The photos below seem like a dream to me now: this was our garden in November….late spring.
We had some rain, which made the garden look quite green. I looked at these photos at the end of summer and I had to double-check the date on my camera to make sure it was just a few short months ago.
Despite the fairly calm conditions in Canberra in spring, the hot dry winds, the drought in much of Australia, and the early and unusual fires in other parts of Australia, were the warning signs of the terrible summer to come.
During December fires had spread across the country, and the winds blew the thick smoke through Canberra… some days the air quality was the worst of any major city in the world.
The Gardenia flowered so gracefully on one of our hottest days…(40 degrees C) Incredible!
Our home is part of a group of suburbs not far from the Namadgi National Park, with views of the Brindabella Mountains…all mountain photos are taken from our garden or our street.
Inevitably the winds, and the searing hot temperatures spread the fires across the mountains.
Even more apocalyptic was the sight of the fires burning across the mountains at night.
During some of evenings, when our suburbs were on ”high alert” and it was hard to sleep, we shared meals and glasses of wine with neighbours…a memorable time. There was an acute sense of camaraderie and community during the fires.
Then came a sudden chance of rain, which became a freak hail storm…
Finally some nice, steady rain came! The whole garden looked as if it was having a bad hair day!
However, in many parts of Eastern Australia there were floods and road closures …
…even more trauma and heartbreak for people and particularly wildlife.
Finally, in February the cooler weather and rain enabled the ACT Emergency Services to gradually reduce the fires in the mountains.
Miraculously, everything started to look green again. Canberra, at the end of summer could do with more rain, but all normal weather patterns do not apply this year!
Cautiously at first, the birds are coming back to the garden..
The almond tree had endured hot dry winds, leaves stripped from the hail storm, and reduced water…
but it has flourished and has a bumper crop of almonds this year..who know why?
The cockatoos are back….noisily cracking almond nuts and gossiping in the trees…..life is back to normal.
During the last few months many animals have been moved out of Namadgi National Park for their safety. Amongst them, platypus, koalas, rock wallabies and even Northern Corrobboree Frogs. I hope to do a post on their return soon.
After seeing the plight of so many koalas this summer, here is a link to a video clip of an endearing young koala called Willow, and her first encounter with a butterfly.
The devastating bush fires burning across much of Australia has made this a long and sombre summer for most Australians. The extent of the bush fires, and the ferocity of those fires is unprecedented.
Today’s newspaper has a photo of an older man, former owner of a lovely home in a community he and his wife loved; he pointed to the charred rubble on the ground and said…
”life was good, and then suddenly there was nothing.”
In December and January many holiday makers go to the pretty NSW South Coast of Australia, and this year we too, intended to meet up with our family there for Christmas.
We cancelled our holiday just before Christmas, and stayed at home. Luckily we did. We had a lovely time at home, and cleaning birdbaths and watering was a daily occurrence.
In early January the fires tore across the south coast, destroying homes, and communities, and with some loss of lives.
Canberra too, is in a fire prone area, and, in January, as the fires continued to burn in National Parks and along the coast, we had to prepare ourselves for the possibility of leaving our homes at short notice.
What do you take when you may be leaving your home for good?
A suitcase of clothes, essential documents, water, a full tank of petrol in the car, photos, and sleeping bags (where did they go…given away years ago?) USBs, chargers, torches, batteries, candles, matches, the list goes on.
If there is no power, we are back to torches, matches and candles…. the real world!
We have lived in Canberra for over 30 years, and those of you who follow this blog know that one of the joys of living in Canberra is that almost every suburb is surrounded by bush, and the birds, the kangaroos, wallabies are part of every day living for us.
However, this comes at a price during droughts and bush fires season.
Communications during bush fire threats are much better these days, it brings a chill to all Canberrans to remember how poor the communication was during the 2003 fires.
These days we have a helpful app called “Fires Near Me” which gives daily and hourly updates on fires in our region.
During the really hot days, everything is quiet, and the smoke from the surrounding fires is thick in the air. A quality index reading above 200 is considered hazardous to health. On one particular day the reading in Canberra was 5,000, the highest level in the world for that day.
It is a great relief when a cool change comes, the smoke haze improves (for a while), and the birds come back again.
As the weather clears, the cockatoos fill the skies with their screeching as they swing confidently into the garden to check the almond tree..(miraculously full of fruit).
This gives us an endearing sense of normality.
Needless to say, they and all animals and birds are welcome to any food we can give them.
We live near Mt Taylor, home to many kangaroos, wallabies, birds, butterflies, lizards, insects, indeed, a smorgasbord of animal and insect life. Now, in the early morning and the late evening some kangaroos, one with a joey, come down our street to drink from the birdbaths, and buckets of water we leave out for them.
A group of volunteers called Water our Wildlife put stations of water in the same place daily so that the animals know where to go for predictable water supplies.
As I write there are no active fires in or very near Canberra, however, we have been in a state of alert since the beginning of January. So much has been written about the fires, and so much sadness, that I decided to just show some photos of our two most loved holiday destinations, both of which are also on high alert..
Kosciusko National Park ..(some contained fires in the higher regions)
This is an area rich in flora and fauna……
A sign near this beautiful Snow Gum (Eucalyptus trees) says “these grandfather trees are two and three hundred years old. Aboriginal tradition says that the spirit of ancestral travellers live in these warraganj (old snow gums)
During all the fires, there is the devastating loss of wildlife, flora and fauna, and loss of habitat for those who survive.
However, this little Pygmy Possum (a mouse sized marsupial) is capable of surviving for almost two weeks by bringing its body down to the low temperatures during times of extreme cold or heat. The biggest threat to this little possum is clearance of the land…another story.
Our second frequent and much loved holiday destination is:
The NSW South Coast ..also on alert..
We have spent many happy days with friends walking along these pretty beaches solving world problems .
The bird life in this part of the world is amazing, and to see the birds fly between these beautiful spotted Eucalyptus trees, with jet pilot precision, is both stunning and a privilege.
The Rainbow Lorikeets are very noisy in spring when they feed off the flowers from the Spotted Eucalyptus trees…and then reverse into the bird bath for drinks…ever cautious..
A walk through a wooded area near the sea..
I hope this young Swamp Wallaby, and others, have found safety..
Amongst all that is lost, and fear of what may be lost, is the absolute admiration and out pouring of gratitude for the fire-fighters.
They are the first port of call for wildlife too
Some firefighters have been killed, most with young families. These families have to grow up without a father, which is a life long sentence.
There is so much more to say about the generosity and kindness of ordinary Australians, the leadership and calmness of RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, and the heartfelt worldwide response, but I will leave that for another post.
Jessica, (blog: Rusty Duck) will have seen that Kangaroo Island has suffered badly in every way from the fires, and has lost most of its Ligurian honey bees, believed to be the last remaining pure stock of bees found anywhere in the world.
Many thanks to all of you who have sent good wishes, it is lovely to have a blogging community across many worlds.
PS I will write about the gardens in New Zealand in February.
Birdlife Australia has a wonderful program called Birds in the Backyard.
It is a research, education and conservation program that was developed through concern that we are gradually losing small native birds from parks and gardens, through rapid expansion of cities, suburbs and towns.
One week of the year is set aside for the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. During this week, individuals can participate in collecting data by recording the birds we see, in twenty minute periods.
Birds can be recorded in our own backyard, a local park, a main street of a town, a beach, or a patch of forest….anywhere in Australia.
In 2018 Australians counted 2.7 million birds including 30 000 Rainbow Lorikeets.
The rise of Rainbow Lorikeets shows how the Aussie backyard has changed from the traditional European-style cottage gardens, to more native gardens.
Lorikeets are nectar-loving birds and like to forage on the flowers of Eucalypts, Bottle-brushes and Grevillias to harvest nectar and pollen.
My daughter and her family live in an inner city suburb in Melbourne. (Melbourne is the second biggest city in Australia.) It is a rapidly changing suburb from the original workers cottages to townhouses for a younger generation.
One constant in the suburb is the street trees. The streets we walk down regularly are lined with Bottle brushes and Eucalypts. It is a pleasure to walk to the coffee shop, and look at the gardens and the bird-laden trees and shrubs along the way.
Melbourne is well known for warm and inviting coffee shops too.
At Christmas time we noticed some of the street trees were decorated by local residents and children, and the flowers could out do any Christmas decorations!
In the same suburb of Melbourne, the park and playing fields are lined with palm trees. I don’t know the history of these trees, but the Rainbow Lorikeets are feeding and nesting in them too, which show how adaptable they are. Lorikeets, are, unfortunately very bossy birds, and tend to dominate other species of birds.
The data collected from the Aussie Backyard Bird Count records the three top birds counted in every state in Australia that year.
The the top three birds counted in Canberra and surrounds (Australian Capital Territory) were……..The Australian Magpie
The second most recorded bird was the Crimson Rosella.
and the third was the Pied Currawong.
The currawong is a handsome looking bird, and flies into the garden with the precision of a jet pilot. Whip smart, he knows where to find water, and also little birds nesting in trees. Once the currawong arrives in the garden, the little birds disappear.
The bird count can make everyone feel a bit territorial and competitive about our favourite birds…
I’ve heard the New South Wales magpies have slightly different colour markings to our Magpies in Canberra, and are more striking….
and here is a New South Wales Magpie…and she is putting on the Ritz…
Whereas our Magpies, looking a bit scruffy, are pulling plants out of the garden,
However, the very young Canberra Magpie in the photo below began her early life in the courtyards of Parliament House, and is entertaining all the visitors with her beautiful birdsong. So she is a celebrity from day one!
At the end of the Backyard Bird Count week, we can vote for our favourite of the 50 most popular birds in Australia. (an impossible task of course)
This year I have voted for the Eastern Spinebill. This tiny little bird, with a mighty strong call, can be heard every autumn in our garden. He comes to the Peppermint Sage plant in our backyard regularly every year (in the uncertain natural world, this is a comfort). He competes with the bossy Wattlebird for food, and stands his ground. This is the Lion-heart of little birds.
In and around Canberra this spring there have been an abundance of smaller native birds which are unusual to Canberra (to me anyway). On my Canberra Wildlife Photography Facebook page, I have seen photos of Leaden Flycatchers, Rainbow Bee-Eaters, Sacred Kingfisher and a Rufus Songlark. Perhaps the drought is moving these birds closer to Canberra for the water and relatively easy food sources. They are very welcome.
I hope you have some sunshine, rain, plants and birds, where ever you are in the world. The joys of life!
Almost every year we go to Far North Queensland in the winter. We leave our coats at home and freeze all the way to the airport. Then we board the plane for a three hour flight into another world, casual clothing, hats and a pair of sunglasses…nothing can prepare you for the colours of Queensland.
As the plane circles to land in this beautiful part of the world my heart always gives a lift…..
the vast azure sea, the tropical mountains, and the long blue skies.
This year we went with friends and family, and visited three different places, Port Douglas, the Atherton Tablelands, and Palm Cove.
We spent our time in Palm Cove with our family and lovely granddaughter, and it was interesting to see this colourful world through her eyes.
From our apartment, on the third floor, we had a great view of the lush green palms and tropical plants…
Birds play an important role in distribution of rainforest seeds, and we were heartened to see that Queensland has its share of cockatoos, eating and spreading seeds.
We woke every morning to the familiar sound of cockatoos screeching overhead as they flew from palm tree to palm tree. This must be an unsettling start to the day for unsuspecting overseas tourists.
Looking down from our apartment we saw a flash of iridescent blue, the Ulysses butterfly, common to this area…almost camouflaged by the rich green surroundings.
I know that many bloggers are interested in butterflies, especially Jason and Judy from https://gardeninacity.wordpress.com/ so here are a few striking Queensland butterflies from the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda.
The Cairns Birdwing butterfly is the largest of all Australian Butterflies
On our walk through the gardens to the beach we saw so many colourful and unusual plants and flowers…..as our granddaughter said ”Oh Wow!”
Unfortunately I couldn’t find the name of this pretty pink/red flower..
The palm below is a striking entrance to a garden.
We have been coming to Palm Cove for about 25 years, and one thing is a constant, Pete’s Place. This is the shop where you can buy milk, bread, magazines, summer clothes and hats,
….and THE best best fish and chips in town. Especially the fresh Barramundi.
Meanwhile, we read and heard about the changing weather, back in Canberra.
Canberra does get the occasional dusting of snow in our winter, but this year …. especially in the National Park and some parts of Canberra, the snow kept on coming !
Social media went mad with clips of kangaroos hopping around in the snow, wombats and even a platypus pushing through the snow..
The ABC and BBC news and the Washington Post had clips of kangaroos bounding around in snow. What a confusing time to be an Aussie animal…this photo says it all..
SO….who is responsible!
…..and how about booking us into Palm Cove next year?
I hope you are enjoying your season where ever you are in the world, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog, especially if you should be out in the garden!
The end of June and the beginning of July is mid-winter in Canberra…..no wonder the pelican looks dejected.
However, there is one place where you are sure to find colour and interest in Canberra ‘s winter months, and that is at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
I love this combination of colour and texture. The Golden Everlasting Daisy in the front, the Red Kangaroo Paw at the back, and a pretty grey shrub (no name attached) in the centre.
Kangaroo Paws come in a variety of colours including red, yellow, orange, purple and green. These plants protect themselves during extremely hot summers by letting their strap-like leaves die down, and underground rhizomes wait until autumn to send leaves up again. After a bush fire the growth of foliage on the plant become more prolific.
Golden Everlasting Daisy grow wild in every state of Australia, from the mountains to the sea. They attract many butterflies, and this one is a Painted Lady Butterfly.
This is a cream-coloured winter flowering plant. It has velvety leaves and always has a few bright purple bugle-shaped flowers.
The Sturt Desert Pea is a beautiful South Australian floral emblem, and grows well in various parts of the Botanic gardens here, especially in the desert garden. Aboriginal names for this flower include ”malu” (kangaroo eyes) and ”meekyluka” (flowers of the blood).
The Dwarf Banksia is a lovely soft green bush, with almost luminous yellow flowers….they are like welcoming beacons in the winter.
Banksia flowers attract the nectar loving big birds and the smaller insect eating birds, and are an important source of food for birds in the gardens.
The tiny New Holland Honey Eater is frequently seen at the Botanic Gardens, and is very elusive, but I was lucky enough to get this photo early one morning in the gardens.
The Crimson Rosella is another frequent visitor here, amongst the soft green winter foliage.
The gardens are full of tranquil paths and green spaces, it is hard to believe there is a University and a city just a few streets away.
Of course where there are Eucalyptus trees there are almost always Sulphur Crested Cockatoos as well…and here are a few of the noisiest Cockatoos in the gardens during my visit.
Don’t be fooled by that closed beak, ‘‘butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth’‘ look from this cockatoo. He has just finished screeching to his noisy friend.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today, and I hope, despite the vagaries of the weather, you are able to take some time and enjoy your garden, and your part of the world, as I enjoy writing and photographing mine.
It has been a busy month and I’ve missed writing a post for Mother’s Day.
Looking through my photos, I thought I’d highlight some of the many mothers and parents amongst the wildlife in our garden, and around Canberra.
Of course I have to start with the biggest personalities in Canberra, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos.
Despite their screechy and bossy ways, it was lovely to be able to capture this very patient mother having her yellow crested feathers examined by one of her youngsters….
One morning Paul and I wondered if a world war was breaking out in the garden, only to discover that the baby cockatoo (almost as big as its mother) was having a mighty tantrum about being fed..”I want it right now!”
Kookaburras are not very common in our garden, but Kooka parents will bring a baby to the birdbaths on hot days….while the parent/sibling waits patiently on the garden bench.
and here is an even younger Kookaburra in the photo below. It looks as if it is having a first flight from the nest with the safety of wires to land on, and parent close by…
Even in winter, there are late babies, and the King Parrots like to fly into the garden for a drink….and then feed on the buds of the Japanese Maple…
As I took a photo of them, I noticed their baby waiting patiently in the tree…the first winter, wow it is cold out here!
The photo below shows a young Currawong in our garden…the first, and only time we have seen one so young. ..unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the parent who would undoubtedly be somewhere close by. Currawongs are the bain of our lives, as they chase small birds, and generally frighten everything out of the garden. However, this little guy with his crew cut, is cute!
This is a great photo of an adult pied Currawong, and thanks to Harry Charalambous Birdlife Australia.
A kangaroo has an extra responsibility, she carries her Joey around in her pouch for some time..
She is putting her paws protectively over her Joey, perhaps to warn him that I am nearby with a camera, or that he is about to fall out of the pouch!
Here is a baby Koala, almost too big for a ride with Mum..
This adult Koala carried her baby for a while…
..and then it all got too much and she sat down……haven’t you felt just like that in a supermarket with a toddler?
It was lovely to share these, mostly accidentally photos, I have taken of motherhood and parenthood in full swing with birds and animals.
I was lucky enough to have a mother who believed that the small details of life were important, and that people, nature and animals should be central to a life well lived. She noticed the tiny details; the spider web in the morning light, the lizard in the sun, a new flower blossoming, a bird call…she got great joy from it all.
Autumn in Canberra is all about the changing light, birds flying in and out of the garden, and the pleasant gardening weather.
Easter is a time when all the almonds on our tree have ripened, and the shells have softened after some much needed rain in the last few weeks. This means the almond cafe is open for business.
For those new to my blog, cockatoos love softened almonds, and especially when they fall on the carport roof. This allows them to eat and chat in relative safety. They are very sociable birds, and the young ones in this photo seem to very happy with their almonds.
There were fourteen cockatoos on the carport roof and the almond tree when this photo was taken.
Interestingly, most cockatoos seem to consistently hold food in their left claw…
Our garden has changed over time, and now some of our bigger trees need trimming every year. The apple tree on the right hand side is the only tree in the garden to get special treatment, clipped by a trained arborist.
…thus the lovely shape in summer.
Last autumn Paul cleared a large section of the garden, and we had fun choosing some new plants, something you don’t get a chance to do very often in an established garden.
This year Paul re-did the paths with wood chips and put mulch all around the plants.
It looks like a completely new garden!
We have two rain water tanks. The white tank in the photo below is the smaller one, kept purely for this garden. It is attached to the carport so that rain water can drain from the roof of the carport into the water tank.
It is lovely to see Paul’s hard work paying off this year, the garden is flourishing, especially the two Manchurian Pears, the Snowy River Wattles (Acacia), and a Grevillea called a Bronze Rambler….. and this plant sure does know how to ramble!
And following the path up to the carport (and water tank) are some Camellias, and the first flower has just arrived from the oldest bush.
Our front garden is the most affected by frost and heat. In this tough climate, the Canberra Belle (Correa) is one of the most rewarding plants, they survive all, and give the bees a chance in autumn with these pretty little bell flowers. They are indeed the Belles of Canberra..
Another lovely autumn flowering plant is The Chinese Lantern Plant (Abutilons)
I have previously quoted the poet Dorothea McKellar’s poem Australian Autumn and here are a few lines from the poem again….
”This is the gentlest season of the year.
From mists of pearl and gold
The slow sweet hours unfold….
I hope you are enjoying your season, or changing season, where ever you are in the world. What is your favourite season of the year?
The shadows of the trees are longer in the evening light, the air is cooler, and sweeter..
…autumn is on its way.
The lovely green (watered) lawns of Lennox Gardens are deceiving, after this long hot summer, the landscape of Canberra is looking very dry.
At the end of summer there is a changing of the guard with our local birds.
In autumn the tiny Silver-Eyes venture out to feed from our neighbour’s blackberry bushes. They are a welcome sight.
Perhaps as a result of so little rain this last month, more birds are flying into the garden to use our birdbaths.
This morning while we were having breakfast on the deck, it was fun to see two young Crimson Rosellas, always shy birds, having the big birdbath to themselves.
What a thrill, bathing in the water, and having a shower from the sprinkler.
As these two finished their bath, they flew up to the archway in the garden, their long tails spraying water as they flew…a lovely sight. Unfortunately I was unable to catch it with my camera, but here is a similar one, taken almost exactly a year ago!
Young Crimson Rosellas begin life with green feathers mixed in with red and blue, last year’s Rosella is still very green in colour.
Here is a mature Crimson Rosella in the Australian Botanic Gardens… just look how vivid his colours are, and how long his tail is. What a handsome bird!
In summer we have three Magpies visiting every morning. Every year there is at least one Magpie who loves water just a little bit more than the others. Often the youngest one potters around the garden by himself in autumn, a little bit like the youngest member of the family, we enjoy his company….before he too, leaves to join a new group of Magpies.
Here is a young Magpie watching her mother, who has her head tilted listening for insects and grubs in the grass and in the ground. Another youngster, learning her survival skills.
An unwelcome guest in our neighbourhood in summer is the Eastern Koel. This bird migrates all the way from tropical New Guinea to Australia for the breeding season. In recent years the Koel has progressed further south each year.
The Eastern Koel is a member of the cuckoo family. The female lays an egg in the nest of another bird, (usually a Red Wattlebird) and when the baby Koel hatches it pushes the other eggs out of the nest.
For the past three years a Koel pair have visited a neighbourhood garden, left an egg in the Red Wattle bird’s nest, and moved away.
All through the summer, a pair of Red Wattlebirds are the hosts, and the young Koel cheeps incessantly while the significantly smaller parents desperately search for food for the nagging youngster. During the summer the young Koel grows to twice their size.
According to Birdlife Australia, it is still uncertain as to why the Koel comes so far south to breed, perhaps because the weather is warmer, the berries and fruits are in abundance in Canberra, and also the poor unsuspecting Red Wattle birds have lived in this region for a long time, and have proved to be excellent parents.
Unfortunately the cheeping, beeping young Koel seems to nest near our garden every year, but finally in autumn it disappears, fully grown. (Phew!)
However, one of the most welcome bird calls in autumn is the Eastern Spinebill.
Yesterday this tiny delicate bird arrived on the deck, and with a powerful call, it settled into feeding from the fuchsia. Autumn has truly arrived!
The Eastern Spinebill favours the flowers from the Peppermint Sage, but, this year, either he is early or the flowers are late, so I have used a photo from last year.
Canberra also has its birthday in March, so there are lots of concerts, picnics, hot air balloons, and general outdoor gatherings. It is a wonderful time to catch up with family and friends.
I hope you are enjoying your changing seasons, where ever you are in the world.
The best birthday present for Canberra’s autumn would be good soaking rain for a sustained period of time. Crossing fingers for that.
Every morning in summer we walk down to the shops to buy the paper…and we always stop to admire this view…
This garden is on the verge of the road and the footpath. It has been planted and cared for by a very generous gardener who lives in a house nearby. He and his wife bought and prepared the soil, fertilizer, and plants. They have even installed a watering system, and keep it watered all summer at their own cost.
How is that for a gardener’s generosity of spirit!
These colour co-ordinated Eastern Rosellas are up early and enjoying the morning sun.
Further along the path is a neighbouring garden spilling over with a shrub that seems to be saying…”It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and summer”.
Every morning we pass the cockatoos and galahs enjoying breakfast at this bird feeder …(a mixed blessing)
The galahs seem to understand the pecking order, and wait for their turn. Occasionally they all eat together.
And far off on the lamp post, a female cockatoo is on parenting duty….
Nearby, a young cockatoo is holding on tight to the branch …. perhaps his first flight without his mother..
Oh dear, he had a slip, but luckily his beak is strong enough to steady him.
His tail feathers look like a wedding dress!
As we walk across the playing fields, we often see the male Red Rumped Parrot and the lighter coloured female….these parrots are always feeding in the grass, and are totally unperturbed by sporting events going on around them.
By the time we walk home, it is getting hotter, but the Red Hot Pokers are still a treat to see as we walk…
This summer we have had a heatwave and dust storms ..
This makes for some beautiful sunsets across the Brindabella Mountains
When I look across at this view of the Brindabella Mountains, I think there really is no place like home..
I hope you are keeping warm or cool where ever you are in the world, and enjoying your home as much as I enjoy mine.
The blackbird usually sings in the morning and evening, but today he is singing right through the midday heat….. maybe he knows the summer holidays are on their way.
Another beautiful little bird takes advantage of big bird free days in the garden…the male Fairy Wren.
He and his family fly around the garden, tweeting softly, ducking into their birdbath, and hopping from bush to tree.
I have read that Fairy Wrens never move far from their original home, and our Fairy Wren family have been a welcome sight every year in a leafy part of the back garden.
The striking Crimson Rosellas are part of the Australian parrot families.
They are quite nervous and shy, and fly away easily. However, when they are in the plum tree near our deck they make gentle twittering sounds to each other…and seem very sociable.
I have used this cute baby Magpie photo in one or two of my previous posts, but he deserves his publicity.
He was warbling away oblivious of crowds of tourists and media in one of the courtyards of Parliament House. He may be warbling to try and chase the crowds away, but magpies generally look on people as friends, so he could be warbling out of the sheer joy of living.
Magpies have a very melodious song, and it is perhaps the most well-known Australia bird call, except for the Kookaburra with his more raucous cackle.
Magpies also make a lower warbling sound. This seems to be more like talking.
When I first arrived in Australia, and visited a farm in the Central West of NSW, I remember seeing flocks of Galahs rising slowly from the paddocks and flying across the endless blue skies. A lasting memory of an endearing small parrot. (but, of course, not at all endearing to the farmer watching them eating the crop!)
Galahs, like some of the other parrots in Australia, make tweeting noises to each other, and remain in groups where ever possible.
Crested Pigeons are one of the most common birds in Canberra. I have included them despite their lack of a distinctive song, although they do coo away happily when they are nesting. They live happily in any garden, and have absolutely no common sense, or sense of danger. When they do get scared off, their wings make a kind of whistling sound as they fly away.
I thought of writing this post today, as I walked down our leafy paths to meet some friends for coffee. The wonderful blackbird’s song followed me all the way down to the café.
It was also a reminder that in a city with some big personalities, like the Cockatoos and the Currawongs, it is easy to over look the smaller birds.
I hope you are keeping cool or warm where ever you are in the world, and perhaps enjoying some bird songs too…
Do you have a favourite bird, or bird song?
Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. I’ve enjoyed another year of blogging, and being part of a blogging community. Many thanks to all those who read and comment , and to those who just like to drop in and read occasionally. All welcome and much appreciated.