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.
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.
Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved