Unexpected visitors – Magpie Geese and Black Cockatoos

I have been keeping a running tally of birds visiting our Mundingburra garden on this page and it is going well (about 30 species since May 2019) but two lots of recent visitors deserve more attention, so here we are.

Magpie Geese

I noted ten days ago that we had been hearing and occasionally spotting Magpie Geese, Anseranas semipalmata, in the early morning, perhaps on their flight path from wherever they spend the night (presumably somewhere further up Ross River) and where they spend the day feeding (perhaps Anderson Park). We are now seeing them quite often in the middle of the day as well, and last Thursday a group of them settled in the top of a neighbour’s tall gum tree.

Magpie Geese
Magpie Geese in a gum tree

I have seen them in trees before, usually near water; they can look alarmingly large and unstable for the flimsy branches they perch on (as Scrub Turkeys often do) but they don’t seem worried about falling.

This lot stayed for ten or twenty minutes and looked as though they were browsing on the new leaves, which was even more unexpected than their mere presence.

Magpie Goose
Feeding on young gum leaves?

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Calyptorhynchus banksii, are another species we had only seen flying overhead but today they too stopped for a visit, socialising audibly but invisibly in the top of one of our palms and perhaps snacking on Burdekin Plums (Pleiogynium timorense) from the tree next to it.

Regular visitors

By this time, too, we know our residents and frequent visitors quite well. They are:

  • Pee-wits – usually in pairs, usually feeding on the ground.
  • Mynahs – also usually in pairs, strutting around as though they own the place.
  • Blue-faced Honeyeaters – a family group, based in one of our fan palms but moving freely around the garden.
  • Rainbow Lorikeets – only when there’s food, but that’s almost all the time. They like palm flowers and seeds but the current attraction is the Jakfruit (or Jackfruit), Artocarpus heterophyllus.

Feral Pigeons, Peaceful Doves, Drongos and White-gaped Honeyeaters are also seen regularly, but not so often as the above.

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