A magpie-lark strutting about the walkways and car park of the marina at Prince of Wales Bay has created a stir in the twitcher-sphere. The sighting in Derwent Park of the species, which is usually seen on the mainland, was first reported by the twitcher’s bible, the Eremaea birdline website, in January and again in person to me when Pieter van der Woude, who runs wildlife cruises to Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey, saw the bird late last month at his mooring at the … [Read more...] about The twitcher’s curse
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.
A 19-year connection with a family of swallows looked to be broken in the early spring when I found the nest they had used year after year wrecked by vandals. The mud-cup nest rested on a roof beam within one of the BBQ shelters at the Waterworks Reserve and over time the family building it each year had survived trials and tribulations – storm and tempest and human disturbance – to always produce young. This year all seemed to be going to plan, even if the remains of last … [Read more...] about Mixed fortunes for swallows
A party of black-faced cuckoo-shrikes fluttered in undulating flight across an impossibly blue sky as I tucked into my treat for the day, a lemonade scone served with cream and strawberry jam. I was birdwatching in style, taking morning coffee at the Mt Nelson Signal Station restaurant and at the same time enjoying a feast of birds passing the veranda where I was seated with a birding buddy, Denis Abbott. The great thing about bird-watching in Hobart is it’s possible to put … [Read more...] about Birdwatching in style
As a fiery sun vanished behind the palm trees bordering Luna Park in Melbourne, rainbow lorikeets were putting on an equally spectacular show, as they always do at sunset. Noisy and pushy; they jostled for position in prime roosting sites among the fronds, oblivious to mayhem on a slightly different scale taking place just below them as the lively and eccentric St Kilda residents positioned themselves for the evening that lie ahead. I love Acland St with its cake shops by … [Read more...] about Lorikeets on the wrong side of the tracks
The Wooden Boat Festival has come around again, an event I always associate with the legendary bird of the southern oceans, the albatross. It’s easy to see why – during the 2013 festival I actually saw the lanky shape of a shy albatross not 40 metres off-shore of the Hobart docks.. I thought at the time the albatross would make an apt symbol for the festival, particularly the shy albatross which breeds exclusively on just a few Tasmanian islands. I had been told … [Read more...] about Albatrocity on the high seas