Monday, 17 March 2008

Birding at the Arboretum I

Friday's north wind lifted so much dust into the air that I didn't dare take photos for fear of having the camera lens etched. Saturday morning, a different problem — fog shrouded the road between Heywood and Condah and half way up to Coleraine. That meant I couldn't check out the paddocks and dams while I drove but the fog melted away about mid-morning and the day turned muggy and overcast. Even so, Saturday's 30C beat Friday's 40C. No contest.

Although late summer isn't a big flowering time for eucalypts, at the Points Arboretum the Western Australian marri (Corymbia calophylla) were covered in white blossoms. The blossoms in turn were heavy with bees, purple-crowned lorikeets and New Holland honeyeaters. There's no need to ask for directions because you can hear the trees from the gate.

The biggest marri was filled with lorikeets, all talking with their beaks full. Australia is home to half a dozen species of lorikeets. (Rainbow and musk lorikeets are common around home.) They all call with whistles and shrieks. With a bit of experience, you can tell them apart on pitch alone. Purple-crowned lorikeets (Glossopsitta porphyrocephala) are at the melodious end of the range.

Like all lorikeets, they're very active. I was lucky to get these pictures because they weave in and out of the leaves, draining the nectar before the bees and honeyeaters get to it. At first they were concerned about my presence but after a short while the joy of feeding overcame the fear of the human with the ridiculously large camera lens.

Nom nom nom.

Earlier posts about the Points Arboretum are here (lots of plant photos) and here (not so many plant photos).

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