We awoke to mists yesterday morning, and I knew Autumn wasn’t far off. Yum. I love Autumn, such a gentle season. Although it’s still rather wet here, and my favourite Autumns are clear and mild.
After school and work one day earlier this week, Tarn and I got on the tyres again and played in the creek right below our house, riding the rapids under the Whian Whian bridge, battling like pirates in the wide, calm stretch before madly paddling our way to the side so as to escape the pull towards the Falls.
I was delighted to hear the burry chatter of Dollarbirds when we were down there. Three of them, perched on the tops of dead camphor laurels (poisoned by our rainforest regenerator expert neighbour Ralph Woodford). When their wings opened as they swooped for insects the two iridescent turquoise ‘dollar’ spots were clearly visible. Gorgeous. I had a friend in high school who rescued and tended a wounded one of them once. It used to ride around on his shoulder and snuggle up to his dreadlocks. Such a bold looking bird with its bright blue plumage and red-orange bill. They were a pirate-ish pair. It did leave him eventually, when it was healed fully. I wonder if these three are relatives of that one?
This is a great site – most of the pages have an audio file of the bird’s call. Listen here if you want to hear a Dollarbird: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Eurystomus-orientalis
Apparently (according to Pizzey & Knight’s field guide) Dollarbirds breed from Oct-Feb, so maybe these were three siblings, or maybe a parent pair with only one child (they usually have from 3-5 eggs). Dollarbirds remind me of Drongoes with their agile aerobatics and loud, metallic chatterings, and the way they are summer visitors. Drongoes are much more noticeably present, though – well, here at least. Tarn says the Dollarbirds are around much more at his dad’s place, which is a ridge property.
Another busy bird critter noticed this morning while chatting with my Mum in the shelter of her garden shed was one of these lovely beings:
Red-browed finches (my Mum calls them firetails but that’s officially another species) hang about in hosts. I say hosts rather than flocks because they’re almost insect-like in their tininess. They are spunky, cocky, ceaselessly entertaining little critters, often hanging around on or near our driveway. When they all startle and take off together there is a loud whir and hum of tiny wings. This one was trailing a long piece of grass behind it as it flew in swoops across the vegie garden to a native cypress beside the pond. I shall be keeping my eye on that branch, because there may be teeny tiny babies emerging from there soon!