20 May 2024

Birding around my Australian 'local patch'

Most days whilst I'm here in Australia I take a circular walk from our daughters place to a local small bushland reserve alongside the local cemetery. Theres a dam, on private property, along the route but its visible from the road. The route takes about an hour to walk but much longer if I'm birding! 

Its only a small area but I've found some nice birds here and in the garden. This trip was no exception with Brown Quail, Yellow-tufted and New Holland Honeyeaters being garden 'firsts' within the first few days. There has been a small covey of Brown Quail visiting the garden on several occasions but they're incredibly shy - it doesn't help that I'm normally shadowed by two black labradors - Lucy and Max

New Holland Honeyeater
Brown Quail

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater

Six hundred metres up the road I reach the bushland reserve which is bordered on one side by the cemetery. The dam is usually worth a look but this time there have hardly been any birds using it apart from the ubiquitous White-plumed and Yellow- tufted Honeyeaters. This trip I managed to add Restless Flycatcher to the list of birds seen in the reserve.

Little did I know that a couple of days later they'd be much closer feeding on flying ants in the cemetery and using the railings and gravestones as perches to hawk from.

The bird in the photos above is a male, identifiable by his cinnamon breast band. The cemetery seems to attract lots of smaller passerine as well as parrots that all appear to be either feeding on seeds or insects in the dry grass. These have included Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Diamond Firetail and Red-browed Firetail,

Above: Diamond Firetails
Below: Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Parrots are usually represented by Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Red-rumped or 'Grass' Parrots, Galahs, Little Lorikeets and Eastern Rosella's. This trip there have been many more Little Lorikeets than usual with up to thirty being seen. They've even made the garden list with small parties flying over to roost most nights.

Eastern Rosella

Red-rumped Parrots
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Its a great place to bird for a couple of hours and theres usually something to see. Blue-faced Honeyeaters and Noisy Miners seemed to be recent colonists as I haven't seen them locally before.
Noisy Miner
Blue-faced Honeyeater

The Miners seem to be universally disliked due to their habit of driving out smaller species and their aggression towards them. See here for more information as to why, in many areas, theyre considered a pest.

Little Friarbird

Common Bronzewing

By far the best find this trip though has to be the beautiful Black-shouldered Kite that was perched in the top of on of the ornamental trees in the garden early one morning! 

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