Backyard birds

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Backyard birds
From: "Frances Guard" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 22:32:03 +1000
Hi Birders
Encouraged by others writing about the birds in their backyards, I thought
I'd tell you of my latest Atlas list for my place at Maleny (26 44 19S X152
53 33E). I did the count last weekend  when the sun came out after the
chilly Antarctic blasts of the previous week. The birds were responding to
the changed conditions too, as I saw a record 45 species in the 500m radius
area survey.

The list includes the inevitable brush turkeys, two raptors - Brown Goshawk
and Grey Goshawk - both uncommon here, the usual flock of brown cuckoo doves
and bar-shouldered doves. A couple of yellow -tailed black cockatoos came
wailing up the valley, while sulphur-crested cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets
screamed overhead. The cuckoos were represented by one shining bronze cuckoo
calling on and on. The laughing kookaburras here are alive and well. A noisy
pitta calls at dusk and dawn, though I've seldom seen it .

 Only the variegated fairy wrens were visible this month, though just as
often it is the red-backed fairy wrens. Among the small birds the
white-browed and large-billed scrubwrens, brown thornbill and white-throated
gerygone were present. Eastern spinebills have suddenly appeared, after an
absence of 8 months. (They stayed all winter last year.)  Dusky honeyeaters
, at the southern end  of their regular range, are always in my garden.  The
white-eared monarch , varied triller , grey and little shrike thrush are
resident and I see them most days. A rose robin put in abrief appearance,
while the grey fantails distract me at every turn. A flock of red-browed
finches are feeding on grass seeds , landing on the swaying stems and
sliding down to the heads in a truly acrobatic way.

Last , but by no means least, I saw a new bird not only for the property but
also for my life list.! A Lewin's rail. It behaved most
uncharacteristically, and was not in the least bit shy or secretive. It was
on the track to the creek, and as soon as I saw it I stopped still. It
continued to potter down the track towards me until it was no more than 3 or
4 metres from my feet.  At first I thought it was a buff-banded landrail, a
more visible and likely bird in this  district, but the distinctive pink and
dark-tipped beak, orangey head and neck, lack of buff band and white
eyebrow, made me think again. A check of the Guides confirmed that it was a
female Lewin's rail. A new bird before breakfast, and that not 200 metres
from my kitchen.

I think it will be hard to better this month's in a long time.

Fran Guard.

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