I have always suspected that there is more to the yellow-throated honeyeaters in my garden than meets the eye. They are not only creatures of subtle beauty, and a joy to watch, but I have now learned that their very presence in my wattles and bottlebrushes is actually increasing the value of the Knowler “mansion” in Dynnyrne. In fact, if I take into account the other species that are deemed “special” I might even be able to take out a mortgage for an extra wing. The … [Read more...] about Birds can make house prices soar
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.
Driving through Kingston one chilly afternoon I caught a glimpse of the last of the swift parrots heading north at the start of winter. I stopped the car to study the birds closely because I didn’t want to fall into the age-old winter bird-watching trap – confusing swift parrots with musk lorikeets. Not a year goes by that I do not receive calls from readers during the winter months saying they have seen swift parrots. One well-known politician was on record one winter a … [Read more...] about A swift case of mistaken identity
PIGS may fly, as the expression goes, but the owner of the Inverawe Native Gardens at Margate was hardly prepared for the sight of a flying pademelon. There was Margaret Chestnut one autumnal afternoon, tending some newly-planted shrubs, when she saw what looked like a pademelon land with a thump right in front of her. Yes, her eyes were not deceiving her. It really was a pademelon that had apparently fallen right out of the sky. Mrs Chestnut moved forward to determine if … [Read more...] about Help for a fallen friend
Winter had finally arrived, with a dusting of snow on Mount Wellington and a chilly wind rattling the eucalypt canopy but, observing the antics of the dusky woodswallows, you would not know it. The welcome swallows and tree martins had been gone for weeks but here on a sunny if bitterly cold day the woodswallows were still doing what woodswallows do best – launching themselves from bare branches to snap up insects in mid-flight. It was a surprise to come across them … [Read more...] about Woodswallows take their time
The sea eagles ruled supreme at Eaglehawk Neck, but it was the beautiful firetail that stole the show. The white-bellied sea eagles had thrilled a party of bird-watchers on one of BirdLife Tasmania’s regular outings with a display of aerial prowess over the fishing trawlers moored in Pirates Bay. The firetail simply let its stunning plumage do the talking. Before the firetail had turned up it had proven a pretty unremarkable birding trip, although a fine sunny day had put … [Read more...] about Firetail steals the show