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ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ON THESE PAGES ARE © BILL JOLLY UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED






Current happenings - What's About?....



Late December, 2007 - The creek is back

Lockyer Creek at Abberton
Lockyer Creek at Abberton on New Year's Eve

 

 

When I looked out through the dining-room windows at 5am this-morning, a Black Bittern was standing in shallow water right in front of the house. 
I tried to sneak onto the verandah for some better photographs – but it flew off immediately I got out there.

 

However, just a little to the left of where the bittern had been the Bush-hen was strolling about in the shallows - calling occasionally as he wandered 
around completely in the open. I managed half-a-dozen photos from the verandah, as well as a good long look through my binoculars. 
This individual looks prime for breeding, with a rich bluish-purple breast.

 

Around 7am when I took another look through the windows, the Black Bittern was back again, so I just snapped away through the closed window, 
and got some passable images. The bittern turns up in the same spot at some stage most days, the present shallow level of the creek just in front of the house seems 
to suit its needs. But it's a very flighty bird indeed.

 

Black Bittern     Black Bittern
Black Bittern

Bush-hen     Bush-hen
Bush-hen
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
A very wet Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

21 December, 2007 - Some Good rain and some good birds.

Lockyer Creek from the verandah
Lockyer Creek from the house verandah

 

Lockyer Creek is flowing again at Abberton!  Albeit, slowly at this stage. Twice this week we’ve seen a Black Bittern here, 
and a Bush-hen has returned for the fifth successive December.
We've been hearing its distinctive call most afternoons and evenings since. 
We've had good views of it some years, but mostly we just get used to hearing it calling, usually through into January, and don't interfere with it.


Scarlet Honeyeater     Scarlet Honeyeater
Scarlet Honeyeater at the bird-bath outside my window

 

Variegated Fairy-wrenEastern Water Dragon

December, 2007

Immature Common Koel
Immature Common Koel

A few birds seen at Sherwood Arboretum in Brisbane.

Australasian GrebeDusky Moorhen
 

2 & 3 December, 2007 - visit to Durikai State Forest

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater     Yellow-tufted Honeyeater     Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters
     About 90 minutes inland from Abberton, Durikai is a great spot to find a good range of honeyeater species.
White-naped Honeyeater     White-naped Honeyeater
White-naped Honeyeaters

 

Black-chinned, Yellow-tufted and White-naped Honeyeaters
Black-chinned, Yellow-tufted and White-naped Honeyeaters

 

Nankeen Night-Heron     Nankeen Night-Heron
Two Nankeen Night-herons sat in a tree alongside a small pond throughout our visit

 

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike

 

Eastern Grey Kangaroo     Eastern Grey Kangaroo     Eastern Grey Kangaroo
Eastern Grey Kangaroos

Late November, 2007- 

White-throated Needletail
The first White-throated Needletails of the Summer have arrived.

 

 

Olive-backed OrioleFemale Zebra Finch

 

Eastern Whipbird

Eastern Whipbird     Eastern Whipbird
Eastern Whipbirds are regular bathers just outside my window.
Eastern Whipbird     Eastern Whipbird     Eastern Whipbird
Eastern Whipbird
  Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt
 Nankeen Kestrel     Nankeen Kestrel    Nankeen Kestrel
A local Nankeen Kestrel hunting.
Nankeen Kestrel     Nankeen Kestrel     Nankeen Kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel
The same Nankeen Kestrel moving on......
Plum-headed Finch
Plum-headed Finch
 

White-browed WoodswallowStriped Honeyeater

This is the first time I've found White-browed Woodswallows nesting in the valley.
I counted four nests in the space of fifty metres, but I don't doubt there were several more

Striped Honeyeater nests are plentiful every year, 


1 November, 2007 - Forest in the morning - a lake in the afternoon.

Brown Cuckoo-dove           
A pair of Brown Cuckoo-doves were billing and cooing and mating
in the escarpment forest this-morning.
          
Black-faced MonarchSpotted Pardalote
Black-faced Monarchs are summer visitors here - but Spotted Pardalotes are year-round birds
     
Yellow-billed Spoonbill and Royal Spoonbill
Yellow-billed and Royal Spoonbills

 

Great EgretAustralian Pelican


 

Wandering Whistling Duck
Wandering Whistling Ducks

Cotton Pygmy Goose and Wandering Whistling DuckChestnut Teal

Pacific Black Duck
A  handsome pair of Pacific Black Ducks

     


October, 2007 - A visit to a nearby lake.

Whiskered Tern     Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Terns
 

Great-crested Grebe
Two distant Great-crested Grebes

 

Red-kneed Dotterel     
Red-kneed Dotterel

     Channel-billed Cuckoo

A Channel-billed Cuckoo overhead usually means trouble for crows

 

     Channel-billed Cuckoo     Channel-billed Cuckoo

 

Channel-billed Cuckoo

 

            Black Falcon   Wedge-tailed Eagle
 Black Falcon and Wedge-tailed Eagle -
two familiar silhouettes (not to scale!)

Dollarbird     Dollarbird

How beautiful are Dollarbirds? Beautiful in flight, beautiful at rest!

Dollarbird     Dollarbird

 

Richard's Pipit     Richard's Pipit

Two birds of the grassland - Richard's Pipit (above)
and Red-rumped Parrot below.

     Red-rumped Parrot
     Long-billed Corella     Long-billed Corella
Long-billed Corellas have become well-established in south-east Queensland

16 October, 2007 - A day uprange.

Diamond Dove
    Another day-trip up onto the Darling Downs yielded several of the more inland species
including Diamond Dove and Yellow-throated Miner. 
      Diamond Dove
But this Diamond Dove has been calling in the early hours at Abberton for a while,
and occasionally turning in the garden up for a drink 

October - A lot of nesting going on

Striped Honeyeater
click image to enlarge
Striped Honeyeater at its sporran-like hanging nest

Tawny Frogmouth
click image to enlarge
Tawny Frogmouth with two chicks

 

White-browed WoodswallowFuscous Honeyeater
Banded LapwingAustralasian Grebe


Eastern Whipbird
Eastern Whipbirds come to the birdbath outside my window every day.

Eastern Whipbird

 

....as do Sacred Kingfishers

Sacred Kingfisher


Some parrots  at Abberton

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos have been frequent of late.
During October we were visited by all three eastern Black Cockatoo species - Glossy, Red-tailed and Yellow-tailed.

 

Galah
Galahs

 

Pale-headed Rosella     Galah      Pale-headed Rosella
Two pics of a Pale-headed Rosella in the garden, and one of a Galah on a verandah post

 

King Parrot   King Parrot
King Parrots

...and some raptors in the garden

Collared Sparrowhawk
A Collared Sparrowhawk which swept down to a birdbath under a tree,
grabbed a victim, and retired to the other side of the garden to commence its meal

 

Australian Hobby                 Nankeen Kestrel
Australian Hobby                                                 Nankeen Kestrel

 

Brown Falcon      Brown Falcon
The Brown Falcon is the least falcon-like of our Australian falcons

7 October 2007 -  A day-trip to the west

Emu       Emu      Emu
Emus are regularly seen about an hour west of Abberton.
 

Little Eagle
This Little Eagle was one of a pair flying close to where we saw the Emus.

Squatter Pigeon
Squatter Pigeon - there have been a couple of local sightings lately,
but we found this bird on a dirt road in the same area as the Emus and Little Eagles.

Late September/October 2007

Olive-backed OrioleEastern Whipbird
Olive-backed Oriole and Eastern Whipbird - both in the garden.

 

Restless FlycatcherRestless Flycatcher
Restless Flycatcher on the verandah

 

 Rainbow Bee-eater

  Rainbow Bee-eater                                  Rainbow Bee-eater
Rainbow Bee-eaters are abundant

Rufous SonglarkTawny Grassbird
Rufous Songlark and Tawny Grassbird
are both breeding locally

 


September 2007 -  Really Spring!

Saturday was the 1st of September, officially the first day of spring, and it was a day full of warmth and bird sights and sounds galore 
- 66 species in the garden on Saturday and Sunday, many of them singing, courting or nest-building.

 

Red-browed Finch, Red-backed Fairy-wren
click image to enlarge
Red-browed Finch and two Red-backed Fairywrens, with a Double-barred Finch looking on.
Variegated Fairy-wren     Variegated Fairy-wren      Variegated Fairy-wren      Superb Fairy-wren
Our three local Fairywrens - Red-backed, male Variegated just coming out of eclipse, male and female Variegated, male and female Superb.

Red-backed Fairy-wrens, Variegated Fairy-wrens and Superb Fairy-wrens are all paired off and making themselves obvious, 
Rainbow Bee-eaters are overhead and on trees and powerlines in numbers, wheeling and calling all day.
 

 

     
Scarlet Honeyeater     Scarlet Honeyeater  
Scarlet Honeyeater
 

We had our first Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo of the spring, and a Brown-headed Honeyeater was a first ever for here, 
bringing our garden list to 208spp.

Raptors too were plentiful over the weekend – Black-shouldered Kite, Whistling Kite, Spotted Harrier, Brown Goshawk, 
Collared Sparrowhawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Little Eagle, Black Falcon and Nankeen Kestrel.

 

  Black Falcon     Black Falcon  
Black Falcon (above) and Little Eagle (below), both from the verandah
  Little Eagle     Little Eagle
Yellow Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill

 

Striated PardaloteChestnut-breasted Mannikin

Tawny Frogmouth
click image to enlarge
Tawny Frogmouth under an almost full moon

There was a lunar eclipse on 28th August, when thousands of photos got taken of the full moon going through its several colour changes, 
but this was the night before, and no-one was around, just the Tawny Frogmouth, the moon and me.

 


August 21, 2007 -  Some rain, and more signs of Spring

Australasian Shoveler
Australasian Shoveler
 

Most of the major lakes in the valley are dry, but those that do have water also hold a lot of birds.

 

Black-fronted DotterelDarter
At home, a couple of days of steady rain has been most welcome, and for the birds, Springtime activity is in full swing.
Eastern Whipbird
Eastern Whipbird

From my window in recent days I've been watching many birds foraging for nesting material.

From a little distance, I've followed Speckled Warblers and White-browed Scrubwrens all the way back to their nests, which proved to be only about a metre apart -
the Speckled Warblers nest on the ground, the scrubwrens almost so - but although I'm seeing Eastern Whipbirds gathering twigs and leafy material every day, 
which they routinely take to the same general location every time, the exact placement of that nest isn't yet apparent.

 

Speckled WarblerSpeckled Warbler
Speckled Warblers gathering nesting material.  Male on the left, female on the right.

 

Black-shouldered Kite
Black-shouldered Kite

 

Pied ButcherbirdRainbow Lorikeet
A few from around the garden......
Red-browed FinchBrown Honeyeater
and a Wedge-tailed Eagle from the verandah....
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle, Torresian Crow and Australian Magpie

July 24, 2007 - Signs of Spring


Eastern WhipbirdStriated Pardalote

Eastern Whipbirds are creating a great din around the place calling to and pursuing each other. A male bird was on the verandah yesterday
giving his ear-splitting whip-crack call, with a female just beneath us in the vegetation alongside the house calling her response.

Striated Pardalotes are busy refurbishing a much-favoured nesting hole.

  Banded Lapwing               Banded Lapwing

I found a paddock with 14 Banded Lapwings dotted around, all paired off and spaced around the field in a way that suggests they are nesting or about to nest.

 

Spotted Harrier

A Spotted Harrier by the roadside.

       Spotted Harrier               Spotted Harrier  
 

 

Black-necked Stork

Black-necked Storks are spectacular birds. This is one of two storks on a pond the other day.

 

                Black-necked Stork
   

 

 

Platypus      Platypus

Our local platypus continues to oblige.

 

All three resident Fairywren species are now in full breeding plumage, though a few males still have a little way to go.

Variegated Fairywren  Variegated Fairywren  Variegated Fairywren  Variegated Fairywren

An adult male Variegated Fairywren is a stunningly beautiful bird.
This is a young or eclipse male heading towards breeding plumage.
Some of the glories to come are hinted at in the blues and blacks around the head, with a touch of 
chestnut shoulder just beginning to appear in the first photo below.

 

Variegated Fairywren  Variegated Fairywren  Variegated Fairywren  Variegated Fairywren

 


Red-backed FairywrenTawny Frogmouth


 

Yellow-billed Spoonbill 

 Yellow-billed Spoonbill  Yellow-billed Spoonbill  Yellow-billed Spoonbill

Yellow-billed Spoonbill  Yellow-billed Spoonbill  
A Yellow-billed Spoonbill securing a good feed.

July 19, 2007 - Winter birds and others

Azure Kingfisher           Azure Kingfisher

Azure Kingfisher is a bird that we are used to seeing every day - when there isn't a drought. 
But the creek is dry in front of the house at present, and for now we must go a couple of kilometres upstream to see Azure Kingfishers and platypus.

 

Mangrove Honeyeater
Mangrove Honeyeater

We have to go to the coast to see Mangrove Honeyeaters. I found this one at a new location (for me),
just a few minutes south of Brisbane Airport, alongside the Brisbane River. 

 


Western Gerygone               Western Gerygone
Western Gerygone

Winter has brought a lot of inland species eastwards into the Lockyer Valley. This Western Gerygone is one of them. 
It's a tiny bird, not nearly as distinctive as our resident White-throated Gerygones, and can be hard to pick until you get a good look at the tail!

               Red Wattlebird

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters are usually only found west of the Great Dividing Range - winter has delivered several to 
Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley. Red Wattlebirds are year-round Toowoomba residents.

 


Fan-tailed CuckooWhite-plumed Honeyeater

(Photos: Phil Palmer)

Fan-tailed Cuckoos can turn up at any time of the year. When the one above dropped onto a fence just up the road the other day, I raised my camera 
only to find that I'd left the battery at home on charge! Fortunately Phil Palmer, who was with me, got a few photos of this gorgeous little cuckoo.  
It is unusual to find White-plumed Honeyeaters this far east. When one appeared on the birdbath at home, I had the battery in the camera, 
but I wasn't quick enough to get a photo. Phil however managed just this one excellent shot - and the bird was gone!

 


Little Corella               Little Corella

There are always a few Little Corellas around the valley, but the flocks are getting larger of late. 


July 2007 - Around the Garden

An assortment of pics of mostly small birds around the garden.....
Brown Quail
Brown Quail - from the front verandah
click image to enlarge

 


Striated PardaloteRed-browed Finch

Zebra FinchMistletoebird


White-browed ScrubwrenStriped Honeyeater

    
Varied Sittella
Varied Sittella

 


Common Bronzewing
Common Bronzewing

A very cautious and wary pigeon, easily disturbed. 
They land a little distance away from water or food,
before walking up to it.

 

Golden-headed CisticolaSuperb Fairywren



More raptors in June and July

Australasian HobbyBlack Kite
Wedge-tailed Eagle               Wedge-tailed Eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle and Torresian Crow
over the garden

 


July 1, 2007 - A great Sunday morning!

platypus              platypus
 

Before the current dry spell, platypus were a regular sight here at Abberton. 
Early morning or late afternoon were favoured times, when we would frequently watch them from the verandahs, or from the windows of the house.
On overcast days, they could sometimes be seen feeding busily along the creek at any time, even at mid-day.

Just now, the creek bed is dry here - still plenty of birds, but no platypus for a while.  But this-morning, I bumped into an old friend, just five minutes upstream from our place,
and was able to watch him floating on the surface every few minutes as he digested the food he had gathered from the bottom of the creek. 

Each time he surfaced, he stayed on top just long enough for me to take maybe 5 or 6 photographs.

Platypus
click image to enlarge

  I eventually managed to tear myself away to head back home, but I only got a couple of hundred metres before encountering this magnificent Square-tailed Kite cruising the tree-tops of nearby gardens.
Square-tailed Kite       Square-tailed Kite
click image to enlarge

June 12, 2007 - More winter birds

Wedge-tailed Eagle and Torresian Crows
A Wedge-tailed Eagle put on a spectacular close-flying display for us the other day 
- with Torresian Crows flailing away in insignificant pursuit.
Wedge-tailed Eagle and Torresian Crow         Wedge-tailed Eagle

SilvereyesSpotted Pardalote


 

 

Glossy Black Cockatoo male
Glossy Black Cockatoo

Glossy Black Cockatoos feed almost exclusively on the cones of Allocasuarinas. 
Consequent upon significant loss of that habitat throughout throughout much of their range, 
they are now considered a vulnerable species.

 

Glossy Black Cockatoo male and female  Glossy Black Cockatoo male and female
This male and female were feasting on Allocasuarina cones, alongside a local lake.

 

Glossy Black Cockatoo
Glossy Black Cockatoo

 


June 1, 2007 - First day of Winter


My first bird of the winter was a big brightly-coloured Brown Goshawk, which glided into the jacaranda tree 
closest to the house just on cue as I stepped outside this-morning.

 As we sat in the garden for a while before lunch, small birds were constantly coming and going around us, fly-catching 
from the branches of trees, gleaning their way through the canopy, foraging on the garden floor, or visiting bird baths.

Speckled Warblers

This pair of Speckled Warblers were working their way together through leaf litter and along garden paths, 
with the male bird from time to time delivering a morsel to the female.   

Just a couple of metres from the Speckled Warblers, I watched two Striated Pardalotes emerge from a nest hole 
right alongside our car shed, which they have used many times over the years, and photographed them as 
they paused just under the roof of the shed before heading out into the surrounding trees.

Striated Pardalote          Striated Pardalote

 


May 31, 2007 - An unusual robin.

Young male Rose Robin?         Young male Rose Robin?

Breast colour led me to identify this bird as a female Scarlet Robin, but advice from birding friends 
down south who have familiarity with both Scarlet and Rose Robins has clarified that it is 
in fact an unusually coloured young male Rose Robin. 

 

Varied Sittella         Varied Sittella
Small flocks of Varied Sittellas are turning up daily to hunt over tree trunks and branches.

 


May 19, 2007 - A visit from a southern pardalote.

Striated Pardalote - race 'ornartus'  Striated Pardalote - race 'ornartus'
Striated Pardalotes - Pardalotus striatus ornatus
The Queensland race of Striated Pardalote, and our regular pardalote here, is melanocephalus - black-headed. 
Today, a bird of the more southern race ornatus appeared at a birdbath - the first time we've seen one here.

Ornatus, photographed above, has a streaked, not black, crown, and shows a much narrower 
white-line on the folded wing than does melanocephalus below.

  
Striated Pardalote - race 'melanocephalus'
Striated Pardalote 
Pardalotus striatus melanocephalus

 

Autumn is when some of the more inland and southern species drop in. 

 

Yellow-faced HoneyeaterStriped Honeyeater

 

This month, we've seen White-plumed, Yellow-faced and Fuscous Honeyeaters here, alongside our regular 
White-throated, Striped, Blue-faced, Brown, Lewin's and Scarlet  Honeyeaters. 

 

White-throated HoneyeaterWhite-throated Honeyeaters
White-throated Honeyeaters

 

Eastern Yellow Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin

Rose Robin and Scarlet Robin have visited, flycatching from branches as the much bigger resident 
Eastern Yellow Robins forage below. 

A Western Gerygone has joined the constantly calling White-throated Gerygones in the tree tops.

And just one southern ornatus race Striated Pardalote has visited a birdbath, while our ever-present 
melanocephalus
version seems to be getting on with still more nesting.

 

 
Just a few more photos from around the garden....

 

Red-backed FairywrenRufous Whistler
  
Restless Flycatcher
 Restless Flycatcher
Yellow ThornbillGrey Fantail
Speckled Warbler male
Speckled Warbler male

May 2, 2007 - Australian Pratincoles!

 

It's more than a year since we added a new bird to the house list, but a couple of Australian Pratincoles 
have brought the Abberton list up to 207.

Seen from the verandah  this-morning, by Eileen and our son Owen (visiting from Wales), they flew in from 
the south, and sailed up and around in unison over the presently dry creek, for about a minute, alternating 
cruising on long swept-back wings with occasional synchronized flapping.

Instantly recognisable as pratincoles, and showing the bright sandy back and wings contrasting 
with black primaries and secondaries that mark out the Australian from Oriental. 
Both have occurred here in the Lockyer Valley.

Alas, no photos - I was indoors and didn't even get to see them!

We filmed and photographed Collared Pratincoles doing the much the same thing in Spain last year, 
but it's doubly exciting to have pratincoles on the house list!

Spotted Harrier here this-morning too, and a couple of Wedge-tailed Eagles not too high over the pratincoles.

 


March 29, 2007 - Accipiters close up

Brown Goshawk
Brown Goshawk

We've been getting Brown Goshawks and Collared Sparrowhawks daily of late - not just flying over, 
or marauding around the garden, which we're used to, but close-up to the house  
- even on the verandah or at a birdbath.

Size apart, the most-handy feature for separating these two in flight is the goshawk's rounded tail, 
contrasted with the sparrowhawk's squared or even notched tail.

This Brown Goshawk, photographed this-morning through the window, displays some of the other 
distinguishing  factors which come into play at close quarters. You will note the rounded tail, 
still a factor at rest not only in flight. 

In addition, you can see the goshawk's distinctive heavy brow ridge. When you meet a 
Collared Sparrowhawk close-up, it does show a brow-ridge, but never as neanderthal-like as this one.

And the sturdy legs; take a look at a Collared Sparrowhawk's spindly legs 
in the photos further down the page. 

 

Brown GoshawkBrown Goshawk
A different Brown Goshawk, a couple of days ago.

March 21, 2007 - A regular owl

 

Southern Boobook
Southern Boobook at roost

 

About a week ago, we noticed a Southern Boobook at roost in an Acacia tree not far from the house, on the other side of the garden from where we saw the Powerful Owl and the Southern Boobook recently.

It's the first bird I check for from the verandah each morning, and it has been there every day since - so far. 


March 18, 2007 - All quiet on the bird table

 

Collared SparrowhawkCollared Sparrowhawk

The first bird of the day was this Collared Sparrowhawk, which I snapped from indoors
- the feeder was otherwise empty. 

 

Pink-eard Duck with Plumed Whistling Ducks
Pink-eared Duck with Plumed Whistling-ducks

Four photos from the garden:

 

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin
Yellow Spoonbill   
Yellow-billed Spoonbill in the creek
Spangled Drongo
Spangled Drongo
Rufous Whistler
Immature male Rufous Whistler

March 14, 2007 - Another owl

Southern Boobook
Southern Boobook

It was the chattering of Lewin's and Brown Honeyeaters, scrubwrens and such that led me to the 
Powerful Owl that was here a week or so ago.

Just on dusk, last night, we could hear them from the kitchen again, fussing around in the same general area. 
This time the bird at the centre of their attention proved to be a Southern Boobook -in the same tree 
as the Powerful Owl had been.

Pre-breakfast this-morning, when I followed up more racket from the garden, it led me not to an owl, 
but to a Collared Sparrowhawk which dashed from the same tree to a nearby gum, then to another 
and then another, all in the same corner of the garden. Sparrowhawks are often around, and will drop 
silently into the depths of a big tree to sit quietly as long as unobserved and untroubled, but if they're 
hassled they usually move on straightaway.

However, after I got back indoors, I could hear the small birds still kicking up a fuss in the same spot. 
I managed to hold off until after breakfast, but then I had to go back out there.

Sure enough, a small, richly-coloured, Southern Boobook was in the fiddlewood tree. 

It was quite low down towards the outer part of the tree, and when it spotted me it made off to a 
higher branch of an adjacent gum. I took some photos without approaching any closer 
and a couple of hours later, I can see from the verandah that the bird is still settled there, 
seemingly oblivious to the occasional fuss from the locals.

Maybe this is one part of the reason that pishing works - the birds that come down to investigate 
might not only be curious to see what is pishing, but also to find out what it's pishing at.

 

March 5, 2007 - Powerful Owl

 

Powerful Owl
click image to enlarge
Powerful Owl


Busy chattering, mid-morning, from various Honeyeaters and White-browed Scrubwrens 
led me to take a closer look at the Fiddlewood tree in the back garden. Southern Boobooks 
have roosted in it's cover from time to time, and that's what I expected to see there.

Instead, I found this magnificent Powerful Owl looking down at me, from a height of no more than 15 feet!
I
darted back indoors and returned with the camera for a few close shots, 
before retreating again to the verandah. 

 

Powerful Owl Powerful Owl
From under the tree Back view, from the verandah
After having a good close look at me when I first stumbled across him, he settled down again.
 
I set up the camera on the verandah, with a scope alongside, so we were able to watch the bird 
on and off all day while we took our pics from the verandah, without disturbing him at all.

By lunchtime, we discovered that there was a clear view from the kitchen window, and we were able to watch him through binoculars from inside the house as he sat with his head turned over his back. He appeared to snooze for some of the day, with eyes closed, though from time to time one or both would open briefly. 

Just on dusk, I looked through the scope and the bird was still there; I looked again a few seconds later,
and it was gone. 


We've heard Powerful Owls here occasionally, but this is the first one we've seen in the garden.

 

Powerful OwlPowerful Owl
Powerful Owl - front and back views
Powerful Owl
 

February 24, 2007

Plum-headed Finch and Double-barred Finch
Plum-headed Finch and Double-barred Finch

Several Plum-headed Finches dropped in this-morning for a communal splash around on
the rock outside what is now our breakfast room, alongside Speckled Warbler, 
White-throated Honeyeaters, Yellow-rumped Thornbills and Silvereyes.

Breakfasting with an uninterruped view of an expanse of sky, as well as of
the garden, has yielded plenty of raptors too. In the last week, we've seen
Spotted Harrier, Black Kite, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brown Goshawk,
Black-shouldered Kite, and Australian Hobby.


Collared Sparrowhawk

White-browed Scrubwren


On the other side of the house, this Collared Sparrowhawk flew onto the new shaded birdbath, 
clutching a big grasshopper in one foot. If you look at the other foot, you can just make out the very distinctive, 
extremely long, middle toe - a significant characteristic of Collared Sparrowhawks. 

The White-browed Scrubwren turned up in the same spot some time later......

 


Male Figbird

Eastern Yellow Robin

January 24, 2007

Brown Goshawk

This-morning, the first bird I saw from my window was a massive (presumably female) 
Brown Goshawk occupying the new birdbath. I'll have to leave the venetian blinds partly 
up overnight in case of this sort of surprise, because once again I had to photograph 
through the slats, hoping that the focus on a big bird so close would 
render them less visible.

Above is the result. A heavy-browed, not yet mature, Brown Goshawk that I would 
have sworn could see me, but presumably couldn't.

 


January 23, 2007


I've moved my desk out of the room overlooking the rock and birdbath, over to the other 
side of the house. People have asked if I did this so I could get more work done - but 
there is no danger of that.  I've put a birdbath in the garden bed just outside the window 
of my new spot and it's attracting a lot of birds. Eastern Yellow Robin and 
Speckled Warblers were in there yesterday, several wrens, honeyeaters 
and finches are regular.

 

Pheasant Coucal

Meanwhile, a Pheasant Coucal has been coming to the birdbath outside my previous office.

Both male and female of this big non-parasitic cuckoo assume this dark breeding plumage 
and black bill at this time of year.

 

Glossy IbisGlossy Ibis
A single Glossy Ibis has been dropping in at Abberton from time to time over the last week or so. 
On Sunday morning,  I happened upon it a couple of kilometres up the road.

 

Rufous Songlark
It has been a good summer for Rufous Songlarks

 


January, 2007 - Grass Owl!


Grass Owl
This is the first Grass Owl I've seen in the valley. 
Disturbed from a roost close to the ground alongside a local swamp, 
it flew 20 or 30 metres to sit looking at me from a nearby tree. 

Grass Owl

When it settled in another tree, closer to the point from which it first flew, 
it showed off its distinctively long and unfeathered legs.

 

White-winged Chough
White-winged Chough
- a dryer country bird
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin
in the garden 


White-necked Heron
click image to enlarge
White-necked Heron

 





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