Sunday, July 22, 2007

Backyard birdwatching - 50 species seen

I keep a tally of the bird species I see from my home in suburban Ivanhoe in Melbourne. Keeping a watchout is part of the great art of pottering around the garden with no specific purpose but managing to fill in many a lazy day. It is also an outstanding way of confirming my 'nerd' status with teenage daughters and disbelieving neighbours.

Remarkably, with the breaking of the drought and the spell of cold weather I have seen 4 new species over the past few weeks – Grey shrike-thrush, Eastern yellow robin, Grey fantail and Musk lorikeet. I had not seen a new species from my home for about a year before that. All of these new birds are reasonably common species in the bush areas around Melbourne but I have never seen them from my house in the 10 years I have kept a tally. The 4 new species take my tally from the house to the half-century mark. My life list of Australian birds seen is a fairly pathetic 550 species.

I think that is amazing outcome for the middle of Melbourne suburbia and a tribute to the conservation efforts of our local Banyule Council who have done such a good job promoting tree planting and nature reserves in the district. The species I have seen are:

1. Australian wood duck (in swimming pool)
2. Pacific black duck (many times, one with ducklings in swimming pool)
3. White-faced heron (flying over)
4. Australian white ibis (flying over)
5. Peregrine falcon (swooping at distance)
6. Masked lapwing (rare)
7. Silver gull
8. Crested pigeon
9. Spotted turtle dove
10. Yellow-tailed black cockatoo (now common, formerly rare)
11. Gang gang cockatoo (once)
12. Sulphur-crested cockatoo
13. Galah
14. Rainbow lorikeet
15. Musk lorikeet (now common).
16. Australian king parrot (rare)
17. Crimson rosella
18. Eastern rosella
19. Red-rumped parrot
20. Fan-tailed cuckoo
21. Laughing kookaburra
22. Superb fairy wren
23. Spotted pardalote
24. White-browed scrubwren
25. Striated thornbill
26. Brown thornbill
27. Red wattlebird
28. Little wattlebird
29. Noisy miner
30. White-plumed honeyeater
31. New Holland honeyeater
32. Eastern spinebill
33. Eastern yellow robin
34. Grey shrike-thrush
35. Grey fantail
36. Willie wagtail (have not seen this common urban bird for 4-5 years)
37. Magpie lark
38. Black-faced cuckoo-shrike
39. Grey butcherbird
40. Australian magpie (white-backed)
41. Pied currawong
42. Australian raven
43. Little raven (flying over)
44. House sparrow (now quite uncommon)
45. Welcome swallow
46. Silvereye
47. Song thrush
48. Common starling
49. Common myna
50. Common blackbird

The mammals I have been, by the way, include:

1. Grey-headed flying fox.
2. Ring-tailed possum.
3. Brush-tailed possum.


Anonymous said...

Fuzzflash sez...

Great to see your local avian species doing well, Harry. Don't garden yet but intend to do a bit after our next move. Madame Flash has cultivated the trust of half a dozen rainbow lorikeets(Broken Beak is her favourite) and they pop in for their "porridge" morning and dusk. Love their personalities, especially when they get off their scones on the umbrella tree nectar. The little clowns have had us in stitches.

Meanwhile, I wonder whether the visitor in your swimming pool will be better or worse off after the next election.

Sir Henry said...

Spotted an Indian mynah (Acridotheres tristis) in my backyard here at Forestville. I followed it to its roost (it was just on dusk) in a tree above the bus shelter on Warringah Rd. There i found two SIM cards and a snapshot of a block of flats.

These birds are dangerous pests.

hc said...

Errr...they are.

conrad said...

I was surprised at seeing the black cockatoo's in Melbourne when I can back after not living here for many years.

There are definitely a few masked lapwings (plovers) hanging around bayside -- you can hear them in the middle of the night quite often.

Its good to see you putting your pool to good use incidentally.

hc said...

The Yellow-tailed blacks I have heard for the past 4-5 years in pine trees about 2 km off. Now they regularly fly directly over my house. They are invading the northern suburbs from the Yarra parklands. I regularly also see them flying across the Eastern freeway.

We came home one day to find a Pacific black duck and 5 ducklings in our swimming pool. She must have hatched the eggs in our backyard unobserved.

Pacific black ducks and wood ducks often swim around our pool.

Lara said...

G'day Harry,

Just spotted, ah well first heard, a flock (aprox 1/2 dozen) yellow tailed black cockies circling around the Wantirna South area (where the new freeway is being constructed)this morning.
I am interested in unusual Aussie birds that come into our patch, and have never seen/ heard them in this area previously.
They are one of the most vocal of all the species that I have experienced, and it seemed that they were doing a "fly past" almost to show off!
Love to see them here, but regret that this may be due to their previous habitat being destroyed in the name of progress as the area just near here was formerly very heavily wooded with many old river gums slain in the freeway path.
Wonder if they will have to pay the tolls we will have to after Brackie's "regret" !!

hc said...

That could be right but, in my area, I think the rearrival of the YTBCs is due to reforestation along the Yarra. They don't mind living close to human settlements.

A stirring sight with their lumbering flight and errie calls.