Well it seems that the COVID-19 restrictions have been in place for an age. Here in Western Australia the social distancing requirements aren’t as strict as some places, but we still aren’t able to go where we want and do what we want. It makes me more appreciative of what my parents went through growing up in the Great Depression and then after that the Second World War. But anyway to keep myself from going totally mad I’ve been working on a few projects. This one is to document all the birds that come into our backyard. I’ve not got them all by any means. Some are very elusive and just don’t want their photos taken for some reason. Can’t imagine why. Here is a selection form the last couple of weeks.
Well that’s it for this week. Stay safe, keep positive and try and keep busy.
Back in September I wrote about the various birds nesting in the garden. Well autumn is now here and I thought I’d write an update. The white browed babblers have successfully hatched all their eggs which means there has been a population explosion. They are quite curious birds as they live in communal nests and have separate nursery nests as well which they all take turns in raising the chicks. Well now they are embarking on a building program to make a new communal sleeping nest for all the new adults. As a result these funny little grumpy birds are flying in building materials at a great rate of knots.
We were also quite delighted to have a visitor. While we were talking one afternoon I spotted a Nankeen Kestrel hunting in the field opposite. It didn’t catch anything and left empty-handed. I thought that was that when I heard a bump from the TV aerial so we both ran outside to look, me with my camera and Helen with her binoculars. Sure enough the kestrel had decided our aerial would make a very good observation perch. It remained there quite unfazed for quite a while. It was only when I tried to get closer for a better photo that it decided to leave.
At present with the first days of spring upon us we have several birds nesting in the garden. Amongst the Bougainvillea on the back fence several white cheeked honey eaters (Phylidonyris nigra) have made nests. I’m not entirely sure how many there are in there as the thorns prevent me from having a closer look.
The other avian residents of the garden are the bossy and busy white browed babblers (Pomatostomus superciliosus). They are quite raucous as they pick amongst the mulch looking for insects, spiders , small amphibians, reptiles and will also and seeds. There are three nests that I know about in the peppercorn trees and it is difficult to know exactly how many birds there are as they have quite complicated living arrangements.
“The White-browed Babbler builds a domed stick nest, with a hooded side entrance. It builds both brood (for breeding) and roost (for resting) nests. Breeding pairs are monogamous, but they form co-operative breeding groups comprising two to four breeding pairs and two to eight non-breeding helpers. Only the breeding female incubates the eggs, though other birds in the group feed her and the young birds. Cooperatively breeding groups occupy a home-range, but there are complex interactions within and between groups.”
All have lain eggs and the females are sitting tight on the clutches of eggs while the attentive males flit around the garden finding food for them.
I observe all these antics as I hang out washing, cut the grass and other domestic human duties. It all sounds like paradise. Unfortunately just as happened in the original Garden of Eden so a pair are about to upset the apple cart so to speak. This pair aren’t snakes (they’re still asleep in the woodpile) and it definitely isn’t the resident Adam and Eve (er that’s me and the missus). No it is the two miscreants below who are to blame.
Kookaburras (Daceelo novaeguineae) normally eat small lizards, large insects and other invertebrates but they are not averse to raiding nests and taking small chicks. The babblers and honeyeaters all take cover when the Kookaburras take their observation post on the TV aerial. I think this is going to end in tears.