Friday, 25 September 2015

Bird Life - from Iridescent Parrots to Invisible Wrens

Nearly 3 weeks with no discernable birdlife about the little nest in the old hat by the back door (below). J was castigating himself - leaving the light on, looking too closely (there was strong winds, too) - but 2 days ago we could hear a tiny, light chirrup through - unromantically I'm afraid - the open laundry window. (It would begin about 2 minutes after I'd stopped making any noise.)
Out to investigate and there's a (mature) head of a white-browed scrub-wren poking out: we have chicks!
Interestingly, while there was no attempt at hiding their nest-building, now I cannot see them darting out to feed; they are incredibly discreet. I think I was lucky to catch sight of one at all.
I am hoping these chicks grow to maturity - we discourage cats and dogs strongly from our property - and I wonder how many other nests we don't see. Certainly, in early spring, we often see birds collecting useful cobwebs from under our veranda. I know many people like to spray spiders (which I think is a pity) but certainly we have many (call me Morticia); I don't mind the webs too much and love the thought of them binding little nests together. Maybe I should plant some prickly shrubs, too - just what the little birds like, I believe, for nesting; but near the back of the borders.
Meanwhile visiting fairy wrens - the young male ones - have tails becoming more and more dark blue with these longer days; king parrots visit the vegetable patch; and crimson rosellas (top) visit more and more frequently - are there more of them? They loved the apple trees in fruit, they enjoy the edible patch, and today they are nipping off grass seeds; how lucky that I'm a lazy gardener and, at the moment, the `lawn' is unmown. 

Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria (


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