Christmas Day at Abberton

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Christmas Day at Abberton
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 13:21:14 +1000
Well, it was a pretty hot day, but we didn't really care. We spent a lot of
time on the verandah watching a pair of Torresian Crows trying to satisfy
the demands of a giant juvenile Channel-billed Cuckoo they'd had foisted on
them. The young Cuckoo just stayed in one spot up in a tree near the house
all day, while the crows ranged around finding delicacies for it. Just the
way some chaps like to spend Christmas!

It was a bit of a scorcher, and we reached that point a bit over 40 degrees
when even the birds sit around with their beaks open, just panting. So I set
up a water spray onto the rock pool near the verandah and we were able watch
a lot of to-ing and fro-ing of all sorts. Very entertaining. Wished someone
would set up a water-spray for us, but it didn't happen....

Early morning started with a brilliant male King Parrot on the verandah rail
and about 20 Scaly-breasted Lorikeets foraging through the garden. A few
Brown Quail were poking around close to the house. Male and female Speckled
Warblers were side by side dipping themselves in the pool on the rock, along
with some Zebra Finches and Yellow-rumped Thornbills. The Channel-billed
youngster was mewing away most of the day offering commands to his
attendants. A koel was yelling from high in a gum tree.

Several different finches, doves, honeyeater spp, orioles, figbirds, Sacred
Kingfisher, and much else visited various water locations close to the house
throughout the day.  An assortment of ducks, egrets and other waterbirds
appeared on the creek.  Rainbow Bee-eaters, Dollarbirds, a bold Koel who has
taken to sitting low in trees in the afternoons, around verandah height,
calling loudly, swallows and martins, fairywrens, a few raptors including a
striking Hobby, but no one spectacular bird that outshone everything else.
The list from the verandah for the day was between 50 and 60spp, depending
if you count everything everyone saw and heard, or take the minimalist
approach of personal 'clean' sightings.

Speaking of clean - just before Christmas we removed most of the exotic
grass and other herbage that had infiltrated our planting of lomandras along
the creek bank, to restore a clear view of the water surface from the house.
So maybe my personal 'best' sighting of the day was of a couple of brilliant
Azure Kingfishers which flashed by along the creek only a metre or so apart,
and only a metre or two from the near bank - as they may well have been
doing daily for weeks now under cover of the vegetation we've just got rid

Bill Jolly

Lockyer Valley, Queensland.

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