Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grey Shrike Thrush fledgling leaves the nest

This is the last of three young from the first batch that our resident Grey Shrike Thrush couple raised. The first two of the brood were up and gone before I had time to photograph them. This one needed more time. The adults are now on the nest with w new batch.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Visiting White-Faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae)

Every day a heron drops by to see if there are any tadpoles in the ponds to eat. They're very difficult to photograph because they're so cautious and will fly away at the drop of a hat. In The Wind in the Willows Rat tells Mole how particular herons are about who they'll talk to, so I guess herons in the northern hemisphere are probably as cautious as those native to Australia. The White-Faced heron is found all over Australia, except in the middle of the western desert, as well as in the islands to the north and the sub-Antarctic islands to the south. They are not uncommon, tend to be solitary, and when we have had two show up at the same time, the second arrival disturbed the first and they both flew off before I could get the camera ready.

Irises in bloom

The recent hot weather has brought our irises into bloom ... Unfortunately, it got so hot they didn't last more than a week, but some haven't grown buds yet, so hopefully we'll have more later in the year, including the white-and-purple ones.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) roosting in the shed

A pair of swallows have been roosting in our shed for years. They now have a small nest on the highest rafter, but I haven't seen any young swallows yet.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Waratahs in bloom

Having been slightly frazzled by the heat last summer, the red Waratahs have made a come back with the help of all the rain in September and October.

Another Echidna

This one showed up during the humid afternoon last Saturday. They obviously don't mind the heat.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grey Shrike-Thrushes (Colluricincla harmonica) nesting

Each year a pair of Grey Shrike Thrushes nest in the back of our shed and raise 2-3 young birds. The male and female share the task of caring for their brood. We never destroy the nest after they're done so they don't have to rebuild it each year. Last year they used it twice, the first time in September, raising two fledglings, and again in November. Unfortunately the pics are not very good.

Azaleas and impatiens

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Walking through the local bush a few days ago I heard scrabbling around a large tree and discovered a goanna over a metre long climbing up the burnt trunk. The photos make it look lighter than it was - both tree-trunk and lizard were black. Given its dark colour, it's well-adapted to hide itself in burnt-out forests and thereby avoid predatory birds like kookaburras when young - although even an eagle probably couldn't tackle one as big as this.

The garden in flower.

There's always something in flower in our garden because of the diversity of native plants and selected exotics. But between August and January the riot of colour is exceptionally good.

Global extinction crisis continues

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's latest 'Red List of Threatened Species', "17,291 species out of the 47,677 assessed species are threatened with extinction", including "21 percent of all known mammals, 30 percent of all known amphibians, 12 percent of all known birds, and 28 percent of reptiles, 37 percent of freshwater fishes, 70 percent of plants, 35 percent of invertebrates assessed so far".
Meanwhile, in our garden in Gippsland we've recently added more rocks and installed 6 nesting-boxes, two for King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas, one for Tree-creepers, one for Grey Shrike-Thrushes and two for bats. Pictures coming soon, but it will take some time before the birds become interested in them, so they might not get used until next season, unfortunately. However, most native birds breed from about September to late summer, so there is time yet. The bat nesting-boxes are for sleeping in during the day as well as breeding, so hopefully they will be used before too long. Fortunately none of these species are rare, but they need hollows in trees to nest in, so the bushfires of last summer have probably put them at a disadvantage. However, one rare and endangered Victorian bird is the Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua), which are threatened because they have trouble finding hollows large enough to breed in now that many large old trees are logged or destroyed in fires, so I'll be making a large nesting-box for these birds soon.