They’re back. The welcome swallows have returned to the Waterworks Reserve. Most years I can set my calendar by them, always turning up in the first few says of September although last year they were about a week late for reasons I could not determine. At the end of August I always watch for them, just in case they make an earlier than usual return, along with the traditional early trans-state migrants, the striated pardalote and the fan-tailed cuckoo. An entry always goes … [Read more...] about Swallows make a welcome return
On The Wing
A column for all seasons
Everyone has a story about birds. They are all about us and are our contact point with nature. The birds I see are usually in an urban environment and so I concentrate on these in my writing. I don’t pretend to be an expert but birds of the city and suburb are also the ones that most people identify with, the species you do not need a compass and binoculars to seek out. A scarlet robin singing in a garden is just as exciting as a swift parrot in an ancient forest and is worth just as many words in my On the Wing writings.
It’s that time of the year when magpies start to show their belligerent and rowdy side – and I’m not talking about Collingwood supporters. The comparison might seem a little unfair coming from a St Kilda devotee but the Collingwood joke always appears to emerge when I mention magpies and their apparent aggressiveness during AFL finals time at the start of spring. And so it was in the last week of August when I toured an infamous magpie “war-zone”, Clarence St on the Eastern … [Read more...] about Spring is magpie attack time
When planning a bird garden, and taking into consideration the food requirements of birds, we must divide the plants into three categories to match the bird groups I discussed last week in my “home for birds” column. As I mentioned, these are the nectarivores, frugivores and seed-eaters. Birds eat practically every type of living thing. Beaks are a good way of identifying what type of food they eat. Birds will forage in shrubs and trees, on the lawn and among ground … [Read more...] about Gardens must not stand in isolation
Birds are our window on the great world of nature. Birds are constantly about us, their songs brighten our day. Although birds are always in sight, always obvious, it is possible to bring their wonder and mystery even closer by creating a bird garden. With a little planning, and a little study into the right type of trees, shrubs and flowers to plant, we can not only cater for the birds that we commonly see and hear, but bring other species into our lives. We just have to … [Read more...] about A window opens on wildlife
When it comes to “green” cities – those graced with leafy parks and tree-lined streets – the rest of Australia could take a leaf out of Hobart’s book. A mix of deciduous trees originally introduced from Europe and our own native eucalypts and wattles not only provide shelter from rain and sunshine, but give shape to the seasons. There is no greater sight than Tasmanian blue gums in white flower in Sandy Bay in spring, or the maidenhair tree, ginkgo biloba from China, in … [Read more...] about Trees shape the seasons in Hobart