highlights, SEQ, 500m

To: "Val Ford" <>,
Subject: highlights, SEQ, 500m
From: Judith Lukin-Amundsen <>
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 11:02:58 +1000
Thanks so much, Val, and Lorne too. Perhaps I'll post another 'weekend report' next week? - If so, it'll appear under the same heading...


Hi Judith
I have finally got around to writing to say how much I enjoyed reading this report.  I just love reading about bird behaviour and envy those who have the skills to interestingly describe what the see.
Sorrento, Vic

28 May -> 1 June 2004
Ocean View / Mt Mee

Up in our mountain garden this past weekend, 'our' Satin Bowerbird continues, inexplicably, to maintain his bower - in absolutely perfect order: none of the competition seems to be seriously trying to tear it to bits or take his blue ornaments, though he does receive the occasional visit from green birds, or the neighbouring territory-holder ('M2'). In spite of a surprising unseasonally-cold snap during last week, when the night-time temperature plummeted, several nights, to about five degrees and all the smallest birds of our garden vanished, the bower still stands. And the bird still croons and hisses, though somewhat less so.
        Over the past couple of months, though, we've noticed the bower moving fraction-by-fraction westwards, while maintaining its north-south orientation. This bower - owned by 'M1' - seems to be the only one on our two-and-a-half-acre property. About 30 metres from the garden bed in which it stands, over a slight crest, is a big fig tree; it's here that M1's territory appears to border M2's, and though they will edgily occupy the fig tree simultaneously occasionally, when feeding, and the grass beneath it, any incursion beyond this point by either bird into the other's ground leads to a chase.
        Beneath the fig tree on M2's side is a shrubbery canopy, on the edge of which M2 regularly displays, apparently for the benefit of a green bird, who sits back on his 'heels' like a student, keenly watching every beautiful move.

Meanwhile, fifteen Wood/Maned Ducks are living in the garden. The most we've ever had (except for the poor pair whose fourteen chicks were progressively taken by predators, including the crows, who also had young). My husband says these fifteen are taking refuge from the shooting season.

We're less certain about the virtues of having a young butcherbird following us around (a Grey, perhaps). He has cleverly worked out that wherever we go, the earth is turned, and so does a good imitation of fondness for us.

The other great sight this weekend was two Wedge-tailed Eagles, circling and circling above, one displaying several times in the 'half-folded wings' movement. A magnificent sight! When one came through quite low the next day, the crows took after it, closely accompanied by Magpie-lark(s).

In the evenings I finished reading a book called 'Providence of a Sparrow' by Chris Chester - what a strange and amazing life he's been leading, with the upper half of his (and his wife's) house completely given over to birds. Hard to stop pondering his enormous love/obsession for their first sparrow...

Well, I'm back in town now, but this coming Saturday I'm off north to receive Coxen's Fig-parrot recovery training near a lowland rainforest area. Looking forward to it.

S-E Qld
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