The recent evenings have been soft and gentle - almost how one imagines English summer evenings are.
Butterflies have been mobbing the Buddleja bush. This is what these bushes are famous for, hence the popular name "Butterfly Bush".
This butterfly is the "Yellow Admiral" - Vanessa itea
Quite literally is is common to see something approaching 50 Butterflies around one bush, at any one time. This is the "Australian Painted Lady" Butterfly (Vanessa kershawi)
Another plant which is in full flower is a cultivar of the Tea Tree (Leptospermum spectabile). This plant produces copious nectar from the floral disc. And its flowers attracts bees, beetles and hover flies.
Here you can see the green floral disc to which I have just referred. The petals are red, and the sepals creamy white. The stamens are very prominent, still holding their pollen (as yet unripe). The little brown "bags" on the ends of the stamens will open to release the pollen, once it is ripe (at "dehiscence" - the shedding of the pollen).
In my yard, King Parrots (Alisterus scapularis) are uncommon. They are around, but I seldom see them feeding in my place. The people of Robertson do spoil them, by offering "bird seed" (which I do not do). I feel it makes them too dependent on supplied food. I prefer to wait and on occasions, find a King Parrot doing some more natural feeding. This handsome male is in a planted Acacia decurrens (not a local plant, but a garden specimen). But the King Parrot has observed that the wattle has set seed, which is as close as can be to "natural" food for the Parrot.The Acacia seed pods are visible above the Parrot's head - as straight, slightly brown pods, with nodules (bumps) visible. Each bump represents a seed (as in a classic "Pea Pod" structure).
Having boasted about not providing "bird seed" for the King Parrots, I do give the birds an occasional piece of fruit. I was hoping to attract a Bower Bird (which I did), but the top of the line birds at this season are the Pied Currawongs (Strepera graculina). Within a few minutes of me leaving two small pears out on the feed table, the Currawongs were into them. The Bowerbird sat quietly by - an unusual occurrence.
I always "fix " the fruit onto a spike (a screw). The theory is that it prevents the fruit from rolling off the table, when the birds are pecking at it.
This bird outsmarted me. It grabbed the Pear by the stem, and lifed the fruit in a single attempt. It seemed surprised, for an instant, then it flew off into the bush carrying the Pear, closely followed by two nagging, squarking fledglings.
Notice the enormously powerful feet of the Currawong.
Next time I will cut the long stem off the Pear. I don't want to be outsmarted again. I did not see, but it is very likely the Bowerbird scooped up the remaining piece of the Pear. I hope so.
Here is one of the young Currawongs. Note the grey plumage and the yellow gape (the joint of the upper and lower mandibles of the beak). That is a residual feature of young "passerines" which grow a very wide gape when very young, to facilitate feeding by the parents when in the nest. Once they fledge, the soft tissue shrinks to normal hard beak tissue. This youngster's eyes are grey, not bright yellow.And just to set the scene of the "soft evening" there was a pastel sunset on the little pile of clouds out over Fitzroy Falls..On evenings like this I like to use the very droll Aussie expression:
"Ya wouldn't be dead for Quids".