Crimson rosellas, peppermint sage, and a guilty magpie

In our Canberra garden this beautiful Crimson Rosella is feeding on the nectar of the pretty Salvia elegans, or Pineapple Sage….the flower and the parrot are almost matching in colour.

The sweet pineapple-smelling leaves and bright red tubular flowers of this plant can be used for cooking and medicinal purposes. However, for us, the joy of having this plant in our garden is to see the birds feeding on it in autumn.

A few years ago I planted a little stick of Peppermint sage near the kitchen window, to protect it from severe frosts. I was surprised to see it survive the winter, and then to see it flowering so beautifully in late summer and all through the autumn.

This dainty honey eater is called an Eastern Spinebill, and with its long curved beak it feeds on tubular flowers such as correas and grevilleas as well as the peppermint sage.I wish we could measure the energy this little bird uses as it eats and keeps its wings in motion at the same time…no wonder it is often mistaken for a hummingbird.

(If you look carefully at the new five dollar note, you can see the head and beak of the Eastern Spinebill featured)

I have read that Pineapple Sage is irresistible to nectar feeding birds and butterflies including hummingbirds in New Mexico where this plant naturally occurs.

Sometimes the Crimson Rosella shares feeding time with the Eastern Spinebill,  and they both tolerate this pesky photographer hanging around but,…. if looks could kill…….

This is the Red Wattle bird, has arrived to share in the Peppermint Sage bounty…

The Fuchsia is also flowering long after its usual time….and the Red Wattle is stocking up on nectar all round..

This shy looking young King Parrot is not a regular visitor to the garden, and probably hasn’t got the memo yet that this Almond tree is primarily a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo restaurant.


The colourful Eastern Rosellas are very cautious, the closest I have ever seen one in the garden is on our Japanese Maple, about half way down the garden path..

…the birdbath by the back fence is another safe spot.

and here is the Magpie who potters around in my neighbour’s garden most days……

Today he has ventured into our front garden and is about to start digging around in our small bit of lawn for grubs….

…. well may he hang down his head..

”Oh no! I’ve been sprung!….and she’s got that camera again!”

I love the way young Magpies put their wings out and run away from trouble, why not fly??

Quick!…. back home to my garden…
I just have a feeling there are things going on in this garden that I don’t know about,,,

On this glorious autumn day there are still some almonds to eat…so all is well in this garden….

Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.






21 Replies to “Crimson rosellas, peppermint sage, and a guilty magpie”

  1. One could be forgiven for thinking that you live in the tropics with all those colourful birds.

  2. What a wonderful garden you have made, so full of colour. No wonder all those birds come to feed in it. Thank you for sharing such beauty.

    1. Canberra has a lot of bush between each suburb, and that helps bring the birds, which is lovely for us.

  3. I get excited when I see a Cardinal so I’d probably have an anxiety attack if I saw these gorgeous birds. I cannot even imagine looking up and seeing those beauties right there up close and personal. 🙂 I wasn’t familiar with that beautiful peppermint sage so checked it out. I thought if I can’t have the birds maybe I can have the plant. I can’t even do that because my gardening zone is not compatible with it. Bummer. So, thanks for sharing so I can admire your gorgeous gardens and gorgeous feathered visitors. 🙂

  4. Such a treat visiting here, as usual. I certainly got a wildlife fix….oh your birds take my breath away! Loved them all, your rosella is just stunning, ours is getting green feathers through now. Poor thing, wish I could post it to you! You magpie pic had me laughing out loud, brilliant! Looks like a juvenile,

    1. Thanks Dina, that magpie (although wild) is known as Baby Mags and he comes down from the gum trees for a shower when my neighbour is filling her birdbaths. I must try and get a photos of him, he loves the water. You are doing a good job helping the rescued rosella, I guess they feel okay as long as they are cared for.

  5. It is always wonderful to see the different wildlife that you have visiting, so different to here. The pineapple sage plant looks stunning. Sarah x

    1. The pineapple sage is a lovely plant to have in the garden & I found it quite by accident .. Lucky for the bird life!

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