S is for superb fairy wrens – true-blue root-rats of the bird world #MelaleucaMiscellany

I often see these pretty little birds in my garden. I saw what I assume was a pair this morning and reading up on them came across this piece which certainly adds a whole new dimension to their character for me. 🙂

tasbiophilia

1495129_935664026474307_4072550223577659061_o “Helloooo laydeez!” Good looking wren supplied by Mick Brown.

Fairy wrens, eh?  Are they naughty or what?

Famously described by Sir David Attenborough as “the most promiscuous bird known”, much research has been done into the convoluted and apparently quite permissive sex-lives of these rather adorable tiny blue birds and their little brown lady friends.  Both sexes of superb fairy wrens (Malurus cyaneus) are socially monogamous (staying in the same partnerships), but sexually promiscuous (self-explanatory).

Whilst I could tell many entertaining anecdotes about the louche behaviour of fairy wrens, my favourite one, which I learnt about in a short piece by Mary Kille in edition 55 of Yellowthroat (newsletter of Birds Tasmania), regards the peculiar practice of furgling.

Furgling (anecdotally, a word which is a portmanteau of burgling and something else risqué that starts with ‘F’), is a practice known from several species of wrens, which involves…

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Garden Visitors Return

Green or Tasmanian Rosella
Green or Tasmanian Rosella

 

Remember the pair of green Rosellas that used to visit my back garden to eat the berries on the old bush? I have seen them about a few times over the past year but this morning they paid me a long visit.

It was around seven in the morning and I had just got out of bed and was waiting for my coffee to heat up. I looked out the kitchen window and the Rosellas were on the grass near the flower bed. I expected they would fly away but  when they didn’t I went into the living room to get the camera. It had the 24-55 mm lens but I didn’t want to waste time changing it. I didn’t want to scare them by going outside or even opening the window so I took my photos through the glass.

After taking a few pictures I had to get on with things. I was going out at 8:30 am so breakfast, showering, dressing and chores needed to be done. However a little later I looked out again and when I saw that the birds were still enjoying their breakfast on the grass I did put the 100-300 zoom on and took a few more.

These are not great pictures taken in a hurry through glass but I thought I would share some of them. Although I believe these might be a pair I’m not even sure which is which in these photos. When I got home this evening I did a little cropping and brightening with Picasa to compensate for taking the photos from inside the house

This sparrow joined them but soon decided that they were too big to compete with.

A common sparrow.
A common sparrow.

The Rosella’s in turn left when this fellow arrived. He is a masked lapwing, commonly known as a plover and they are frequent visitors to the land between my house and the power sub station next door. I thought that the parrots blended in with the colour of the grass really well and the sparrow with the bark chips behind him.

 

 References:

http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=16106

http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=5160

 

A Walk By The Lake

This week I’m doing a bit of house sitting in Oatlands  and the other day I went out to look for a good subject for my Thursday photo post. I ended up at Lake Dulverton.  Part of the lake is a conservation area so there is quite a lot of bird life. I am not quick enough to photograph birds on the wing but as it as a sunny winter afternoon most of the birds were co-operative and stayed on the bank or in the water which made it a lot easier for me. Some of the birds found at the lake are Grebes, cormorants, swans, various types of ducks and other water birds.cormorant2 black swan 1 black swan

The lake is divided into three areas by two earth bund walls.  One area is irrigated to provide a home for the birds even in drought conditions. The lake has often dried up completely in the past. It is not full at the moment but there is enough water for the birds to live on the main part of the lake as well.  From the bund wall nearest to the conservation area you can sometimes see the swans nesting.

This is one of the bund walls at the lake.
This is one of the bund walls at the lake.

 

A lot of Lake Dulverton is covered in these plants known locally as water ribbons.
A lot of Lake Dulverton is covered in these plants known locally as water ribbons.

 

A lot of the sandstone used in  the town’s buildings was quarried locally. I’m not sure where the quarry was but wonder if it was around this area near the lake.rocks

The days are quite short now and today the official sunset time was around 4:45 pm. I took this last photo at around 2:30 pm but as I wasn’t wearing a watch I actually thought it was later because of the light. I was quite surprised to get home and find it was not yet 3 pm.

The Callington Mill dominates the landscape.
The Callington Mill dominates the landscape.

Daily Prompt: Thank You

The internet is full of rants. Help tip the balance: today, simply be thankful for something (or someone).

This Daily Prompt post struck a chord with me because since I started “My Other Blog” I have used it quite often to rant about things that annoy me. I am not really a cranky person but I do enjoy the opportunity to publicly vent.

I’m thankful for many things though. I’m thankful that I live in Australia. For all the things that we complain about we are far luckier than people in many other countries. We have the right to vote for the government of our choice and nobody will try to kill us for it. Our cities, while they have their poor districts, are not deserted wastelands or riddled with gun toting gangs. If we can’t find work we get some support from the government to help us.

For myself I’m grateful that we own a home of our own and have no mortgage and that we have enough money to eat, pay bills and still enjoy some of life’s little pleasures.

I’m thankful that I live in a state with beautiful scenery, a wonderful climate and friendly people.

I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to travel and see some of the places that I always wanted to see.

In fact I feel like I have had a pretty good life, some sadness and hard times of course, we all have that but I’ve not experienced the tragedies that some people do and for that I’m the most thankful of all.

image rowboat
Rowing boat, Franklin, Tasmania