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).
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.
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):