Thursday, August 30, 2012

Is this a Jacky Winter? - NOW IDENTIFIED

Photo taken on 20 August 2012.
Whilst at my neighbour Carol's place I heard a bird hopping across lower tree branches. I could not actually see the bird itself as it kept moving out of view. But I took this photo believing I did not capture the bird in question. I just aimed roughly where I believed the bird was and took a single photo. After this photo was taken the noise stopped and I didn't hear the bird moving again. Was it gone? More than likely it flew off without me knowing about it.

When viewing the photo on my computer it actually took me a while to see the bird in this photo as I did not know what I was looking at - bird wise. Once I saw this bird in the picture I took on my pc I actually cropped the photo to make the bird more noticable in the image.

This bird was very elusive and shy but made quite a noise jumping from tree branch to tree branch, which was what originally caught my attention.

Doing a bit of Google searching on Jacky Winter images, it appears I may have photographed a Jacky Winter in my neighbour's garden. But I am still not satisfied that it is a Jacky Winter. It may be a juvenile bird or a completely different bird altogether.

This month (August) I have seen and heard some pretty birds that I have yet to identify. I only have one photo of this possible Jacky Winter. I have no idea how large it was, but going by the sounds of it's movements in the tree branches it sounded bigger than a finch, possibly as large as a Magpie Lark or bigger. But that is just assuming. Until I see this bird again I will not know for certain what it is.

FOOTNOTE - 31 OCTOBER 2012: This bird is actually a Grey Shrike-thrush that has not reached full maturity yet. It reached breeding maturity this Spring, so is probably about 2 years of age right now.

Are these Common House Sparrows?

Two days ago, just moments after taking the photo of the Common Starling/Myna? I came across these birds. I believe they may be your normal House Sparrows but I would like to be certain. They were photographed in the driveway of the Bi-Lo's Rouse Street entrance.

There was probably about 12 - 20 of these birds flying about the left tree out the front of Pederby House and then flew into the Bi-Lo Rouse Street driveway entrance trees when startled by me and my brother walking passed them. They look like House Sparrows and are about the same size but the next photo doesn't look like a House Sparrow to me, well not quite anyway. I managed to get a slightly closer up photo of one of the birds in the tree. The sun was behind me and was getting very low in the sky. It was around 5PM when I took these photos.

House Sparrows are supposed to be grey and brown with the male being more colourful with a dark head. Juvenile House Sparrows are duller in colour and are more grey in colour than brown. House Sparrows are fairly common in Tenterfield but their numbers have declined in recent years due to the drought.

A young male House Sparrow?
The second image reveals a bird that may be a young male House Sparrow but going on the angle I was to this bird, and the fact the bird had it's head up and to it's left makes it hard to identify. Without seeing it's back or head properly I can only guess these birds are House Sparrows.

In this second photo I was about 12 - 16 feet away from these birds and almost directly underneath them but on a slight angle.

Common Starling or Myna?

Photo taken 29 August 2012, Rouse Street.
I do know there are Common Starlings in Tenterfield, and have heard that Common Mynas exist in the Tenterfield area as well.

Going on the under side of this bird (in the photo) it is going to be a difficult to identify this bird but not impossible.

This bird was photographed next to the old Pederby House on the footpath on Rouse Street, at the top of the power pole.

Some birds, like this one, just don't allow you to get close up photos of them.

Identifying birds is tricky business but there are not many birds in Tenterfield that look like this nor are about the size of a fat Common Starling as this bird is. Personally I think it is a Common Starling but I could be wrong.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Galah Eolophus roseicapillus

Galahs on my front lawn in 2005.
The Galahs here in Tenterfield are one of the bird species that migrated elsewhere when the drought became a bit severe. They used to live in Tenterfield in large flocks and were sometimes seen flocking with Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.

Ocassionally Galahs are seen in Tenterfield but it is rather infrequent. When they are old enough they form a permanent bond with a bird of the opposite gender which become lifelong mating pairs. Galahs live to be about 80 human years of age.

One of the unusual antics of Galahs in Tenterfield is when it rains they love to hang upside down on the power lines. It is quite funny watching them going around in circles like an acrobat on a wire. This behaviour is not seen in Galahs in Whyalla or Mannum (South Australia) so I'm not sure if this is a normal behaviour for the Galah species or if it is a learned behaviour of the Tenterfield galahs.

I don't know about Galahs elsewhere in Australia but in Tenterfield these birds tend to go beserk and fly about chasing each other at full speed. I have seen them ocassionally dive bombing passing cars for the fun of it and sometimes even chasing other birds. When chasing other Galahs or other birds they do so roughly 20-30 feet off the ground half the time. Other times they chase each other at a higher altitude. Galahs are quite the silly bird, do not fear anything, and always appear to be having fun.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita

An old photo of a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
taken in Tenterfield eating something in the grass.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are large, noisy birds that do everything in large flocks. There used to be large numbers of them in Tenterfield but as the rainfall disappeared so too did these birds. They began to return to Tenterfield just 2-4 years ago on a rather infrequent basis. This year, specifically near the beginning of August, has brought larger numbers of them back to Tenterfield in winter despite the harsh drought conditions.

They are seen from about 4pm onwards flying from stands of trees to other stands of trees, often flying across large open spaces to get to the next lot of trees. They arrive in Tenterfield from an unknown west direction, and head straight for the Jubilee Park area where there are lots of tall trees.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos do not appear to roost in Tenterfield itself anymore but travel through Tenterfield to find food (nuts, seeds, etc) and water. Most nights you can see them flying off in the direction of the Tenterfield Dam which is in a south-east direction of the main CBD.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are always on the move, eating what they can then moving on again.

Crested Pigeon nesting

Crested Pigeon approaching it's nest and keeping an
eye on me. Photo taken 24 August 2012.
The Crested Pigeon is one of my favourite birds because it is so colourful and such an easy going bird. I love the sound it makes but this species is not as common as the Australian King Parrot or even the Australian Wood Duck. Its numbers are very low in Tenterfield. All pigeon species are hunted extensively by birds of prey in Tenterfield, and their numbers have dwindled to almost zero over the years.

Where I live there is just one pair of Crested Pigeons and currently they are nesting. They started nesting about 2 weeks ago. I kept still and the pigeon came down from the roof top and landed in the bushes about 10 feet from where I was standing. I managed to get this photo of the bird before it went to it's nest. Once in it's nest it started cooing like crazy, so I video taped the sound it was making. Even though you cannot see the bird in the video I only really wanted to record the sound it was making and nothing else. I stopped the video recording short as the Crested Pigeon was cooing for about an hour before it flew out of the nest and went elsewhere.

My apologies for the terrible sound quality on this video. The wind was blowing strongly yesterday and I was in the middle of doing something when this video was taken.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Double-barred Finches sitting on branches

Just when I thought my day couldn't get any better I came across these Double-barred Finches sitting on a bush's branches. Filming them is difficult as they are really small birds and I couldn't see them in the digital camera's view screen. I pointed and guessed where the birds were. After this video I took some photos of them which turned out better than expected.

I had to zoom right in to get these photos. I was about 8 feet from the birds. Nine feet seems to be their "comfort zone". As they were fluttering about so much I had to make a guess at how many of these birds there were in the bush's branches - my guess is there were 8-10 of them.

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grey Shrike-thrush: Whit-will bird sounds heard on 23 August 2012

Sometimes I take video recordings from my bedroom window using my mobile phone just of the sounds birds make before they go to bed. This particular day the Red Wattlebird in the area was quite noisy. The birds tends to become very noisy just before they go to bed, here in Tenterfield. It's like they all suddenly try to locate each other.

A lot of different bird sounds happen in the first minute, including a small dog barking around the corner from my place. This video is a compliation of bird calls about 10 minutes before they all began going to bed.

At 2:21 into the video a different bird call is heard. It sounds like "Whit will". However, before this sound is heard a Red Wattlebird is clearly heard, then afterward at 3:43 a Pied Currawong is heard. To complicate matters an Eastern Rosella is also heard singing at various times throughout this video (starting at 0:29) but then goes quiet.

I have been studying this video for some time now and I no longer believe an Eastern (or other) Whipbird is travelling through Tenterfield. I believe this unusual sound is being made by one of the local birds. And I believe it is one of 3 birds: the Pied Currawong; the Red Wattlebird; or the Eastern Rosella. I am suspecting it may have been an Eastern Rosella that made the "Whit-will" calls as I have captured audio evidence of an Eastern Rosella making the sounds of a Bell Miner earlier this year. (Boy was I wrong on that assumption!)

Whatever the bird is it is heard moving away. The Red Wattlebird was in a gum tree across the road and to the far right which is out of the camera's view in the video. The Pied Currawong is a bit further away also to the right. And the Eastern Rosella was about in the same location as the Red Wattlebird.

Footnote: 20 October 2012 This is what happens when one studies bird calls but does not know all of the bird species calls. This "Whit-will" sound is actually the sound of a Grey Shrike-thrush. I've heard this call before this video was taken but never knew what made the sound. Grey Shrike-thrushes are not in Tenterfield all year round. They migrate, I believe, after they have bred. I've heard this same bird call for years so it is a frequent annual visitor to Tenterfield. The day I took this video was the day the bird arrived in Tenterfield for the year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Superb Fairy-Wren Malurus cyaneus

A male photographed on the 20th August 2012
at my neighbour Carol's place.
Currently this little bird, which is a male, is breeding/nesting with it's mate. It is not a good photograph and the photo was taken late in the afternoon. The female is a brown colour. This male bird allowed me to photograph it but I can never get a clear or close shot of it. The male stays still for about 10 seconds, at most, before it takes off again. The female is even more elusive and won't stay still in order to be photographed.

The Superb Fairy-Wren is very fast moving and is often sighted flying about or eating (grass seeds?) on the ground where there is dense cover nearby. It is more commonly sighted in Tenterfield when it is not breeding in small family groups of up to 20 birds, usually only one adult male bird is in the group.

When these birds are out in the open far between dense covering, they fly fast between bushes and/or trees that have dense cover to it. I have seen these birds on my front lawn. As the females/juveniles eat from my front lawn the male is in a nearby tree or bush keeping a look out for predators, whether it be bigger birds, humans or anything else that moves.

Superb Fairy-Wren behaviour is different when it is not breeding. When it is not breeding the male will get about 6-8 feet from you on the ground as long as you keep still. When it is breeding you cannot get any closer than 30 feet from the male, and the female is even more skittish than the male this time of the year.

The Superb Fairy Wrens are breeding in a thick, dense bush which also has thorns on it. Their nesting location I will not identify but I know where it is. The nest is somewhere between 0 and 6 feet off the ground.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes

It was almost sunset and this Crested Pigeon was in the shade at my neighbour Carol's place yesterday.
There are not many Crested pigeons here in Tenterfield's south-west. There may be 4-6 individual birds at most. They do not breed rapidly and in fact I don't know much about these pigeons. I do know they nest in a thick dense bush about 4-10 feet from the ground. I know this because my neighbour Carol told me she found a Crested Pigeon sitting (on eggs) in a nest in her native rose bush/climber. Other years the Crested Pigeons have made a nest higher up in dense cover in Carol's garden.

I was about 6 feet from this pigeon when I took a very quick photo of it as I was walking passed it. I do know this particular bird has a mate but I have only seen a baby Crested Pigeon a few years back. There were probably about 10 Crested Pigeons in the immediate area about 6 years ago but most of them were probably eaten by birds of prey.

Several years back I always had problems with one of these birds flying head first into my front windows and sometimes the front wall. They would get startled, panic, and fly off without looking where they were going. Fortunately none have been knocked unconscious in the process. As a result, and because other birds have done the exact same thing, I stopped regularly cleaning the windows of my Flat. This has actually prevented the birds from flying into the windows.

I'm hoping to get a better picture of the pair of Crested Pigeons soon as they have such pretty coloured feathers.

Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata

Photo taken 20th August 2012
The Australian Wood Ducks in Tenterfield are mostly found along the Tenterfield Creek. They can be found roosting in the Tenterfield Showgrounds area of the creek itself. They are the most common duck in Tenterfield, and the most common large bird flying during the early mornings and late afternoon and just after dark.

During the late afternoon Australian Wood Ducks can be seen sometimes on the edge of the road near the Tenterfield Creek searching for food. They are more commonly spotted in open fields and in the Tenterfield Creek itself.

This particular species is sighted in small groups during the day but roost together in much larger numbers. Their breeding season is much earlier in the year, in Summer I think, and they often have more than 2 chicks per pair of mating ducks.

It is difficult to get physically close to these ducks. The closest I have got to them is about 60 feet before they fly away as they are easily spooked.

Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena

Photo 1
Welcome Swallows are often seen in Tenterfield but usually in smaller numbers. Yesterday when I was taking some photos of the Tenterfield creek I came across these two birds. The two birds look like a breeding pair, and the bird on the right looks pregnant/about to lay eggs soon. The bird on the left kept a look out for danger as the other bird seemed to be collecting mud for the nest. Or is she eating insects in the mud? The photos were taken moments after the video was taken.

Without taking photos of these type of birds it is difficult to tell which species is which, as there are several species of Woodswallows and Swallows/Swifts in Tenterfield. They all move quickly and are usually flying about chasing insects. I believe the Swallows I have seen flying over my backyard in Summer may be this same pair. If this is indeed the case then it is probable that these particular Wood Swallows breed twice a year, in Summer and Winter.

Photo 2
Photo 3

The video I took which was taken first.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus

I don't know the gender of this bird. It is on my
front lawn.
This Satin Bowerbird has been a frequent visitor to my front garden, and my neighbour Carol's garden for the passed two months. In the last few days it has disappeared and has not been sighted since.

Satin Bowerbirds arrive in Tenterfield around the 16th of June each year and by the end of July they are gone. However this one stayed longer than normal.

More commonly sighted are the female and juvenile Satin Bowerbirds but only one adult black male seems to visit the south-west area of Tenterfield. Many like the one in the photo arrive as well but over the years the numbers that arrive in Tenterfield has been declining.

In July you can hear the adult male calling but it is elusive and next to impossible to take a photo of. It hides itself in thick bushes or high in the tree tops behind a branch so you cannot see it. The adult male knows you are there but never allows you to see it, or momentarily lapses on it's sense of judgement and you see a flash of black fly passed overhead.

When the adult male is here it eats berries from this bush below, which is in my neighbour, Carol's garden.

The bush is much bigger in real life.

The berries are finished and are now going to seed.
No Satin Bowerbirds breed in Tenterfield as I have never seen them in Summer which is when their breeding season is. One thing I do know about Satin Bowerbirds is they love apples and will gobble up apple pieces quickly before any other bird eats them.

Because this particular Satin Bowerbird (see photo at top) hung around for a while, it treated most of the local birds with respect. However, it recently encountered a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets which it took a great disliking to, and attacked both Lorikeets every moment it got when they were eating the seed in Carol's bird feeder. I have never seen the Satin Bowerbird actually eat seed from the bird feeder so I cannot explain why it would attack just two birds in the bird feeder and not any other birds like the Australian King Parrots or Eastern Rosellas that were also present in the tree at the time.

The following 4 photos was taken from one of the Rainbow Lorikeet videos taken on 14 August 2012. It shows the Satin Bowerbird deliberately attacking the Rainbow Lorikeet, jumping onto the tree branches in the middle of the tree then turning around and having a second attack at the bird. It also attacked the other Lorikeet higher up in the tree branches. It obviously did not like the Rainbow Lorikeets being there.

Shot 1

Shot 2

Shot 3

Shot 4

I guess I'll have to wait until next year before I can add something else about Satin Bowerbirds in Tenterfield. I doubt this one bird will be returning in a hurry.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

An unidentified grey coloured bird NOW IDENTIFIED

Yesterday when I was at my neighbour Carol's place, just after video taping the Red-browed Finches, this little bird hopped across the front lawn. At first it looked like a big fat House Sparrow but House Sparrows don't grow as big as this bird. It was an unusual sighting because I did not see any other birds like it around before or after this video was taken. Whatever this bird is, it may be a juvenile or a young female. I did see flashes of brown on the bird, mostly on it's back but apart from that it looked mostly several tones of grey coloured.

This bird seemed to be about 1/2 to 2 times as large as a House Sparrow. I never saw it fly nor did I hear it make a sound. It hopped slowly, pausing to check the ground for insects. I only saw it on the ground until it disappeared into the large bush at the end of the video below. As you can see in the video the bird spent most of it's time in the shadowy area on the lawn, making it next to impossible to identify it. I could not get a photo of this bird, as by the time I finished video recording it the bird was not spotted again and was well hidden in a bush's undergrowth.

Footnote - 31 OCTOBER 2012: Having thought about this bird, and birds in general for some time now, I believe this particular bird is a juvenile Grey Shrike-thrush. Juvenile birds that leave home do not usually hang around the same area as where their parents are. This explains why I only ever saw one of this species initially. This also explains another sighting of a bird which I thought might have been a Jacky Winter. Grey Shrike-thrush juveniles start out being two toned grey in colour and then develop the brown colourations as they begin to mature. Being a juvenile would actually explain this bird's size and behaviour. MYSTERY SOLVED!

Double-barred Finch Taeniopygia bichenovii

At first I thought the bird in the center was a female Red-browed Finch as it was in the same flock as the Red-browed Finches I took photos and videos of yesterday, but enlarging the picture above reveals a completely different bird. It has a distinctive dark bar under it's throat. Red-browed Finches don't have that feature at all. I've also read that male and female Red-browed Finches look similiar to each other. So what are these other birds in the photo?

I have finally identified the bird in the center (to the best of my ability and I'm almost 100% certain of it) as being a Double-barred Finch, along with the bird at the very back to be a juvenile Double-barred Finch. The juvenile is hard to see in the photo as it just looks like a bluish olive coloured smudge of colour. The rest of the birds in this photo are definitely Red-browed Finches.

Going on the colour formation of the closest Double-barred Finch to the camera lense, I am guessing it is a young bird, perhaps almost an adult but older than a juvenile. It is not fully grown and may not be breeding yet. Either way it is a wonderful discovery!

I have to confess that I have seen these Double-barred Finches before but I don't know where. Their appearance is distinctively eerie, especially when they lift their heads up and look straight at you. It's like looking at a tiny blue-faced owl - even though no such creature exists.

Why Double-barred Finches would flock with Red-browed Finches is a mystery. Perhaps there is safety in numbers? I have no idea exactly how many Double-barred Finches I saw yesterday but going on the fact there was about 30-50 Finches in the entire flock, it is possible there could have been either one quarter to one third of them being Double-barred Finches.

Hopefully I can get better photos and/or close up videos of these birds before they disappear. The flock in which I have seen them in have been visiting my neighbour, Carol's garden for some time now - perhaps a month or two. I do not know how long they have been in Tenterfield, as the flock of Finches are not easy to photograph or video tape, as they are constantly moving. Sometimes you can hear the flock but cannot see them. Other times you can hear them and momentarily see them before they all fly away. The flock rarely keeps still - as a whole. Unfortunately I do not have a big enough zoom on my digital camera to get a close up photo of the birds.

For more info on this species click here.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis

In this picture there are 6 Red-browed Finches. The very top one looks like a juvenile; 3 of them look like males; one I can't identify as it is in the shade; and one (center - the left bird in the row of 3 birds) looks like it could be a female.

I went to visit my neighbour, Carol, today to help her with some gardening. It was sunny but there was an icy cold wind blowing. To my surprise there were about 30 - 50 tiny little birds on her front verandah steps as I turned the corner into her front yard. The little birds flew into the trees. I started video recording them when they flew back to the ground but Carol's dog barked until he realised it was me and scared them back to the trees. I was too far away from the little birds to get a good video of them. I needed to get closer to them but couldn't right that moment. So I went inside following Carol's dog instead.

Anyway, after a while I went back outside and tried taking some photos of the little birds. I zoomed into the max but I still couldn't make out what bird species they were, until I got home after dark and uploaded the pics to my pc.

These little birds are called Red-browed Finches. In close proximity to these birds they are about the same size as a Weebill, which is pretty small. As these birds were so small it was very hard to identify them. They moved very quickly, hopping here and there and kept flying into the bare trees. It was challenging to get a decent video or photo of them to say the least.

Below are the two videos I recorded of these birds before they eventually got chased away by the Willy Wagtail (see 2nd video).

Magpie Lark Grallina cyanoleuca

Magpie Larks are reasonably common in Tenterfield, often sighted in pairs or by themselves. The most commonly sighted gender is the male although females will be seen during breeding season.

Whilst down by the Tenterfield Creek recently I spotted this Magpie Lark (see video below) doing doughnuts in the water. I laughed. I had to view the video recording to see what it actually was doing, which was stirring up the water's bottom for insects.

A more recent video of a pair of Magpie Larks eating on the move on my front lawn.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus

All of the Rainbow Lorikeets moved out of Tenterfield about 6 years ago due to the drought worsening. These birds are a very aggressive species and do not share food with any other bird species. They will chase away any bird that wants the same food as it is eating.

Whilst at my neighbour Carol's place two Rainbow Lorikeets showed up and aggressively took over the bird feeder. In Video 2, the local Satin Bowerbird took an aggressive disliking to them and tried unsuccessfully to chase them away. Video 1 and 2 were taken about 3/4 an hour apart on the 14th August 2012, around 5pm. These videos may be the only recent video recordings of the now non-existent Rainbow Lorikeets of Tenterfield.

Video 2

Video 1

Footnote: 20 August 2012 - This pair of Rainbow Lorikeets have only been sighted once since these videos were taken. They have not returned since. I am guessing they were just passing through and were having a rest for a few days before they moved on again.

UPDATE: 2 OCTOBER 2012 - This pair of Rainbow Lorikeets tend to disappear for about 3-4 days then come back again. These two individual birds are the only Rainbow Lorikeets I have thus far seen in Tenterfield. Both appear to be adult birds and possibly a breeding pair.

Torresian Crow Corvus orru

A Torresian Crow on my front lawn.
In Tenterfield there appears to be only one family of Torresian Crows numbering about 15 individuals in total as of December 2011 to February 2012. These birds do not breed in large numbers, and only appear to have one hatchling every few years.

Some of their offspring have been deformed but that is possibly due to interbreeding. One of the local Torresian Crows has developed a human like cough but apart from that appears to be healthy.

The local Torresian Crows are mostly carnivors but will eat fruit, nuts and any human food left out. They are spotted frequently raiding rubbish bins for food, if the rubbish bins are not sealed properly on a Tuesday and Thursday morning. They also seem to enjoy playing and/or ripping up junk mail and newspapers that are delivered here in town.

The Torresian Crows of Tenterfield can be spotted just about everywhere in Tenterfield, including Rouse Street. They have been spotted sitting on the actual street light posts at the intersection of Manners and Rouse Streets, amongst other areas in town. They are also known to follow certain humans into town and back again, if that human walks into town from their home to do grocery shopping. That has happened to me more than once.

These birds are ruthless at getting food, especially human food. They are not well liked in Tenterfield by humans and are considered to be a nuisance. If any humans feed the bird life in Tenterfield, the Torresian Crows will always show up hoping to snatch food from the other birds. There is very little that these crows don't eat. If there is an excess of human food available, especially in Summer, Torresian Crows in Tenterfield have the habit of burying food nearby. This behaviour has been observed on many ocassions several years ago. However, the Torresian Crows seem to forget where they buried their food.

The local birds are intelligent but very slow learners. They respond to humans pointing at food - this I believe is a learned behaviour - and their reactions are quick and precise.

However, one behaviour of the Torresian Crows I have noticed over the years is if human food is available, and there are Australian Magpies also at the scene, the Torresian Crows will attack the Australian Magpies by pecking at their backs to scare them away from the food.

Australian King Parrot Alisterus scapularis

A local solitary male Australian King Parrot.
© Photo taken by Daniel C. Hardy
about 2008 - 2010.
There are a small flock of Australian King Parrots that I believe live in Tenterfield. They are sighted daily feeding in my neighbour Carol's garden at the bird feeder. I am not sure if any of the birds in the video below are breeding pairs.

There used to be large numbers of King Parrots in Tenterfield some 8 years ago but then the rain stopped falling and the environment began to dry out and most of them left. A few years ago some of the King Parrots returned despite the ongoing drought and have since stayed in Tenterfield.

The males are predominantly red and green with a red head whereas the females are green and red. The females are slightly smaller than the males and are more shy and more easily scared off if approached by a human. Australian King Parrots are about 41 - 43cms in length and are one of the bird species consistently spotted in Tenterfield, especially seen in the late afternoon prior to roosting in tall trees.

The Rotunda at Jubilee Park
You often see these birds at Jubilee Park feeding on tree seeds that have fallen to the ground in Summer. You can safely get 12 feet from the male Australian King Parrots without them flying off at Jubilee Park. If these birds are spotted at bird feeders, you can safely get 6 feet from these birds, only if you walk slowly toward them. Some of the local male King Parrots do not seem to mind humans taking photos of them, and seem to pose for the camera. King Parrots seem to enjoy the company of humans, especially solitary ones who don't have a mate yet. Males of this species are more commonly sighted than females due to a lack of large numbers of breeding pairs in the area.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pied Currawong Strepera graculina

Pied Currawong from the video below.
Pied Currawongs used to live in Tenterfield in large numbers until the drought came. Now only a small handful of them live here. At first, all Pied Currawongs disappeared from the South-west area of Tenterfield and the township as a whole but a small family group returned and appears to have stayed in the south-west corner of town. This individual (see photo) is one of those birds that has stayed.

I really don't know all that much about Pied Currawongs except that they eat meat and seem to love eating nuts but they don't like apples. Often they will swallow food whole but have been observed breaking food up into smaller pieces like the Australian Magpies do.

Pied Currawongs are the type of birds that will follow other birds around, especially Australian Magpies, if they know these other birds will be fed by humans. Pied Currawongs appear to always be hungry.

Pied Currawongs live in small to large family groups and are always seen together or in smaller family groups. This Pied Currawong seems to be a lone member, perhaps a young single male, of the bigger family group here in Tenterfield.

The Pied Currawong is the very first bird you see in this video. I was mostly focusing on the Satin Bowerbird as it is rare to get videos of them here in Tenterfield for such a long period of time. I was blessed with recording the Pied Currawong's call at the same time as recording the Satin Bowerbird. The Satin Bowerbird in this video may possibly be a juvenile male as when I took photos of the bird it's eye colouring was blue in several shots. Other birds in this video are adult and juvenile Australian Magpies and you hear a Torresian Crow calling right at the very end of this video.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A female Red Wattlebird?

This bird was spotted in my neighbour's backyard within minutes of spotting the first Red Wattlebird a few days ago. However, this bird is slightly longer than the bird I have identified as a Red Wattlebird. The grey coloured Wattlebird made no sounds during my sighting of it and I've only ever seen one of this bird at any given sighting.

Whilst doing an Google image search for Red Wattlebirds, there are plain looking grey coloured Red Wattlebirds that do not appear to have a noticable yellow belly. However, I need to get a better closeup of this particular bird so I can identify it more accurately.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata

Red Wattlebird call

Yesterday I was surprised to see this bird again. It took me a while to identify the bird but in the videos I have of this bird I believe it to be a Red Wattlebird.

The video below was taken around 4:45pm close to sunset. There were many birds in my neighbour's back yard, this bird being one of them. To identify the Red Wattlebird's call from all the other bird calls in this video, listen for the loudest yet shortest calls. The bird spends most of its time preening itself in the video then getting annoyed, perhaps, by the Eastern Rosellas.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Restless Flycatcher Myiagra inquieta

Restless Flycatcher - I did not take this photo.
Whilst visiting a neighbour one day last month, my daughter, my neighbour and I were standing near a tree. There were a few birds in the bushes by the Tenterfield creek but not in our immediate area. Then suddenly this bird flew into the tree and started singing and then flittering around whilst catching insects from the ground.

At first I thought this bird was a Willy Wagtail but looking closer at it, the bird was slightly bigger, longer, wider and slightly fatter than a Willy Wagtail. It actually looks like a Willy Wagtail on growth steroids at first glance.

I've actually been confused about this bird, as I have heard it's call before but had never seen it up close. I have a few videos of it's calls near my place but the audio is a bit disappointing. When it really starts singing it sounds like a Whipper Snipper machine.

When this video was taken I saw a second Restless Flycatcher, which was identical looking to this bird just smaller in size and was not getting as close to us humans as this bird did in the video.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Unidentified bird call recorded on 3 August 2012

The bird in question in this video is probably of a local bird whose song I am not familiar with just yet. This call sounds like the call of a Superb Fairy Wren or of the Willy Wagtail. Unfortunately, I recorded this audio using my mobile phone - meaning the sound is not a true representation of what the bird's call is like in real life.

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