food from their foster parents. Here, we believe we captured a Koel being fed a cicada by its Red Wattlebird “parent”:

Out on the rock platform, many Silver Gulls (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae).

A few Sooty Oystercatchers (Haematopus fuliginosus):

Also Pelicans and Crows: