Tags: Australian birds, birds of prey, kookaburra, noisy miner
We had a display of the natural world at work a week or two ago. I heard a lot of noisy miners (native birds) out in the back yard, and they were obviously upset about something. Then I heard what sounded like a muffled growl, so I went outside to see what was happening.
There, I saw a kookaburra hunched up against the garden terrace wall. It had something large in its beak, and the little miners were harassing it fiercely.
I thought the kooka had a mouse and called for MOTH (the Man of the House) to bring his camera. It took a few minutes for him to find it, and I thought we’d lose our chance to catch the bird and its prey in pictures.
MOTH came out just as Kooka escaped the miners and flew up into the ironbark tree near the back door. However, with the bright light, and lots of branches in the way, it was hard to focus on the bird from where he was.
I was up the slope on the lawn by then, and I could see it clearly. MOTH brought me the camera and I took several shots of it from there. What Kooka had in its beak was a dead miner bird.
Three other kookas also hung around, as well as a magpie and a couple of currawongs. They were all probably hoping Kooka would drop its prey and they’d be able to snatch it away.
However, the miners let up their mass attack, and Kooka flew up into the big bush mahogany tree. There, it proceeded to bash the miner bird’s body against the branch so it would be easier to devour.
I managed to get photos of all four of the kookaburras, but none of the currawongs, which kept their distance.
© Linda Visman
Tags: Australian birds, baby animals, birds, birds in backyards, nature, owls, Podargus strigoides, tawny frogmouth
The tawny frogmouths are back!
Mum and Dad and two little ones turned up in one of the trees in our back yard the other day. My husband has been taking photos of them.
There is something special about these birds. The tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is actually not an owl, though it is usually mistaken for one.
The forward facing eyes are very owl-like, and this is one of the reasons owls are a favourite with many people. We do tend to anthropomorphise animals at times.
The babies too are very appealing with their large eyes, fluffy feathers and inquisitive nature.
Tawnies have a defence mechanism against any predators that might relish one – they elongate their body and imitate a broken-off branch. That, and their natural camouflage, makes them almost invisible in their favourite trees.
I love having the tawnies around, especially in breeding season. They add to the wildlife, especially birds, that flourish in our back yard.
(c) Linda Visman
Tags: Australian birds, boating, fishing, Lake Macquarie NSW, park, Rathmines, relaxation, walking
This is the second of two posts about the morning we spent at Rathmines. The first post is here.
I sat at a picnic table in the park next to F-Jetty so I could do some writing. But the winter day was so lovely – blue sky, warm sun, gentle breeze – and the sights and sounds so engrossing, that I stopped to watch, listen and take it all in.
Galahs scratch in the grass under a shady eucalypt, searching for tender shoots.
Several kookaburras cackle loudly from nearby trees.
Butcherbirds delineate their territory with their musical calls, and one pays a visit to my table to see what I have to offer.
Brightly coloured Rosella parrots search for seeds in the longer grass and, later, race by with their distinctive bouncing flight.
A wild duck moves off the path to make way for a human pedestrian, then pretends he was just searching for bugs.
Noisy miners chase each other from tree to tree, or make assaults on other passing birds.
Swallows perform their aerial ballet, while picking off insects on the wing.
A magpie digs in the dirt next to me and finds a tasty grub; another sings a melody in the distance.
Rainbow lorikeets chatter and squawk in the treetops.
A shag (cormorant) perches on a buoy just off-shore and spreads its wings to the sun.
A corella announces its appearance with a shrill screech.
A masked lapwing (plover) scuttles across the lawn on stick legs, searching for its lunch.
Seagulls settle for a rest in a placid alcove, while others bob about out on the breeze-blown lake.
Pelicans paddle smoothly by in stately succession.
A peewee seems to say hello to a big black dog that sleeps on a cushion outside a van by the lake shore.
Pedestrians pass by on the walking path. Some walk dogs, others amble by, while several stride out to get their daily exercise.
Hopeful anglers cast their lines from the end of the jetty and wait for an elusive bite.
Two men walk down from their car to the public gas barbecue, and an enticing aroma soon drifts across on the breeze.
A white-haired man sits on a bench reading a magazine.
Two young girls roll by on skateboards; the second takes a photo of the first with her mobile phone.
All that activity in about 30 minutes – and people say that it is boring just sitting on a park bench!
© Linda Visman