rain dancers

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p1130836The Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo is a cheeky character. This male (sex identified by the hot pink eye ring) is feasting on the flower buds of the banksia tree, a tree native to where I live. Behind it is a she-oak, another native tree the cockatoos fancy. Cockatoos tend to stick together, their loud cawking sounds pre-empting their arrival, and their arrival pre-empting rain. 


golden-headed cisticola

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The Golden-headed Cisticola is a meagre 10 cms tip to tail. They are small grassbirds that nest in a dome of grass mixed with plant-down and spiderweb that they enter near the top. The 3-4 eggs are a blotched blue. They are common residents in grasslands and crops in eastern, northern and north-western Australia and King Island but being so tiny can be difficult to spot. I saw this one near Bellingen on the NSW north coast, it was a lucky shot out of the window of the car after a fellow birder spotted it on a country road.


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Compared with the preceding photo of a young kangaroo you can see how distinctly different the two species are. The young kangaroo may grown six feet tall (if its a male) but the wallaby is only half that and has a much more solid body as well as dark brown front feet and nose. This one is enjoying young grass stalks for dinner. The background with grasses,  young banksia tree in the front and she-oak in the back is indicative of the local flora of this coastal reserve.

male superb fairy-wren

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The male Superb Fairy-wrens (what a great name!) are handsome little birds with their jet black coats and bright blue collars, unlike their female counterparts who have  soft brown feathers that you can see here. Captured at this angle he looks like he is wearing Darth Vada’s helmet giving him quite a ferocious ‘don’t mess with me’ look. You can see how tiny he is in comparison against the banksia pod and if your not familiar with the banksia he is a mere 14 cm top to tail. They like to hang out in patchy undergrowth for cover and feed in nearby open spaces and have a full-throated gushing song with downward inflection.

Acknowledgment: Slaters Field Guide to Australian Birds.