Winter backyard birding

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Winter backyard birding
From: "Val Ford" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 07:48:25 -0700
    In my garden at Sorrento in southern Victoria a large number of correas have been flowering profusely for a couple of months and hopefully will continue for many more.  In past years it has been Red Wattlebirds and Singing Honeyeaters coming to these plants.  This year, as well as the ever present singing honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebills have been feasting daily.  There are usually two but on occasions there have been up to six.  I love hearing their call when they fly up to a nearby branch to draw breath or go to the bird bath to wash.
    Quite often I see a singing honeyeater and eastern spinebill feeding together.  When one moves to a nearby correa so does the other.  Is this a common observation?
    Last year I had two Crimson Rosellas come in and nip off some of  the correa flowers to get at the base of the flower.  Luckily they have kept away this year.
    The Brown Thornbills, which are constantly moving through the garden, are also seen often seen feeding in the correas with a singing honeyeater and an eastern spinebill.  A Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater prefers to do its own thing and can been seen sitting a overhanging branch looking into the large correa outside my back window. 
    Up until a few weeks ago I was lucky to have a female Pink Robin in my garden.  This bird was first observed on April 21and if not seen through the window it was nearby until the beginning of July.  This is the third year I have observed a female pink robin in my garden and am assuming it is the same bird.
    Most days I would have either a Golden Whistler or Grey Shrike-thrush but never the two together.          Eastern Yellow Robins are often seen in the mornings, out there with their 'headlamps' on, almost at it before the Common Blackbirds are up and about.  The blackbirds are terrorised by the three resident Australian Magpies [one male and two females] who will swoop at them at any time.  However they are nowhere near as vigilant as the previous magpie pair who could sense a blackbird from at least 300metres away.  One day I saw them with a blackbird pinned to the ground and repeatedly stabbing its head which resulted in one less blackbird.  Spotted Turtle-Doves are also moved on by the magpies. 
    White-browed Scrubwrens and Grey Butcherbirds are also daily visitors.  New Holland Honeyeaters visit the properties on either side - hopefully they will stop for a while when my first banksia flower is fully developed.
    As others have written winter is a great time for birding in southern Victoria.
    Val Ford
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