Birds in my new Townsville garden

Rainbow Lorikeets and Blue-faced Honeyeaters
Rainbow Lorikeets and Blue-faced Honeyeaters feeding on a palm flower

One of the reasons for the long gap in activity on Green Path was that we were moving house. We are still in Mundingburra, and still between Ross River and Ross River Road, but our new garden is quite different so it will attract different birds and insects.

The new garden is dominated by palms instead of huge mango, poplar gum and paperbark trees. Someone removed trees to plant a wide variety of palms at least twenty years ago, and some of them have been allowed to self-seed since then, so we have far more than we need – even after getting a dozen removed.

The under-storey includes Happy Plants (Dracaena Fragrans), Mock Orange (Murraya paniculata), Ponytails (Beaucarnea recurvata), Prickly Duranta (Duranta erecta), cycads and agaves; they all seem to be survivors of a garden which was replanted in the 1970s or 80s and but has been periodically neglected since then. Our neighbours have huge old mango trees and (variously) a Black Bean, a Jakfruit, a Burdekin Plum, eucalypts and more palms, so birds are not short of perches or nesting sites. On the other hand, the deficiency of shrubbery and native flowers makes the garden less welcoming to sunbirds and small honeyeaters.

So far we have seen …

  • Blue-faced Honeyeater
  • White-gaped Honeyeater
  • Little Friarbird
  • Feral pigeon
  • Peaceful Dove
  • Rainbow Lorikeet
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  • Figbird
  • Peewit
  • Mynah
  • Great Bowerbird
  • Magpie
  • White Ibis
  • Curlew
  • Sacred Kingfisher
  • Rainbow Bee-eater
  • Spice Finches

They are all familiar species and are already documented on this page of birds seen in our previous garden, so I will just add a few more photos to complete this post.

Australasian Figbirds
Figbirds (male on left, female or juvenile on right)

Nectar-feeders are attracted to the flowering of our palm trees but fruit-feeders like these Australasian Figbirds (Sphecotheres vieilloti) are attracted to the fruit.

Indian Mynahs
A flock (perhaps a family group) of Mynas feeding on the nature strip
Sacred Kingfisher
The washing line isn’t the most beautiful background, but it does remind us how small the Sacred Kingfisher is

Kookaburras in Annandale

Between the floods and the resumption of regular service on Green Path we received an email via the Contact page. The observations in it were so good that I asked permission to publish it, and here’s the result. I have used italics for my words to keep them separate; apart from that, I’ve done just a tiny bit of editing for consistency and brevity, and added links where appropriate.

Tue 19/03/2019

G’day Malcolm

My name is Ray and my wife (Judy) and I are retired and live in Annandale, backed onto the creek that runs from the Army base under the A1 and the “Richard I Bong” Bridge on Macarthur Drive. Got your email address from the Green Path website and you seemed quite experienced in birdlife. Thought you might be able to enlighten us – if you have time.

We have been visited lately by  four Blue-winged and one Laughing Kookaburras (see pics attached).

kookaburras, blue-winged and laughing
The visitors (photo: Ray)

As near as I can make out, the (slipped masked not quite covering the eyes) Laughing Kooka and two Blue-winged Kookas are female by standard assessment – with rufous tails and generally less blue than the others. There is another Blue-winged Kooka with a dark blue tail and a lot of blue including a distinct blue back – presumably male – then the fifth one has a rufous tail at upper and lower ends, but has a dark blue patch in the middle of the tail, that appears to defy normal consideration for gender! Continue reading “Kookaburras in Annandale”

Wattlebirds

Soon after my visit to Southern states in December 2017 I wrote about “honeyeaters and their next-nearest kin, mainly because I have … seen species which don’t live around Townsville” and I’m doing it again now.

Wattlebirds are the Southern equivalent of our Friarbirds: big, noisy, gregarious (and often aggressive) honeyeaters. The Red and Yellow are the largest of five species at 38-48 and 31-39cm respectively; the Yellow (Anthocaera paradoxa) is restricted to Tasmania but the Red (A. carunculata) occupies a broad coastal arc from Shark Bay in the West to Brisbane.

wattledird on bottlebrush
Yellow Wattlebird in a South Hobart garden

Continue reading “Wattlebirds”