bird-watching

blue boy

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This adult male Satin Bowerbird  is a handsome blue-black with a violet eye and greenish-yellow bill. Clearly taken by blue he has amassed an assortment of blue objects to decorate his bower in the hope of attracting a female. The older males try to keep the females to themselves by smashing the nests of the younger males with their still green feathers and stealing their blue ornaments for themselves. I wonder if that’s where the expression ‘still green’ comes from, a reference to the as yet uninitiated or experienced bowerbird.

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silvereye

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Silvereyes are part of a group of birds called White-eyes (for obvious reasons). White-eyes are small yellow-green birds with short pointed bills, brush-tipped tongues like honeyeaters and a ring of white feathers around each eye. This variety is only 12 cm and is the south-eastern form. They are found in forests, woodlands and heaths and have a lovely warbling giggle. When nesting they make a compact cup made of grass, plant-down and hair bound together with cobwebs, in which they lay 2-4 pale blue eggs … sounds like they are residents of fairyland.

white-cheeked honeyeater

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There are a prolific number of honeyeaters at Moonee Beach Nature Reserve on the north coast of NSW Australia and this is one of the species that can be spotted darting and feeding on Banksia flowers. It is a White-cheeked Honeyeater (eastern form) approx. 15-17 cm with a distinctive streaked breast. They have a number of ‘songs’ and often sing in harmony with other honeyeaters.

a bird watchers paradise

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P1120629

There are a good number of national parks and nature reserves on the east coast of Australia and these are often found adjacent to coastal villages. One I am particularly fond of is the Moonee Beach Nature Reserve just north of Coffs Harbour on the north coast of New South Wales. At the north end of the reserve is a headland called Look At Me Now and this encapsulates much of what is beautiful in the area. Ringed with ocean views complete with islands and lighthouses off shore, and perfect waves where surfers are accompanied by dolphin pods and passing whales, the headland is a haven for kangaroos, reptiles and birds. One group of birds that is thriving are the fairy-wrens and this male is a Variegated Fairy-Wren. They are tiny at just 15 cm head to tail tip and come in two basic forms depending on what side of the Divide they are living (thats the Great Dividing Range to those unfamiliar with the abbreviation). As this location is on the east of the Divide he belongs to the lamberti. They are very common but tend to hide amoung branches and grasses so can be hard to see. They do however make a lovely trilling warble which is just as rewarding. These are just one of the many birds that can be spotted on the headland and surrounding beaches making it a bird watchers paradise.

little wattlebird

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This Little Wattlebird is not actually that little, coming in at around 27-33cm. The Wattlebirds are amoung the largest of the honeyeaters and love the flowering banksia. They can be quite aggressive and noisy. Like most honeyeaters they nest in cups of grass and twigs and lay 2-3 pinkish eggs.

Acknowledgement: The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds, 2nd ed.

eastern white-cheeked honeyeater

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White-cheeked Honeyeaters are around 16-19cm and this eastern variety has a fan-shaped white cheek patch. They are very fast and camouflage themselves amoung the flowering banksia trees. They enjoy this area with its woodlands and thick undergrowth and will make nests out of cups of grass and twigs in low bushes and lay 2-3 spotted and blotched pinkish eggs.

Acknowledgement: The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds, 2nd ed.