Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Scary Halloween

Whatever tricks get played on you, remember,
it could be a whole lot worse.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Jerusalem Sage" Phlomis (unknown)

I do not know what variety of Phlomis this particular plant is. Id been searching for Phlomis Russeliana, perhaps we dont have that one in Australia. P. Russeliana is greener with a more upright growth habit than this specimen, but I still adore its flowers.

Perriennial even here in Sydney, I simply cut it back if it gets too leggy. Tough drought tolerant plant with plenty of interest.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Meanwhile, out in the Garden

While we watched the Little Wattle Bird chicks, life went on as usual in the spring garden. Have a glorious day!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

14 days old, Little Wattle Bird chicks

As I thought, there was one in the Macadamia tree, just a few metres from the Banskia that held the nest. Mummy & Daddy were calling from another tree encouraging the chick to have another go at flying, so I reluctantly retreated.

A short time later I was out again, and noted Mummy in the Banksia, making an odd call. I noticed then, a chick on the ground beneath her. Clearly Mummy was calling the chick up off the ground.

Suddenly a Currawong* flew into view and on toward the chick on the ground! I raced toward the endangered chick along with Mommy & Daddy, forming a three point attack. The parents were making thier clacking-bark war cry, while I shouted "No you dont!".

Just as the Currawong was within a foot of the chick, we three defenders were within a metre of our enemy. Discovering himself surrounded, he sharply adjusted his course upward, landing on a railing about four meters over our heads. Clearly he was prepared to wait. So we launched our attack afresh. The parents by air, and I by throwing socks from my laundry basket, till he flew off again. Daddy Wattle Bird chasing him further off than Mummy and I did.

I settled in the shade some metres from the banksia, where Mummy had resumed trying to call the chick up off the ground. Many minutes went by, I assumed the chick was either very tired or just plain scared. So I broke down, I couldnt help myself! I went right up to the chick, its eyes were closed...the poor dear really was just exhausted from the days drama.

So I picked him up, and tried to put him on a branch of the banksia, explaining to him, "You cant just sit there and wait to be eaten, Im not going to hurt you, I want you to hide in the tree with your Mum." Nup, not interested. The chick put out the alarm call and struggled in my hand. Both parents swooped in on me, they didnt peck me, but I could feel the wind from thier wings as they dived at me over and over, giving thier war cry and probably stern criticism for my interference.

Finally the chicks feet took the perch, and I retreated to the shade again. I knew the parents would want thier chick out of that tree, NOW! Sure enough, a few minutes later, chick followed Mummy across the lawn to the gum tree. I sighed with relief - theres a ton of cover on that side of the garden. Chick should be fine there.

Currawongs will take chicks for a snack! See a Currwong over at Bird Anonymous

Budgie Sunday - Size Matters, Not!

Two chaps shooting the breeze...Magellan and Goliath.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

13 days old, Part 2

At 1pm I checked the nest again, the first chick had fledged.
At 5pm, I found Im now an 'empty nester'.

Good luck little Wattle Bird friends!

13 days old, Part 1

One chick has a look over the edge, and decides to have a think about it first.

Friday, October 26, 2007

12 days old, Little Wattle Bird chicks

I shot from further out for these, and as they didnt flinch I think I avoided making them overly nervous.

But just before I sat down to write this, I observed Mommy & Daddy Wattle Bird above the nest making loud calls. The volume is significant, as up to this point they have always 'spoken' softly to the chicks. I think they are encouraging the chicks to exercise those tender wings, if not outright leave the nest.

So prepare yourselves folks, our little Little Wattle Birds will be leaving the nest soon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

11 days old, Little Wattle Birds

Cramped but cozy. They have reached what I call 'awareness' now. Ive seen this with budgie and finch chicks too, it goes like this: thier eyes open and they are curious about who I am/what Im doing. They almost seem glad to see me - probally because there is little else to do. But one day, you visit and they appear afraid. Suddenly they are 'aware' that youre not a bird and therefore possibly a threat. Either that or Mum or Dad has had a talk with them, LOL!

I will try to shoot from further out from here so I dont stress them. Looking at those beautiful new glossy feathers, it wont be long before they are exercising thier wings!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

10 days old, Little Wattle Birds

The last two mornings I observed both chicks preening thier new feathers. Mum Little Wattle Bird returned while I was shooting this pic. She shouted at me from the top of the tree, then when I looked up at her, she flew off and landed on the ground a few metres away. She then hopped around with one wing outstretched and her tail spread, making small sounds. I believe she was pretending to be injured in order to draw me away from the nest, and the small sounds she made were her saying "Oh dear, Im a juicy little wounded bird who cant fly away. Oh dear, that big predator is going to eat me!" As I raised the camera to get a shot this behaviour, she took off like a shot to another tree. What a Momma!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

9 days old, Little Wattle Birds

Getting a little crowded in the nest now. I managed to get this shot without running into Angry Dad, lucky me! :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

8 days old, Little Wattle Bird Chicks

Dad Little Wattle Bird came back from foraging while I was shooting the chicks yesterday. I took his pic as I slowly backed away. Its pretty clear he wasnt impressed with me!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

7 days old - Little Wattle Bird Chicks

Budgie Sunday - Sharing

Aviary 'Power Couple' Goliath and Uno share a tender moment. Here he is presenting her with a plump green seed he selected especially for her.

Friday, October 19, 2007

5 days old, Little Wattle Bird Chicks

We lose alot of details in the pics when making them small enough to load on your screen in a resonable time. So to help you see more detail, the second pic is a larger view of the first. (If you want it bigger, just say the word!)

In the first shot you can see how they are beginning to nicely fill the nest, and that more feathers are poking thru, mostly on the wings so far.

But in the second shot, you can see that feathers are beginning to emerge around the beak of one chick. This same chick appears to also have a bit more beak growth as well. Thier eyes are still closed.

In the third shot is our stalwart Mum, totally non-plussed at my getting this close. And to think just a few months ago, I despaired of ever getting a good shot of her - and now I have a truckload.

Never give up Foks!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

3 days old

Today we have feathers beginning to emerge on thier tiny wings. The beaks must have had the day off after the amazing growth spurt we saw yesterday. Im looking forward to seeing what these Little Wattle Bird chicks look like today. Mum is stuck to the nest this morning as a cold front has come thru, (after we were all baked alive yesterday), but at some point I will get a look in with the camera for your report tommorrow. See you then!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

2 days old

Look at that beak! Im not tricking you here, yesterdays shot is one day old and todays shot is two days old - amazing growth in 24 hours. They wont be in the nest for very long.

It was HOT yesterday, the chicks were panting to cool themselves. Mum and Dad are bringing food in relays, and in between deliveries the chicks sleep. Sleeping conserves thier energy so they can grow faster. A system that obviously works very well!

Monday, October 15, 2007

1 day old Little Wattle Bird chicks

Now officially one day old, they seem to be going strong. It was very hot for a spring day yesterday, and so the parents did not have to sit on the chicks to keep them warm. Here Dad sits just near the nest having a break while Mum had a quick trip to the bird bath.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Just Hatched!! Little Wattle Bird chicks

They hatched sometime yesterday morning, and these shots were taken just before sundown. Both hatched and from what I can see of them, they look great. So this is them at 0 days old. Will keep you posted!!

Budgie Sunday - Arguments

Ive observed that my budgies (parakeets) settle arguments by making themselves taller than thier opponent. Here's an example with Secondo & Goliath:

Secondo: "Yum Yum, lovely cool fresh celery leaves, life is good!"
Goliath: "Hey Mate, scoot over a bit so I can get some too."

Secondo: "No! Go get yerself stuffed elsewhere...Mate."
Goliath: "Oh, pull yer head in, theres plenty of room on this perch for...."

Secondo: "No, means No! So p*ss orf, pigeon! See, Im bigger than you are and Im gonna kick your tail now!"
Goliath: "Bring it on!"

Secondo then got even higher up on his toes, and then, much to his chagrin...

...he fell off the perch.

Goliath: "You 'right, Mate?"

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Take time to lick the roses!

Momma Little Wattle Bird let me get this photo of her licking aphids from the rosebuds! A sweet treat for her, and elegantly served, dont you think?

Her eggs are due to hatch any minute. Tommorrow we will have Budgie Sunday as usual while I continue to stalk the nest.

Friday, October 12, 2007

"I want my jar of dirt."

A text message from the tax office...Im sure they mean it to be a service, but it gives me the willies! Alright, I guess its time to go head down, bum up - and get it done....grumble.....

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Parasitic plant, Which Mistletoe?

A neighbors bottlebrush tree has been harbouring this odd parasitic plant. Recent wild winds broke off several branches of the tree, revealing this curious lodger within.

Woody stems, fleshy leaves and these odd flowers, all relying on the bottlebrush to keep it alive. I suppose it could be a Mistletoe, but just guessing there. Most curious.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lorikeets are back

The Rainbow Lorikeets went missing while the bee swarm was in residence. Its good to have them back and feeding on the nectar of the bottlebrush trees.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Nest Watch, sitting day 10

Shes been steadfast for ten days now, only six more till hatching can begin. No luck so far with my attempts to get shots of Mr feeding Mrs, but will try again.

Mrs went out yesterday and visited the bird bath to bathe and stretch, so I had a chance to see the eggs - all appears well there. Will keep you posted!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sunday Budgie: Flashing eyes

When a budgie (parakeet) is really excited about something, thier eyes 'flash'. By that I mean, the pupils of thier eyes go from fully open to dialated and back again rapidly. While it is much more dramatic in real time, these pics should give you an idea of what it looks like.

Wheat sprouts get New Friend excited.