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: climate, cyclones, magpie, nature, noisy miner, NSW floods, Queensland floods, Rainbow lorikeet, refuge, shelter, storm
It has been raining here for two days as the remnants of Cyclone Oswald reach to the southern areas of eastern Australia. It will get worse, with stronger winds added to the rain. We will be fine where we are, but others won’t be as lucky.
There are thousands of people in Queensland and in northern NSW who are having it very tough at present. Many have been flooded from their homes and businesses. There have been deaths usually as people try to cross through swollen creeks and flooded causeways. (Some folk never learn).
States of emergency have been declared in some areas, and all emergency services are flat out helping those who are in trouble. Then they get some idiot like the one here.
As the rain falls and the wind blows, we look out onto our front verandah and see that other creatures are affected by the weather too. Our verandah always becomes a refuge for birds trying to get out of the rain, especially rainbow lorikeets.
We also have the ubiquitous noisy miners which, for once don’t gang up against the other birds. They all look rather forlorn at times like this
Today, I also managed to photograph a couple of the magpies that decided to take shelter there too. They don’t often come this high (the verandah is at second-storey level on our sloping block). They spend most of their time hunting for bugs and other creatures in their territory, which includes the lawns of other houses within an area of about a hundred metres radius of us.
I hope that the people affected by the floods are able to find shelter – just as these birds have done.
© Linda Visman
28th January 2013
Tags: birds, crow, feeding tray, magpie, noisy miner, Rainbow lorikeet, Tawnt frogmouth owls
It is 9.30am, and I am sitting overlooking the front yard with my coffee, trying to do some work on my latest novel.
Crows are cawing in the distance, somewhere near the lake, and a magpie carols happily nearby. The drone of a chainsaw over the ridge competes with the their calls. I hope no more trees are being massacred over there.
In the bottlebrush tree that brushes against the verandah rail next to me, several Rainbow Lorikeets chitter and squawk as they milk nectar from a few late blossoms. A Noisy Miner on a banksia blossom
Noisy Miners dive-bomb any other bird they see, and the threatening clack of their sharp beaks is clearly audible over the background noise.
A flock of corellas flies over our little vale, probably off to find nuts or fruit or seeds on trees further inland.
I was pleased to see this morning that the two young Tawny Frogmouth owls are still roosting in the rough-barked tree by our back door. They seem to know they are safe there.
The other day, as we ate lunch on the verandah, a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets came to see if there was seed in the feeder that hangs under the eaves. There was none, so they asked for some, politely at first, bobbing their heads and bodies at us from the rail a couple of feet away. We told them we would get some after we’d eaten. That is when they became demanding, screeching at us impatiently.
As soon as my husband approached the seed can that we keep on the verandah – after we had finished eating, of course – they could hardly contain their excitement. They hovered next to the feeder as the seed went in, and then chittered their thanks as they tucked into their own lunch.
© Linda Visman 10th Feb. 2012
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Tags: introspection, ladybird, noisy miner, spider, tawny frogmouth
I sit on the grass two-thirds the way up our yard and look down the slope of the land. Introspective.
The grass is longer than it should be, because I broke my toe on Sunday, and it will be a while before I push the lawn mower about again.
Dogs are barking in yards behind, below and beside me, but their territorial claims wash over me.
Cars pass below, but don’t impinge on my solitude.
A sunset-silvered jetliner sails high in the blue, and then is absorbed into shaving-cream clouds.
I look closer, down at the grass beside me.
A tiny spider – we used to call them money spiders when we were young – is busy creating a guy rope between my trouser-covered leg and a blade of grass.
Equally small, a spotted red ladybird clambers up another blade of grass.
A second one steps from a brittle leaf onto my leg, and I take it up carefully in my hand, but its wing cases open and it flies off almost immediately.
Amid the grass and weed stalks, midges flit about, searching for whatever midges search for. One has found something – the gap between trouser and boot – and I scratch at the itch absent-mindedly.
A green ant, larger and stockier than the little black ones, climbs the hill of my leg, and I give it the brush-off. I don’t want your bite, thanks!
I pick up dead leaves and bark shed from the moulting Spotted Gums. My fingers shred and shred and pick up more. When I realise I have a pile between my legs, I toss the bits around over a wider area.
I can no longer see the tiny spider or its fine, silken thread, but the ladybirds are still there.
And wonder how many tiny creatures I have just crushed.
I wander about the lawn, a colossus above a whole different world of hidden life.
I think how, every day, our feet and machines, our chemicals and pollutants
Disturb and disrupt,
Despoil and destroy,
And we do not even notice, or think about it.
I see a small, pale grey feather and pick it up. It is fine but dense – probably from a Noisy Miner.
There is another small feather in almost the same spot. This one is ultra-fine, downy; unbelievably soft and wispy; speckled brown and white – from a young Tawny Frogmouth owl.
I hold them high between finger and thumb, one in each hand. When I let go, the breeze carries them away.
The Noisy Miner’s feather falls first;
The Tawny’s feather floats on a soft current of air, and lands lightly further up the slope.
I leave them where they land;
The elements will take them back to themselves.
I go back to my world.
© Linda Visman
Friday, 2nd December 2011
Author of Ben’s Challenge, a novel for readers from 10 years to 100. Click on the image above to see it on Amazon – printed book or Kindle edition.