Saturday 31 January 2009


New Holland Honeyeater  Phylidonyrus novaehollandiae

Red-whiskered Bulbul  Pycnonotus jocosus

We've had 18 species in and around the backyard this morning including two new ones for the Garden list: Little Corella (32 up the harbour) and White Ibis (12 over).

Friday 30 January 2009

The Frogmouths of Eltham

I'm not in Eltham but, Tash, my sister-in-law is. She sent me these cracking shots of her local Tawny Frogmouths. Eltham does seem to be crawling with them. Last time we were visiting there were three on Tash's court alone.

Monday 26 January 2009


Friday 23 January 2009

Willy Wagtail, Vaucluse

Juvenile Willy Wagtail
Juvenile Willy Wagtail
Juvenile Willy Wagtail  Rhipidura leucophrys

I've been feeding the local birds in readiness for Birdcam Australia (If my kit ever gets through customs!). The pioneering House Sparrows, my personal favourites, found the bounty first and have been attracting numerous species ever since. This insectivorous Willy Wagtail was confused by the prospect of eating seed and, after attacking a few of the sparrows, took off.

Other feeders so far have included Spotted Turtle Doves, Australian Magpies, a Magpie Lark, a Pied Currawong and a feral pigeon.

Spotted Turtle Dove  Streptopelia chinensis

House Sparrow  Passer domesticus

My Garden list (birds viewed from, in and over) currently stands at twenty five: Short-tailed Shearwater, Pacific Black Duck, Silver Gull, Spotted Turtle Dove, Feral Pigeon, Sulpher-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Needletail, Fork-tailed Swift, Welcome Swallow, Willy Wagtail, Superb Blue Wren, Red Wattlebird, Noisy Minor, New Holland Honeyeater, Silvereye, House Sparrow, Starling, Common Myna, Magpie Lark, Pied Currawong, Australian Magpie, Australian Raven.

Monday 19 January 2009

Little Penguin, Watson's Bay

I was fishing, here, off Watson's Bay rocks this afternoon when a flipping penguin popped up to say hello! After a quick tug on my bait it sped off up the coast. I was pretty relieved to have a hooked penguin off my conscience but can't help wondering how it would have tasted.

But seriously, there is a small, endangered population of these lovely birds just around the North Head at Manly: the only mainland group in New South Wales. They are thought to number only sixty pairs.

Monday 12 January 2009

Skink sp., Vaucluse, Sydney

This tiny skink was scuttling about our garage floor this morning. It was about 3-4cm long. Despite studying A Comlete Guide to Reptiles of Australia (by Steve Wilson and Gerry Swan) back to back I haven't managed to make a positive ID yet. I'm off to the reptile forums so, for heaven's sake, stay tuned.

UPDATE: My new buddies at say it's a young Lampropholis delicata. That's a Garden Skink to you and me.

Saturday 10 January 2009

Take the Sausage Warren

Warren has been watching the sausage for a couple of hours.

Friday 9 January 2009

Masked Lapwing, Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens

Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles

Thursday 8 January 2009

South Head, Sydney

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Coracina novaehollandiae

Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus

Others noted: Quail sp. (brief views: Brown or Stubble), 10+ Superb Blue Wren, White-browed Scrubwren, c500 Short-tailed Shearwater.

Sunday 4 January 2009

Short-tailed Shearwater, Vaucluse

Short-tailed Shearwater (honestly!)  Puffinus tenuirostris

I've never had the patience for sea-watching despite the appealing romance of staring out to sea all day and adding numerous birds to my list. But, with the south Pacific stretching its broad horizon out in front of our new 'unit', there is now no excuse.

Short-tailed Shearwaters were abundant today with the likely presence of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters too. The two are common here and similar in appearance but the diagnostic pink feet of the wedge-tails were silhouetted from my vantage. Any wedge-shaped tails were also indistinguishable during banked flight.

For a more accomplished report from just down the coast see here.