Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday - A Soap Opera

It was a bit like "Neighbours" in our garden this week.  Last year we had a pair of galahs nesting in a big old gum tree in the garden and I was lucky enough to catch a shot of one of the parents feeding a rather large baby.

This year we have seen a pair of galahs and a pair of rosellas hanging around the same hole in the tree. One afternoon last week Don called to me to get the camera as it looked as if the galahs were nesting again. Sure enough there was one galah sitting on an adjacent branch and another trying out the nest. She would disappear into the nest for 5 or so minutes, then reappear, ruffle her feathers, preen a little then go back into the nest.

We were very excited at the thought of another nesting pair.  About an hour later Don called me again and to our astonishment there were two rosellas checking out the same nest. My son had snaffled the camera so I missed getting a shot, but I did get one the previous week when they were inspecting another hole (top left). They obviously didn't think much of that one because this time they were after the same apartment as the galahs.

This is all very intriguing - the battle of the nests?  Or maybe the old tree has multiple nesting spots with one shared entrance - like an apartment block for birds.

I will keep you posted if there are any further episodes in the fascinating soapie.

Liz Needle, linking with Wild Bird Wednesday.

Friday, November 15, 2013

More of the Eastern Spinebill

Either these little birds are getting more accustomed to my presence or I am getting better with my camera, but I am really pleased with these latest shots.

Liz Needle

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eastern Spinebill

A frequent visitor to my garden and one of my favourite little birds is the Eastern Spinebill. They are quite small - 12-15 cms and very attractive with the distinctive cinnamon collar and chest and the contrasting black and white bands on the chest.

They are found all down the East coast and in the south east of Australia. They have a variety of habitats, but seem to like our garden with its huge variety of flowers. An Austrlian native honeyeater, they seem to prefer to collect the nectar from non-native flowers like fuchsia and salvia.

They are very difficult to photograph as they never keep still and I sat for hours on the veranda to get a few decent shots.

In other areas of the garden, the irises have been putting on a superb show, though they are all but finished now. 

This is a selection of what flowered this year. I love the rich colours and the lovely ruffles petals. And to think that I used to dislike irises - too flamboyant and over the top.  Who knows one day I may come to like gladioli and irridescent orange roses.  How tastes change

Liz Needle  -  linking with Wild Bird Wednesday

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Change of Focus

Well, I promised myself that I would complete this blog for a year so that I could record the changes in the garden over the year. I am reasonably happy that I have achieved what I set out to do - sometimes better than others. A few people have joined me on my journey and I thank them for sticking with me.

Now it is time to change my focus slightly and so I have decided to share with my readers not only my garden, but the visitors who come to my garden and surrounding areas. I hope that some of you will continue to visit and read my blog.

A couple of years ago we were lucky enough to be able to watch the progress of two little fantails as they reared their young. Again this year we have been so privileged as a pair of grey fantails built their nest in a camellia bush and proceeded to raise their little family. I like to think it may be the some of the young that we watched 2 years ago.

The Grey Fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa) is small, very active flycatcher. The form we have is the southern grey fantail which is distinguished by its mid-grey tail. They are rarely still, catching insects on the wing. They are cheerful cheeky little birds and seem quite unafraid to be around humans. The nsting pair this year was more wary than the previous pair and I think perhaps this year's were younger and less accustomed to nosey humans.

They build a neat cup shaped nest, made from grasses, bark and cobwebs on horizontal twigs. Usually 2-4 spotted pale-buff eggs. We spend a lot of time on the veranda watching them collect cobwebs for their nests. The plentiful supply of cobwebs under the eaves of the veranda could be one of the reasons they nest so close to the house.
My photos this year were not as good as the previous ones as it was harder to get close to the nest without distressing the parents.

TThree evenings ago I noticed that the parents were getting very excited by something on the ground. I went to investigate and found that one of the babies had fallen from the nest and was fluttering around. i picked it up and put it back in the nest, whereupon it promptly came out again. I spent the next hour putting the little one back in the nest as he was obviously not ready to take off. He did eventually settle as next morning he was snuggled down again.

However, yesterday evening the babies were obviously ready to get going as one hopped onto the branch shortly after this photo was taken. This morning the nest was empty.

This year has been a wonderful one for roses around here. Long wet, mild winter and some lovely sunny, but not too hot Spring days. My roses are looking brilliant.

Can't remember the name of this one, but it is really stunning this year.

Some of the David Austin collection

Fritz Nobis

Mary Rose with iris.

Liz Needle