Spot the baby Tawny Frogmouth …

Fellow Sri Lanka traveller Esther has pointed out that the photo of the Tawny Frogmouth couple in my last post actually includes three Tawny Frogmouths.

I didn’t notice, and I took the photo!

It’s snuggled up to one of its parents on the left, and much clearer in this photo. Great camouflage and well spotted, thanks Esther.

It’s no larking matter …

This is what the edge of my pond usually looks like, all frog and insect friendly …

Frog Friendly

And this is what it looks like at the moment, a sloshy muddy mess, with the liner exposed.  Not an attractive sight.

And the cause? A pair of black and white birds usually called Magpie-larks or Pee Wees. These birds are also less commonly known as Mudlarks and guess what?  It’s Mudlark nesting season.

Unsurprisingly, they build their nests from grass and plant material stuck together with wet mud, and it only took me fifteen minutes of following their calls and tree checking to find the nest.

There was MY pond mud, on a branch fifteen metres up in a Paulownia tree!

No larking matter
Mudlark in the Paulownia tree


Mudlarks are diligent parents and quite territorial, with both taking turns to incubate the eggs and to keep a lookout for interlopers.  Towards the end of this video, you’ll hear the alarm being sounded by the on-duty parent.

Now I’m quite fond of wildlife, but this means that I’m going to have to crawl along the edge of the frog pond and reconstruct it, which peeves me more than a bit.  Even though in the process of searching for the Mudlarks,  I found the new roosting spot of the Tawny Frogmouth couple who used to live under a banana leaf nearer the house.

We’re still here!



The rather annoying Wonga pigeon …

It’s early morning and I’ve been sitting here listening to a native Wonga pigeon go on, and on, and on …

It’s a very pretty bird, plump, beautifully marked and quite shy, but it has one of the most annoying calls of any Australian bird. It can be heard up to two kilometres away and can continue for hours!

DSC_0457 (1280x853)

I’m wondering if the one I can hear is the same pigeon that has taken to parading backwards and forwards outside my bathroom window.  My bathroom has large windows and no curtains so I enjoy a lovely view of the surrounding bush and wildlife while showering.  I suspect that the pigeon is not actually interested in my ablutions, rather it can see its own reflection and is putting on a mating display.

Wonga putting on a mating display
Wonga putting on a mating display

Whilst searching for information on the Wonga pigeon, I discovered that the early settlers considered them a delicacy and often used to serve them roasted and basted in lemon butter with a bread sauce.  One of Australia’s first cookbook writers Mrs Hannah MacLurcan published a recipe in 1898 …

Now I don’t wish this pigeon any harm, but it does sound rather delicious.
So Wonga pigeons should perhaps consider a new tune !

At last … the elusive Catbird !

They’ve been taunting me with their cat-like calls from the tops of tall trees for weeks, but today was my lucky day!  Forty minutes of sitting still with a cramp in my hip and mosquitos biting me through my clothes and I finally had a photo of a Green Catbird …

He seemed quite aware of my presence as he kept looking in my direction and cocking his head but providing I didn’t move, he seemed quite relaxed.  Another photo for the Bird Gallery.