Canberra’s autumn in Lockdown, rain, sunshine and birds

As the calendar pages turn towards the middle of 2020, uncertainty and Lockdown continues in Australia, and the world.  As if to compensate, autumn has been magnificent in Canberra this year…

After a dreadful summer of bushfires and thick smoke, it is wonderful to see trees, and plants flourishing with good rainfalls around Canberra in March, April and May.

The  weather looks wild through the Eucalyptus trees, but the trees are loving it….

not to mention the birds!

Photos could not really capture the sheer delight these cockatoos are having in some nearby Eucalyptus trees during the rain..

They are flying into the trees, calling (screeching) to each other..

….and sinking down gently into the rain-filled branches. A couple of them were hanging upside down on the outer branches, with wings spread out (I missed that photo opportunity)

Watching their games and delight, it is a reminder of how much they have missed the rain too.

The Crimson Rosellas are also back in the garden in bigger numbers than we have seen for a few years.. a little more sedate in their response to rain..

Here in Canberra  the autumn colours of the  landscape are often muted greens and soft greys, but this year, everything is looking very, very green.

Our Lockdown rules allow for a walk every day, and this one is a favourite of ours because it is not far from our house.

We follow this path until we come to what is known by locals as ”Heartbreak Hill” or ”Cardiac Arrest” Hill.  Actually it is not steep at all, with lovely views of the mountains, along the way.

One morning we were walking up Heartbreak Hill and we came across these two delightful young parrots… called Gang Gangs. A parent is watchful in the leaves behind them.

Does anyone know the ”Where’s Wally?” children’s books?

This could be “Where are the Gang Gangs?” amongst the autumn colour.

We have never seen Gang Gangs in our suburb, but, so much natural habitat in the bush has been lost in the fires, it is not surprising birds are moving into suburban areas for food.

They are most welcome!

Years ago I used to walk down this path almost every day. An elderly gentleman was always working in his garden and one day when I admired his roses, he told me I could come in and cut some roses to take home, at anytime!

He passed away some time ago, but he would love to see these roses continuing to flower.

It made me wonder how long do roses last?

Paul has been painting the cabin and the deck, and now to the garden!  My contribution so far was to ‘trim’ a very old Rosemary bush…once I started I couldn’t stop! Paul called it the ”Rosemary Bush Massacre”.

There is a large green grevillea near the deck called ”Wee Jasper”. This bush brings the Wattle Bird and also the elusive  Eastern Spinebill to our garden, because it flowers all through autumn and winter.

However, because it does flower for such a long period of time, and has birds and bees buzzing around,  it is seldom pruned.

While I had my garden clippers at hand, I decided to trim some of the older branches of the Wee Jasper..

As I reached into the branches of the Wee Jasper,  the Eastern Spinebill flew into the bushes and settled on a branch very close to me. I couldn’t believe how close it was, and how still. This is a bird almost impossible to photograph as he usually moves so fast and is very elusive.

I have just enough Irish blood in me to wonder if that tiny little bird was warding me off his bush…perhaps he was watching while I trimmed the Rosemary Bush..

…Eastern Spinebill one, Gerrie nil.

The Eastern Spinebill feeding from the Pineapple Sage, photo taken two years ago.

We are lucky to have one of our daughters working from her home here in Canberra, and it has been a few months now since we have seen our elder daughter, our son-in-law and our granddaughter.

Just after Christmas our granddaughter helped us pick this very cute koala for the garden. ..  a happy reminder of her.

We look forward to more State borders opening in Australia, so that we can get together again.

Many thanks for taking the time to read my blog posts, and thanks also to the nurses and health workers all over the world. ..what a service to communities they do!

Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.



26 Replies to “Canberra’s autumn in Lockdown, rain, sunshine and birds”

  1. What a beautiful time of the year, such lovely colours. I enjoyed all the photographs of your colourful birds too.

  2. I’m a bit taken with the Gang Gangs framed in their stunning background. What a special treat.
    I also love Joanie’s choice of garden ornament.

  3. It seems you have quite the reputation with those garden clippers, Gerrie. 🙂 How kind of your neighbour to be so generous with his roses. I believe that some bushes can last for up to fifty years with proper care. You really do have the most amazing bird life. I love the Crimson Rosellas and those Gang Gangs are really lovely. Heartbreak Hill made me think of Elvis’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ which was one of my favourite songs of his. Love the cute Koala. He’s so lifelike. Enjoy the rest of your spectacular autumn. xxx

    1. Thanks Sylvia, yes we are enjoying autumn, and not really looking forward to winter when we usually head north for the warmth!

  4. This post was a sheer delight to read during this time of the coronavirus. All those birds and flowers, two of the things I love most in this world. Also, in your part of the world, autumn is subtle but lovely nonetheless. A beautiful way to start the day. Hope you can see your family soon.

  5. You always make me smile with your wonderful aviary. Your birds are so beautiful. I love your garden kaola not only because he is so cute but because he has such nice memories for you. Your entire country only has twice the number of cases as our little state, so you all must be doing a lot of things right. Stay safe.

    1. Thanks Judy, the country is opening up again, slowly, but the borders between us and Victoria (where our daughter and family live) will only (possibly) open in July. I think people are worried about a second wave…time will tell.

  6. You were so lucky to get a wonderful, close photo of the Spinebill, Gerrie. We sometimes have them in our garden too, but they never stay long enough or still enough for a photo. The Gang Gangs are gorgeous too.
    It’s lovely to see all the colour in the gardens at this time of the year.

    1. Thanks Jane. I was lucky to get the Eastern Spinebill that day, he was so absorbed in feeding off the Pineapple Sage. I do love the Gang Gangs, something very very endearing about them.

  7. Lovely to see Canberra looking so colourful and your birds having a good time. Your photos of the gang gangs are great. We too hope that states open their borders as soon as it feels safe, so we can visit family and grandchildren. Take care.

    1. Thanks Ruth, and your lovely Botanic Gardens are a picture. Yes we would love to visit family and grandchildren too. Our daughter is having her second baby in September.

  8. Oh, not seeing close family is the worst part of all this, it must be hard for you having another grand on the way. Here’s to us all reconnecting soon!It’s simply marvelous seeing all that lush growth and glorious rain! I loved seeing those fun, intelligent cockatoos enjoying themselves, and lovely knowing you are getting more rosellas in the garden. I’ve never seen an Eastern spinebill, wonderful you captured such an illusive bird.
    I was laughing at the names of that hill, reminds me of some in the lakes. Good to read of your gardening, and I especially loved seeing the gang gang pics, had me smiling too. xxx

    1. I thought you would love the cockatoos ”joie de vivre”! and the Gang Gangs are really cute. Yes, it will nice for us all when we can see our grands…looking forward to that!

  9. What a beautiful post this is, Gerrie! The bright colours of the birds and the autumn shrubs are so cheering. How lovely that you have had rain at last and that the birds are enjoying themselves.
    Take care and stay well!

    1. Thanks Clare, the birds are good companions in this Lockdown period (and more generally). I hope you and your family are well, and staying home as much as possible.

  10. Those crests give the cockatoos a rather comical and surprised look. What a beautiful shrub rose to remember your neighbor by – a small but inspiring legacy. Hope you stay well and are able to see your family soon. We have one son (and d-i-l) in Chicago. They do grocery runs for us and last week we had a nice visit in the back garden, maintaining social distancing, of course. The other pair are in Minnesota, so we see them only online, but we are hopeful.

    1. Yes, the cockatoos look very comical and pleased with themselves in the rain. Glad you are able to spend time with your family in Chicago, and hopefully you won’t have to wait too long to see the other pair in Minnesota. I don’t mind the Lockdown except for not seeing family.

  11. Hi, What delightful photographs! I too am waiting for state borders to open so I can visit family on the Gold Coast.

    1. Thanks for the comment, I hope the Queensland borders don’t take too long to is hard being away from family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.