Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Skink!

Thursday, 29 August, 2013

241/365 Eastern Water SkinkI’ve had a couple of good days for spotting wildlife. I saw this fellow sunning himself on a rock as I was walking home from work today, just 50 metres or so from where I saw the brushturkeys yesterday.

This is an Eastern water skink (Eulamprus quoyii). It was maybe 40 centimetres long. I managed to poke my camera fairly close before it scooted away.

Brushturkey!

Wednesday, 28 August, 2013

Australian brushturkeyFollowing up my urban bird post of the other day, I was astonished this morning to come across a pair of Australian brushturkeys while walking to the station to catch the train to work. I know these birds are around the city, but I’ve never seen some so close before, nor so close to my home.

They’re very territorial, so I’ll probably see them again in the future if they’ve moved into the area. At this time of year they’re probably either building compost mounds to incubate their eggs, or already looking after a clutch of eggs or chicks somewhere nearby.

Urban birds

Wednesday, 21 August, 2013

Friendly lorikeetI was walking home from the railway station after work today and I noticed an ibis and some parrots flying overhead. And I figured it might be interesting to list what birds I typically see in my daily life here in Sydney.

  • Pigeons. Yeah, they’re all over the place, alas.
  • Noisy miner. This is easily the second most common bird I see. And the most common one I hear – they’re not called “noisy” for nothing. They constantly chatter away as they flit around gardens and parks. The noise isn’t loud or offensive, just prolific.
  • Australian white ibis. Probably the next most common bird I encounter. I often see them flying relatively high and for longish distances across the city. If you look up at the sky much in Sydney, you’ll see these birds travelling from suburb to suburb. I often see them out the window of my office building too.
  • Rainbow lorikeet. Common around my home, since there are lots of gardens and some bushland in a nearby park. Sometimes they come and sit on my balcony (pictured). Some people feed them, but you need to be careful not to give them food that is bad for them.
  • Pied currawong. Usually just called currawongs, these are the only one of three currawong species commonly found in Sydney. These can be loud birds, with a very distinctive crow-like cry.
  • Berry Island Lapwing

  • Australian magpie. Unrelated to European magpies, these are larger crow-like birds. Their most notable thing is that they attack humans during nesting season (spring). A few people are hospitalised every year with wounds caused by magpie attacks; sometimes people lose eyes. The best way to prevent attacks is to look at them – they attack from behind. Wearing false eyes on the back of your head/hat also helps.
  • Masked lapwing (pictured). Pretty common near water and also in open grassy areas, looking for worms and grubs in the grass.
  • Silver gull. Everywhere near salt water. These are the squabbling pigeons of the shoreline. Also seen inland.
  • Sulphur-crested cockatoo. I see these in the parkland around my home.
  • House sparrow. Introduced from Europe and now common.

The above birds are common enough that I see them virtually every week. The following ones I see less often.
Laughing Kookaburra

  • Crested pigeon. These are much nicer birds than the more common feral pigeons. They have a comical topknot spike of feathers and make a squeaking/whistling sound as they fly. It’s caused by the air moving across their flapping wings.
  • Australian pelican. These are common near the ocean and sea lagoons, but I don’t travel out to the ocean every week, so I only see them occasionally.
  • Australian raven. Sometimes difficult to tell from a currawong from a distance. These are a bit less common.
  • Little pied cormorant. Fairly easy to spot on the harbour, rivers, and near the sea.
  • Laughing kookaburra (pictured from my living room window). I see one of these maybe a couple of times a month. Or hear them – they’re very loud.
  • Galah. These can be seen occasionally in large flocks, either flying across Sydney, or settled into grassy areas to graze on seeds. There’s a flock that I see occasionally in the park areas near my work.
  • White-faced heron. I never used to notice these, but since I’ve been keeping an eye out for birds, I see them moderately often, all over Sydney.
  • Pacific black duck. Seen near waterways and, well, everywhere ducks are seen.
  • Australian wood duck. Ditto, but a bit less common.
  • King parrot. I’ve seen these a few times in the park near my home.
  • Channel-billed cuckoo. These are more often heard than seen. They make loud raucous calls.

These birds I see a few times a month to a few times a year. There are other birds that I see occasionally or rarely within Sydney as well, such as: black swan, willy wagtail, purple swamphen, Australian brushturkey, superb lyrebird. Occasionally I’ll spot a raptor of some sort, a falcon or small eagle, flying far overhead. The coolest bird I’ve ever seen in the city is a powerful owl, perched on a power line as I was walking home from a restaurant one night.

I’m sure I’m missing some species, probably including some fairly common ones that I just don’t know the names of yet.

Parrots!

Wednesday, 5 October, 2011

Rainbow LorikeetBirdie Num NumWalking home from the train station this afternoon, I saw a colourful parrot fly right through my eyeline and up into a nearby tree. I figured it was just a rainbow lorikeet (left), which are plentiful around our home. We have several species of parrots that are common around here. The lorikeets are all over the place, but we also get sulphur-crested cockatoos and galahs fairly often.

So anyway, this lorikeet flew right past… Only it wasn’t a lorikeet! I had to look twice at it when it was perched in the tree, and I realised it was too big and the colour… It was a king parrot (right)! This is only the second time I’ve seen a king parrot within earshot of home, in almost 15 years living here. What’s more, as I was standing gawping and admiring the bird, another one flew past. Cool.

Lorikeet visit

Sunday, 9 January, 2011

Rainbow LorikeetLorikeet feeding timeLook who visited my balcony this morning. There were three rainbow lorikeets hanging around. I tried offering them sunflower seeds, but they didn’t like them much. Only when I checked later did I realise they are nectar and fruit eaters. Ooops.

I might look into getting a nectar feeder to hang out there.