Most folk refer to these big birds as crows, but it is in fact a Raven – Corvus coronoides. It is a passerine member of the Crow family - large, impressive and vicious looking with it’s bright eye and gleaming plumage. This one has begun to appear when I feed the smaller native birds, and bullies them out of the way. Ravens eat anything from plants and seed to other animals or carrion and it looks like this one has been doing just that from the dried blood around it’s beak. Much more cautious than the other garden birds who are used to me being around, I happened to be photographing my friendly Currawong when this one landed in the tree nearby to steal what it could.
I occasionally feed seed eating native birds during winter, and today took advantage of another dry day and a borrowed 300mm Sigma lens to capture some of these beautiful Crimson Rosellas (Platycercus elegans) in my back yard. They are very common in this area, and although gorgeous to look at, they are also very destructive, eating new shoots on roses, buds on flowering fruit trees, and of course fruit during summer. This was a small group of about seven birds who took turns to feed while others waited in the nearby tree.
Look what I saw near my front gate this morning!
I do so love these birds…..
Canon 550D with 70 – 200mm lens
These were all taken around home where the birds are getting busy to mate and nest. The first shot is of two male Crimson Rosellas that were bickering over a female, who was ignoring them and eating seed on the ground – sensible lady! I’m delighted that I have seen two Eastern Yellow Robins in the garden which hopefully will mean there might be more around next year. I have also seen a pair of Flame Robins, but unfortunately I did not have the camera ready. I hope they fly by again soon.
Rain again today, and we are in for another wet week. Ventured out and about the garden between showers, took heaps of lousy pictures but kept these few, starting with Maggie my Blue Merle Collie.
Kim’s prompt for Texture Tuesday this week was ‘Natural”…..seeing most of my photography is taken from nature, this was not difficult. This photo was taken about a year ago, but still is contemporary as these birds are common in some areas near here, though I rarely have them in the garden.
I should probably paraphrase this, but seems fine as it is and is far quicker to use the original, so this long quote is from the Australian National Dictionary Centre at the ANEU in Canberra:-
“The word galah is a borrowing into Australian English from the Aboriginal Yuwaalaraay language of northern New South Wales. In early records it is variously spelt as galar, gillar, gulah, etc. It is first recorded in 1862 in J. McKinlay’s Journal of Exploration in the Interior of Australia: `A vast number of gulahs, curellas, macaws… here’. The bird referred to is the grey-backed, pink-breasted cockatoo Eolophus roseicapillus, occurring in all parts of Australia except the extreme north-east and south-west. It is also known as the red-breasted cockatoo and rose-breasted cockatoo.
Some early settlers use the galah as food. In 1902 the Truth newspaper reports: ‘The sunburnt residents of at that God-forsaken outpost of civilisation were subsisting on stewed galah and curried crow’. Some writers report that galah pie was a popular outback dish.
The galah, which usually appears in a large flock, has a raucous call, and it was perhaps this trait which produced the term galah session for a period allocated for private conversation, especially between women on isolated stations, over an outback radio network. F. Flynn in Northern Gateway (1963) writes: ‘The women’s radio hour, held regularly night and morning and referred to everywhere as the ‘Galah Session’. It is a special time set aside for lonely station women to chat on whatever subject they like’. More generally, a galah session is ‘a long chat’ – A. Garve, Boomerang (1969): ‘For hours the three men chatted… It was Dawes who said at last, “I reckon this galah session’s gone on long enough”.’
Very commonly in Australian English galah is used to refer to a fool or idiot. A.R. Marshall and R. Drysdale in Journey among Men (1962), suggest that this sense of galah may have a non-Australian origin: ‘A clue to the possible origin of the slang usage of ‘galah’. In Malaya gila (pronounced gee-lah) means mad; hence orang gila, a madman’. But this explanation has not been accepted, and the Australian meaning must be a transfer from the bird, no doubt incorporating a judgment about the relative intelligence of the bird. The following citations give an indication of how the term is used:
1951 E. Lambert, Twenty Thousand Thieves: ‘Yair, and I got better ideas than some of the galahs that give us our orders’.
1960 R.S. Porteous, Cattleman: ‘The bloke on the other end of the line is only some useless galah tryin’ to sell a new brand of dip’.
1971 J. O’Grady, Aussie Etiket: ‘You would be the greatest bloody galah this side of the rabbit-proof fence’.
From this sense arise a number of colloquial idioms. To be mad as a gum-tree full of galahs is to be completely crazy. To make a proper galah of oneself is to make a complete fool of oneself. A pack of galahs is a group of contemptibly idiotic people.”
There is a dearth of good photo subjects in my garden at the moment – it’s mid winter, cold, mostly wet, no flowers, few insects……but today I found a frog!
I think it is a Litoria ewingii, or Brown Tree Frog (despite finding it under a log) and it measured only about 3 cms from nose to tail. There are at least 36 different frogs listed as occurring in Victoria and many of them look similar, while even in their own species there can be a wide variation in colour and marking. There is an excellent key to identification of frogs here which I have checked, and I’m also going to try and get some external help from someone who is a froggy expert, so there may be more later.
P.S This is a quote from the advice I was given as to the identity of this frog – “the toe pads mean it can’t be anything but a tree frog and that means Litoria. The dark patch on the back makes it ewingii.” So it seems I was correct.
It’s nice to be shooting with my 100mm macro lens again!
As I opened my curtains this morning, this is what I saw on the front grass.
These are not brilliant photos due to the poor light, but are a good record. I think this muscly male is relatively young, but quite large – probably over five feet tall when standing upright, and in very good condition. Kangaroos often come through my property as there is a mob of over 20 which live in the vicinity, and one can see them grazing in the nearby paddocks. Usually they come through at night and one only sees fresh roo poo to indicate they have been here. This one was alone, the dogs did not see it so no barking, and I was able to sneak out the door without it moving on, which was surprising as they usually startle and hop away at the slightest noise. I was about 10 metres from it, but to go any closer would have been unwise as they can be dangerous if threatened.