Action over L. Ginninderra & in backyard

To: "Canberra Birds" <>
Subject: Action over L. Ginninderra & in backyard
From: "John Layton" <>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 20:40:18 +1000

This afternoon I sat soaking up the sun on the Lake Ginninderra shore at McDermott Place absorbed in Sue Halpern’s Four Wings and a Prayer – Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly when I looked up for no particular reason, birder’s sixth sense maybe, and high overhead a White-bellied Sea-Eagle was heading helter-skelter northward. Hot on its tail were three Magpies and two Ravens. As the eagle swung west the ravens broke away and began a long descent in the direction of Bruce, while the magpies pressed home their  harassment until all were out of sight.


Lately, during these sunny, warm and still afternoons after about 5 o’clock larger garden birds launch feeding forays against aerial insects. Today, an hour before sundown I sat in the backyard still glued to Halpern when a Red Wattlebird and a Noisy Friarbird whizzed  by.  At first I thought they were competing for hunting rights , but no, turned out to be more like a cooperative effort as the pair landed next to one another on a cable and flew in tandem to grab airborne prey before returning to their perch to gobble down the spoils.  A pair of Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes began hunting nearby as more wattlebirds launched vertical sorties from a Silver birch at the far end of the garden.


An immaculate male White-backed Magpie (looking like he’d just returned from the dry cleaners) appeared at my feet and scrutinised me for a moment before pinching the salami from a half-eaten sandwich that was on a plate on the grass next to my chair. Good. Might teach the pilfering knave a lesson, see, it was Hungarian salami, liberally spiced with hot paprika. Snicker, snicker.


John K. Layton


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