Backyard Birds

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.

 

Backyard Birds by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Willie Wagtail on the back fence. York, Western Australia. Canon EOS 6d with Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Contemporary lens. Exposure: 1/500 sec, f7.1 at ISO 1600.

 

Backyard Birds by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata. York, Western Australia. Canon EOS 6d with Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Contemporary lens. Exposure: 1/500 sec, f6.3 at ISO 400.

 

White-cheeked Honeyeater by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
White-cheeked Honeyeater, W, in my back garden. York, Western Australia. Canon EOS550d with Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens. Exposure: 1/500 sec, f7.1 at ISO 500.

 

Backyard Birds by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
White browed babblers (White) breaking the social distancing rules by communal dust bathing. York, Western Australia. Canon EOS 6d with Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 lens. Exposure: 1/500 sec, f6.3 at ISO 5000.

 

Brown Honeyeater by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Brown Honeyeater, Brown, in my back garden. York, Western Australia. Canon EOS 550d with Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 lens. Exposure: 1/500 sec, f6.3 at ISO 320.

 

Backyard Birds by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Australian Ringneck aka twenty-eight parrot,Aus. York, Western Australia. Canon EOS 6d with Sigma 150-600mm lens. Exposure: 1/500 sec, f6.3, at ISO 6400.

Well that’s it for this week. Stay safe, keep positive and try and keep busy.

Paradise Regained

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.

 

White Browed Babbler by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
A delivery of nest material from next door. White browed babbler, Pomatostomus superciliosus. York, Western Australia. Canon 6d with Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens. Exposure: 1/640 sec, f6.5 at ISO 500.

 

White Browed Babbler by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Queuing on the landing branch waiting to unload. White browed babbler, Pomatostomus superciliosus. York, Western Australia. Canon EOS6d with Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens. Exposure: 1/640 sec, f6.3 ISO 320.

 

White Browed Babbler by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Waiting to enter the building site. White browed babbler, Pomatostomus superciliosus. York, Western Australia. Canon EOS6d with Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens. Exposure: 1/640 sec, f6.3 at ISO 640.

 

 

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.

 

Nankeen Kestral by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Nankeen kestrel, Falco cenchroides cenchroides. York, Western Australia. Canon EOS 6d with Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens. Exposure: 1/1000 sec, f8 at ISO 320.

 

Trouble In The Garden

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.

 

White-cheeked Honeyeater by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
One of the white-cheeked honeyeaters, Phylidonyris nigra, on our lemon tree at the back of the garden.

 

 

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.”

Birds In Backyards

 

White-browed babbler by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Hills Hoist washing lines supporting birds for generations. White-browed babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus), York, Western Australia.

 

 

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.

 

White-browed babbler by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
About to head home with tonight’s tea. White-browed babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus), York, Western Australia.

 

 

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.

 

Laughing Kookaurras by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Laughing Kookaburras perched on our TV aerial looking for small animals to prey upon.

 

 

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.