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New AND surprising

February 23, 2014

olive backed oriole IMG_1138The reward of logging the daily visits of the furred and feathered to our birdbath is occasionally something new puts in an appearance. We classify these as either ‘new but not surprising’, which applies to creatures we know are in the area but they just haven’t bothered to visit, and ‘new AND surprising’ – first-time visitors we just would not expect to see.

In the former category is the Olive-backed Oriole (Oriolus sagittatus) (from the Latin word aureolus meaning golden and sagitta meaning arrow – referring to the arrow-like markings on the breast). It was photographed recently (above) during a long bout of high temperatures. The characteristic ‘orry, orry-ole’ call is common in the surrounding bush. The deep-pink bill and red eyes make it memorable.

Trash-talking with the Rosellas

Trash-talking with the Rosellas

In the category of ‘new AND surprising’, was the Australian Kestrel (click HERE to view post), which turned up at the bath during the same spell of hot weather. Last week, a visitor in the same category was a Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus), pictured right. The Sacred Kingfisher (previously featured, click HERE to view) is a common woodland bird but in our ten years on Junction Hill we had neither seen nor heard one. A close relative of the Laughing Kookaburra, it feeds on insects, fish, crustaceans, small rodents and reptiles.

IMG_0123On a more sobering note, the photo left shows a ‘new but UNFORTUNATELY not surprising’ visitor – a cat (Felis catus). It was just a matter of time before this night-time wildlife hotspot got some attention it didn’t need. Stay tuned for developments. When I catch the critter I am going to nail his tail to the wall. Is this a cat-ass-trophy? For the cat I guess it is.

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