My First Bird Sightings In Tasmania

I have been living here in Tasmania for a few weeks now and during that time I have spotted a few different birds so thought I would do a quick post with what I have seen so far.

These are birds I have seen in a park across the road and in the nextdoor neighbour’s backyard. Unfortunately, where I am currently staying, there is no yard at all as it’s a unit. Although I am extremely grateful that my friends Bill and Helen have let me stay in their holiday unit I find my own place here, I am hoping it won’t take me too long to find a new home with a backyard so I can once again enjoy local wildlife visitors.

My first photo is actually the very first birds I saw on arrival here. These Magpies look quite different to what I’m used to seeing in Queensland. These ones have a white back instead of the black backs found up north. It is quite comforting to still be able to hear the familiar melodious warbling of magpies in the mornings.

Magpies

This is a Spotted dove, a common enough bird in suburban areas everywhere.

Spotted dove

Turns out there are quite a number of these European Blackbirds around. I haven’t seen one of these birds since leaving Sydney more than 20 years ago.

European blackbird (male)
European blackbird (female)

Not a great photo, but these are Tasmanian Native Hens, referred to as “turbo chooks” by the locals. I spotted these in a new development area when I went for a drive.  And their behaviour really does remind me of chickens the way they forage and run down the road with their wings out trying not to get left behind by the group. 😀

Tasmanian Native Hens

Since arriving here in Tassie, I had been hearing a very strange bird call and it took me ages to try and spot one and then get a decent picture of it. It’s a Little Wattlebird.

Little Wattlebird

I even managed to get a snippet of its call:

 

I spotted this Green Rosella in the park one morning. This bird was a first for me!

Green rosella

And here it is again, looking a bit cold in the weak morning sunshine.

Green rosella

This Silver gull (seagull) spotted me eating my lunch in the park across the road from work one day. He waited patiently till I had finished, and when I left to return to work, he checked around for any crumbs.

And finally, I have seen many of these Masked Lapwings, or plovers. I often seen them in the park or along the roadside, and I hear their squawking call during the night, probably warning something off their territory.

Masked lapwing or plover

So some interesting bird sightings for me in my new environment here in Tasmania. I wonder what I will see next?

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in October 2017

After about two months of  warm, dry weather we finally got rain on the 1st October! And boy, did it rain! It rained almost continually for 18 days before we even got a glimpse of the sun. It was light steady rain, which was great for the ground as it allowed the rain to soak in before we got hit with some very heavy downpours.

October also saw the gradual return of some of our regular birds, as the very bossy and territorial magpies have lessened their violent attacks now their babies are out of the nest.

One of Igor and Maggie’s babies
Igor eyeballing a pied currawong to keep away. You can just make out the black blob in the tree.
The pied currawong trying to look nonchalant while Igor stares at him.
One of the kookaburras has started showing up in our yard again
A pied butcherbird dropped in to say hello and grab a quick snack

I came across this spider and its web in some plants near the veranda. I don’t think I’ve seen this type before, it’s about an inch in size, but I love its colouring!

Here’s another insect I’ve never seen before. It’s only about a centimetre in size and there were a number of them on the leaves of a gum tree sapling. It’s quite unusual looking, so if you happen to know what it is, let me know.

And here’s something I don’t get to see very often- a golden tailed spiny ant. It’s a big ant, about a centimetre in length. Doesn’t it look elegant with its golden colouring?

And the snakes are on the move too. I saw two different carpet pythons during the month. This one was waiting under the carport for me when I got home late from work one night. It’s about 4 feet long.

Carpet python

There’s been a buzz of activity at the insect hotel as well. Among other unknown flying insects, I found this bee visiting over several days. Not sure, but I think it might be a resin bee.

There were plenty of birds to watch during October (which was great because the Aussie Backyard Bird Count was on) including these sulphur crested cockatoos.

This cockatoo was enjoying a casual stroll through the tall weeds during a break in the rain, grabbing a bite of the stems or flowers as it went.

And this cockatoo was very happy with the onset of the rain. In fact, I’d say it was ecstatic!! Check out the video. 😀

A galah made a recurring appearance.
Quite a few of these Pale Headed Rosellas were seen and heard.
It’s not often I get to see these Scaly Breasted Lorikeets.

This pair of rainbow lorikeets were sheltering from the rain. Aren’t they cute?

And lastly, a bird has been visiting that I can’t identify. I first heard this bird call back in April, but it was some distance away. Lately, it has been calling from a gum tree in my yard but I can’t find it amongst all the leaves, plus I don’t know what I’m actually looking for. I captured this audio recording of it.

If you happen to know what this bird is, please let me know. It’s located in South East Queensland. Thanks!

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my backyard wildlife visitors. 🙂
This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

Wildlife Visitors in June 2017

cockatoo and lorikeets

June was the start of winter here in Australia, and here in SE Queensland we’ve had quite mild temperatures and lots of sunny days except for a weekend of good solid rain.

I started to see more of these pretty birds, a pale headed rosella, but they are quite timid things and it’s always hard to get a good photo of them. As you can see in this photo, the bird was watching me to make sure I didn’t get too close.

paleheaded rosella

This is a rare photograph of the male and female pair of pied currawongs that live around my house.  The male is on the left. These are one of my favourite birds.

pied currawongs

There is still some activity by the monarch butterfly and the caterpillars are eating what little is left of the milkweed.

monarch caterpillar

monarch butterfly

The kookaburra family is still around, I often see them sitting in the gum trees around the house and hear their laughing calls early in the morning and in the evening. This is one of the juveniles catching some early morning winter sun.

kookaburra in tree

I came across this ladybird which I’ve never seen before, it’s a yellow shouldered ladybird. It looks quite hairy!

yellow shouldered ladybird

On the rainy weekend in June, we had lots of feathered visitors wanting a quick feed as well as shelter out of the rain. Look at this line up of rainbow lorikeets!

rainbow lorikeets

You can see a video I took of these birds visiting in the rain in my earlier post here.

Earlier that day, this sulphur crested cockatoo turned up wanting to pick a fight with the lorikeets over what was left in the feed dish. The little birds held their ground and the big cockatoo quickly gave up and left in disgust.

cockatoo and lorikeets

And for a brief moment, these noisy miners got a look in at another feed dish while the lorikeets were occupied with the cockatoo.

noisy miners

Here’s our local magpies, Igor and Maggie, casually strolling around the yard searching for bugs. You can see more photos of these two in my earlier post here.

australian magpies

One day I managed to capture these juvenile magpies (Maggie and Igor’s offspring) play fighting in the yard. I had to film this through the window.

These two sulphur crested cockatoos turned up one morning looking for trouble. I was watching them closely to see what they were up to, but after trying some berries on the nightshade tree then flying onto the house roof peering down at me and realising I wasn’t going anywhere, they both flew off with a loud screech.

sulphur crested cockatoos

Possum box regulars, mother Heidi and baby Chloe, are still enjoying their sleeping quarters after 4 months. Now that the weather has turned cooler, I’m sure they’ve laid claim on the box for the winter duration.

brushtail possum
Chloe on the left munching on a snack and mum Heidi patiently waiting for hers.
brushtail possum
Chloe mid-bite enjoying some banana.
brushtail possum
Chloe getting stuck into a bit of carrot. She really loves her food!

You can see more of these two possums in my earlier post here.

Nightly regulars Mummy possum and her joey snacking on peanuts on their way through.

brushtail possums

And here’s Mummy possum just chilling in the bird feeder.

brushtail possum

You can read more about Mummy possum here.

And finally, I’ve seen quite a few king parrots visiting the nightshade tree. They love eating the berries. The female is mostly green while the male is splendid in his bright red and deep green colouring.

male and female king parrot

male and female king parrot

These parrots are hard to get pictures of because they’re easily frightened, especially the females. I wonder what the neighbours think when they see me tip toeing along the veranda in slow motion trying not to scare the birds away! 😀

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

Magpie Meanderings

Recently one afternoon I saw our resident magpies, Igor and Maggie, strolling casually around the yard looking for bugs and worms.

Maggie standing tall
Igor on the lookout (he seems to be missing some black feathers maybe from moulting or a fight with the currawongs)
Maggie on the hunt
Igor having a scratch
Maggie and Igor
The lovely couple
Gotcha!
Maggie dives in for a catch
One of the kids joins in
Like father like son
Found something!
Off they go as a family searching for food

It was actually quite relaxing sitting on the veranda and watching the birds walk around the yard finding food. Good to see that there was plenty for them to eat after the recent rain.

 

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in January

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardener Says ….

January was the middle of summer here in Australia, and I can tell you, it was extremely hot! Where I live in Queensland, nearly half the month had days of at least 35 degrees Celsius (that’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit for you non metric readers!) and the humidity was very high too. I think my air conditioner has been going nearly non stop 24/7 since the start of the year. Because of the extreme heat, I wasn’t out and about as much as usual, and neither were the local wildlife (and who can blame them!).

My best news of January was the welcome surprise visit from my magpie friend Ramsay! It was great to see him again, although he is missing some feathers, but otherwise, he seems fine. Igor, the resident male magpie, wasn’t overly impressed by the visit and kept a close watch on him, even giving him the stink eye! Ramsay only stayed long enough to have his photo taken, take a bit of meat from me, and then he was off down the valley. And he’s still making those funny baby bird noises (that’s how I knew it was him).

Ramsay
Ramsay

A few sulphur crested cockatoos were seen now and again during the month.

Here comes trouble!
Here comes trouble!

The large eastern water dragon made several appearances, no doubt enjoying the warmth of the season, although I did unexpectedly catch it on our verandah late one afternoon in front of the water dish, so perhaps it was even too hot for him!

Adult Eastern Water Dragon
Adult Eastern Water Dragon

And then this smaller eastern water dragon started making appearances near the end of the month.

Juvenile eastern water dragon looking very relaxed
Juvenile eastern water dragon looking very relaxed

The magpie babies are as big as their parents now, and are colouring up nicely. I have seen them eating on their own, although they do still beg for food and both parents give in and feed them. Spoiled birdies!

Maggie feeding a young one
Maggie feeding a young one
Igor feeding a young one
Igor feeding a young one

It must have been too hot for the brushtail possums as well, because they tended to only turn up very late at night after I’d gone to bed, so maybe they have trouble sleeping during the hot days. The possum box has been empty a lot too, but one morning I did see this female possum relaxing in it.

Pin Up Possum

The baby kookaburras are going great, growing quickly now, having seen them just today, their tail feathers are long now like their parents, so it’s only the size of their beaks that give them away unless you see them making those baby bird “I’m hungry!” noises.

Family portrait - L to R: juvenile, parent, juvenile, parent.
Family portrait – L to R: juvenile, parent, juvenile, parent.

There was a bit of excitement one day when I saw one of the adult kookaburras feed a snake to one of the young ones. It was quite amazing to see because it was quite a large snake and I never thought the baby bird would eat it all, but it did, even if it did take about 45 minutes to get it all down. The photo below shows the bird with the last half of the snake. If you’re interested in seeing more photos of what happened, check out my recent post here.

Yum yum!
Yum yum!

And finally, even the rainbow lorikeets felt the heat. Here’s a video of them getting cool in the house guttering which gets cool water in it from the air conditioner.

Hope you enjoyed seeing my backyard visitors. 🙂

The Magpie Whisperer – Book Review

 

This is quite an amazing non fiction book by an Australian woman who turned her backyard into Magpie Manor – a kind of drop in centre for wild magpies where they can come and go as they please, forage for food in the yard, sunbathe, splash in a pool, play with colourful toys, and even hang off the Hills Hoist!

The Magpie Whisperer introduces us to her 3 favourite magpies that she has developed special bonds with. She relates interesting stories about how the friendships started, what the magpies get up to, and how these wild birds have not only captivated her heart but become lifelong special friends and helped her deal with her anxiety.

The book is easy to read and enjoyable because it’s not just big blocks of text. There are plenty of fantastic photos of the magpies in action as well as funny things like the scrapbook section plus interesting trivia and snippets of information.

I have been a fan of The Magpie Whisperer on Instagram for a while now, her videos of magpie antics really make me laugh, and I was excited to finally see her book published and just had to buy a copy immediately. I really love this book and it has given me a few ideas of things I could try in my own backyard for my own visiting magpies.

The Magpie Whisperer is a book I will get out and flip through and read again and again, and I recommend it if you are already a follower of The Magpie Whisperer or if you’re someone who loves magpies or who appreciates that birds have intelligence and personalities like us.

Visit The Magpie Whisperer’s website for more information about The Magpie Whisperer and the magpies in her backyard, as well as for links to purchase the book and watch her entertaining magpie videos. There are also links to follow her on social media so you don’t miss all the magpie shenanigans. 🙂

Please note that I purchased a copy of The Magpie Whisperer of my own volition and the views expressed in this review are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

 

Wildlife Visitors in November

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says …

November was the last month of spring here in Australia, and it clearly showed in the wildlife I saw out and about on our property. There was the surprise return of an old visitor, a family of new visitors, and finally the appearance of baby birds!

We were happy to see the return of this old fellow – an eastern water dragon. I don’t know much about these reptiles, I don’t even know if it’s a he or a she, but we think he’s been hiding out somewhere all winter and has reappeared since the weather has warmed up so much already.

eastern water dragon
eastern water dragon

The caper white butterfly migration that had been fascinating everyone recently is now over and this is the last photo I managed to get.

caper white butterfly
caper white butterfly

I also saw this Australian painted lady butterfly, but it was difficult to get a decent picture as she would never stay still.

australian painted lady butterfly
australian painted lady butterfly

I’m not a big fan of arachnids, but I couldn’t help but marvel at the spectacular web of this female golden orb weaver.

golden orb weaver
golden orb weaver

And for only the second time in my life, I managed to capture a photo of a dragonfly!

dragonfly
dragonfly

The nocturnal activities of the local possums seems to have died down for now, and I didn’t get a chance to get any photos of a night, but I did capture this lovable mum and joey chilling out in one of our possum boxes.

mother brushtail possum and joey in a possum box
mother brushtail possum and joey in a possum box

There was another visit from a galah, who was just checking out the scene and had a drink from our old birdbath.

galah
galah

Still plenty of rainbow lorikeets around, as you can see by this late afternoon photo of the gum tree in front of our house.

rainbow lorikeets
rainbow lorikeets

I also got this picture of one of two baby lorikeets amongst the crowd.

baby rainbow lorikeet
baby rainbow lorikeet

The rainbow loris continued their daily antics to entertain us. Here’s a video of a couple of them playing and hanging upside down on a piece of rope that is attached to the top of a gum tree in front of our house. It’s been there ever since we bought the place, no idea how it got up there it’s so high, or what the purpose of it was, but the birds seem to have a ball with it.

I was lucky to spot several of the gorgeous little scaly breasted lorikeets one day. I counted 5 of them, I’ve never seen so many here before. Here are three of them, not sure what had caught their attention, but they were amusing to watch before they flew off.

scaly breasted lorikeets
scaly breasted lorikeets
scaly breasted lorikeets
scaly breasted lorikeets

Brand new visitors to our place is a family of grey butcherbirds. We have been here almost 12 years now and never seen these birds before. The grey butcherbirds look similar to our regular pied butcherbirds, just lighter in colour, and have a different song, so it took a second glance to realise these were not our usual visitors. And there wasn’t just one, there was a whole family!

grey butcherbird
grey butcherbird
two baby grey butcherbirds with a parent in the background
two baby grey butcherbirds with a parent in the background

In the photo above, the 2 birds in the front are the juveniles, not long out of the nest and still being fed by the parents. You can just make out a parent behind them on another branch.

The pied currawongs have had 2 babies again this year. The magpies have significantly let up their dive bombing tactics and the currawongs can get closer to our house again, but the babies are still sitting in trees out of the magpies reach. Here is a photo of the 2 young ones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
two baby pied currawongs not long out of the nest

 

Last month I mentioned the appearance of birds of prey causing a stir amongst the magpies, well, I saw them again, several times. On one day, I saw 3 birds of prey, circling right over our house (2 at once!). And another time I saw both magpies madly chasing a brown hawk of some description right over our roof. Wow, those birds can fly! On another day, I heard the urgent cries of the magpies again, so I grabbed my camera and dashed outside, and sure enough, there was a bird of prey circling high above. I managed to get one reasonable photo of it before it went away. It’s really hard to use a zoom and find a speck in the sky! I’m not sure what bird this is, some kind of kite or hawk I’m thinking, depending on the angle of light, it looked brown or white/grey.

a bird of prey
a bird of prey

And this is Igor, our resident male magpie, following me as I’m out and about taking pictures, and finding some food to take back to their nest.

male magpie collecting food for his young
male magpie collecting food for his young

And finally, we see the two baby magpies, just out of the nest and still being fed by their parents. I was lucky to get this shot because the parents had been keeping the babies separated in different trees.

two baby magpies
two baby magpies

Some more good news is that the pair of kookaburras we have been seeing regularly over the last few months have a nest close by and we have watched them taking food to feed babies. Unfortunately due to the location and angle of the nest, I can’t see it very well, and we’re not going to go anywhere near it, so we will just have to wait a bit longer for the babies to grow up and then I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them  once they’ve left the nest.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my photos of wildlife in my backyard. 🙂