highlights, SEQ, 500m

Subject: highlights, SEQ, 500m
From: Judith Lukin-Amundsen <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 15:41:33 +1000
PAGE 3 (of 3)

As I sat reading the other day, my eye was caught by what seemed at first to be one of the green bowerbirds, alone on the ground in the usual place at the edge of their workshopping area - What a surprise when on closer inspection this proved to be a Collared Sparrowhawk! Perhaps I moved, for the bird swooped off behind the shrubbery... and the whole area was silent and still, birdless, for a long time afterwards.

Some days later a Striated Pardalote came into the fig tree quite close to the house; usually they stay high in the eucalypts up on the ridge-line, but this one could have been disoriented by the pall of smoke that was just then passing over our place... The Maned/Wood Ducks are still with us, as are the Torresian Crows, Pied Currawongs, Brown Thornbills, White-browed Scrubwrens,  and Welcome Swallows, though the Fairy-wrens have not been seen since the cold snap. Lewin's Honeyeaters seem to be edging back into our garden area, after a tough breeding season last year, and subsequent difficulties with the Brush Wattlebirds who'd produced lots of young. For now at least the Noisy Miners which were advancing upon us seem to have pulled back - we can only hope. But if the Eastern Yellow Robin is an 'umbrella species', as I've heard, I'm sad to report that we haven't sighted one for ages. Lately we hear calling Whipbirds, Boobooks, Masked Lapwings, and Cuckoos, though we've seen no raptors this week; we have occasionally to chase a Brush Turkey off the garden - if he's the same bird, he seems to be growing up on our and adjacent properties.
        The number of Scaly-breasted Lorikeets among the Rainbows seems to be on the rise. The sight of Rainbow Lorikeets feeding alongside Red-browed Firetails is affecting, for these finches seem to trust no other bird so close by. Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots and Pale-headed Rosellas flash through the trees, and the Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos conduct their family business, passing overhead in twos or threes several times each day, with the occasional lone bird calling. There seem less Sulphur-crested Cockatoos than there were.
        This year a group of Galahs has taken up daytime residence in our Tipuana tipu tree ('Pride of Bolivia', or the 'Racehorse' tree, I think). Though they've visited in the past, often leaving a couple of birds to spend the day in the tree while the rest of the group flies off, this is the first time they have taken over the tree as their own. Much of each day is spent plucking the winged seeds and biting the exact same part from each one: a juicy green 'vein' that seems to run from the stalk and edge past the seed. The seeds themselves they do not touch, but instead drop the whole winged structure to the ground once they've eaten the tiny green part that interests them. If you pick these up afterwards, each one has been bitten in exactly the same way.
        In late winter, our place usually rings with the rattling of thousands of the dried seed-wings on the tree. It will be interesting to see if we hear that sound this year.

S-E Qld
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