Alarm bells were ringing in the first few weeks of spring when a migrant bird beloved by visitors to the Waterworks Reserve failed to show in big numbers. I was one of a number of birders eagerly monitoring the sandstone culverts below the car park at the entrance to the reserve where striated pardalotes can always be seen in spring and summer. The species is dubbed the “tiny bird with the big voice” and its pick-it-up, pick-it-up call usually begins to ring out in the … [Read more...] about Striated pardalotes arrive at last
On The Wing
Passport to birdland
Birdland is a magical place where it’s possible to escape all the pressures and stresses of the environment of the city created and inhabited by one species – humans – and immerse yourself in a less one-dimensional world. Birdland is nowhere in particular, and does not have to be special or noteworthy. It could be in the wildest of wild forest, or in suburbia. It could be a pristine beach, a few hectares of eucalypt woodland, or a neatly manicured city park. It could be a backyard. That’s the magic of birds; they bring beauty and wonder to every corner of the planet, wild or untamed, and my On the Wing writing is their celebration.
Gazing up at the twinkling stars on Sunday night it was hard to imagine that light pollution was emerging as a major menace to birds across the world. The Milky Way meandered across the sky and I was confident that bright and piercing light would not disrupt the journeys of birds travelling to southern Tasmania. It’s not the same in most other cities which are blighted by artificial light. Birds navigate by a combination of the stars, the position of the sun and the … [Read more...] about Migratory birds hit a wall of light
Most of the cockies have left the Hobart suburbs with the start of spring, taking mischief and mayhem with them. I’m always sorry to see the big flocks go at the start of September, heading to their happy hunting grounds in country districts. The antics of the sulphur-crested cockatoos keep me entertained during the sombre winter months, along with admiring their beautiful display of colour, mixing the yellow of their crests with the pure--white of their bodies. Not … [Read more...] about Humans and cockies battle it out
My daily ritual of taking a walk on the wild side has a name in Japanese culture, shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing”. I learned this one bright and sunny late-winter’s day when I stopped in the Waterworks Reserve to chat with a visitor photographing birds. The photographer had set out to find the elusive pink robin and, seeing my binoculars and noting I was a birder, he asked where he might find the species. As happens when birders meet, the conversation soon started to … [Read more...] about ‘Forest bathing’ with pink robin a reward
A flock of needletail swifts flew high in the sky, weaving in and out of the clouds. It was a rare sight, these mercurial birds only occasionally coming into view across Tasmania. The arrival of the white-throated needletails in the summer months usually sends birdwatchers into a flutter. I had only seen them on one previous occasion when I suddenly saw them flying over Sandy Bay. The only problem was I was attending a parent-teacher meeting at my son’s school. The teacher … [Read more...] about Needletails top of the class