Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Nature of Winter - frosts and birds

My "Side Garden" - full of weeds
Frost after frost. Crystal clear skies at night.

Oh for some pollution to wrap us in its comforting, and insulating blanket of smoke. (That's a joke, folks!)

We have had a series of heavy frosts, night after night, and they seem to be getting heavier. Today as I drove into Bowral, there was thick ice on all the puddles beside the road. I noticed other people's Tree Dahlias looking as burnt off as mine.

But when I came back home at lunchtime, there were flocks of small birds, (Brown Thornbills, Blue Wrens (Superb Fairy Wrens), White-browed Scrubwrens and Silvereyes flying around, having a lovely time, picking off the little insects amongst my young trees, in my "Side Garden" - see photo above. So, life goes on (and death too, if you follow my point) in the middle of a deep freeze.

Here is a photo of a male Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) which I snapped amongst the Sassafras Trees, down in the rainforest gully below my house. There were a lot of birds active there, today.

Incidentally, the Golden Whistler's Latin name means "Thick Head - with the chest". Thick Head was the old name for what we now call "Whistlers".

As I write, (1:45pm) there is still frost visible in the shady parts of my garden, and ice on water lying in the odd bucket or foam box around the property.

And this photo is of a Thornbill, showing what one normally sees in the tops of the trees - a dark shape, moving about.

This would generally be called a "Small Brown Bird". Such birds are best identified by call, but that requires some familiarity with them, unfortunately. Otherwise, patience, and quietness, and time spent standing in a suitable place, till you get a good look at the bird. You can listen to the call of the Brown Thornbill on the Lamington National Park site - go to Birds/Brown Thornbill. Click on the "ear" symbol to download the call, and listen to it. It is not very clear, but it is better than nothing.

No comments: