Birds at the RBG #3: Powerful Owl

Monday, 20 October 2014
Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua)

Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua)

Free walking tours are conducted by volunteers twice a day at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney. They start at the Information booth just outside the shop, more or less in the middle of the Garden, and last between one and a half and two hours. Notable bird sightings are posted on the whiteboard at the booth. On the day of my visit, the presence of a Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua) at the RBG was indicated, and in the course of the tour we visited the tree in which the bird roosted.

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Birds at the RBG #2: Grey Butcherbird

Saturday, 18 October 2014
Grey butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) with young

Grey butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) with young

It’s Grey butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) breeding season at the Royal Botanic Garden here in Sydney!
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Birds at the RBG #1: White ibis

Friday, 17 October 2014
Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis moluccus)

Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis moluccus)

The Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis moluccus) is really not one of my favourite birds. When viewed close up they are pretty grubby. They have this horrible featherless head and neck. The trees in which they nest turn white from their droppings. They have a habit of following rubbish trucks to the dump for a feed, and they have been moving into many suburbs including mine. I hate to think about what they’re leaving on my roof to be washed into the rainwater tanks.

But! When viewed at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney they seem much more benign. They don’t appear to have destroyed any of the palm trees by crapping in their crowns. Yet.

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Welcome Swallows in the Hunter

Wednesday, 15 October 2014
A Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) feeds its young at the Hunter Valley Gardens.

A Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) feeds its young at the Hunter Valley Gardens.

A family trip to the Hunter Valley coincided with the Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) breeding season. This provided me with an opportunity to see these birds at rest.

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Bees in Chicory

Sunday, 12 January 2014
European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

I grow Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus) for my rabbit Bertie. There’s an awful lot of it, and it grows too fast to keep under control in summer when it becomes a prolific flowerer. The scapes grow several centimetres a day, and before you know it the raised beds are full of scraggly droopy stems with lovely blue flowers and almost no leaves.

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

The flowers attract members of the local European honey bee (Apis mellifera) colony, important pollinators of crops, garden plants (and weeds), and then I have a photo-op!

[Click on individual photos to embiggen].
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Corella and Cypress

Monday, 6 January 2014
Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea)

Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea)

One of the houses in the neighbourhood has a pair of cypresses that bears fruit almost every year. If there is a bumper crop like the one that happened in 2011 (alas, no pix) the trees will, at some point in the nut-ripening cycle, attract an entire flock of Little Corellas (Cacatua sanguinea) which will then hang from the branches and leaves like strange, large, off-white/pinkish fruit. Said spectacle is frequently accompanied by noise and mess.

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Birdpalooza #2: Around the feeder

Monday, 18 November 2013
Crashing the party

Crashing the party

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