It’s been a while now since I wrote my post about the Top 10 Australian Birds, picked because they are closely associated with Australia rather than because of their rarity. So, how many have I seen, how often do I see them and whereabouts?
Galah: It’s hard to describe quite how many I see, a bit like pigeons in the middle of London. On their own, in pairs, in huge flocks. In the park, on sports fields or at the shopping centre, I always see galahs, and they usually manage to make me smile. Very bright and cheerful, cheeky birds.
Kookaburra: I see and hear a kookaburra maybe every few weeks. Usually in one of the parks near a lake. And often in the gum tree, just like the song said it would. Its laugh is fantastic to hear.
Emu: I’ve seen several emus, and they’ve all been away from home in slightly less built-up areas or in the middle of nowhere. They seem quite happy to be photographed but I’m careful not to get too close in case one decides it might like to kick me. Definitely keeping a clear distance. They really are huge. If we see one I still insist that we park the car so I can get out and have a closer look the novelty hasn’t warned off yet.
Bowerbird: You may have noticed, but no picture yet. I haven’t seen a bowerbird yet, but I hadn’t really expected to. The good news is though that I’ve found out that they do live in WA and possibly only a couple of hours away from where I live, so seeing one isn’t completely impossible.
Rainbow Lorikeet: Possibly the most colourful bird I have seen and they always make me smile. I see them most days in parks, on housing estates or by the road. However, I have mixed feelings since discovering that they aren’t native to this area and can be a major pest and do a great deal of damage. They are also squeezing out native birds. Sadly similar problems occur in most countries now and similar dilemmas are faced regarding their control with no easy answer.
Black Swan: Beautiful, graceful and rather feisty be warned, especially around cygnets! I can see them just about anywhere where there’s a lake. There must be at least 25 pairs on Lake Joondalup now, many raising their families.
Pelican: It took me a while to see these, and even longer to get a good photo, but I’ve seen quite a few now. There are some areas where I can guarantee to see them (e.g. massive colony near Penguin Island) and other places, such as nearby lakes, where they are occasional visitors. I still compare them to their cartoon counterparts though as they are so comical.
Penguin: Cute, cute, cute. Not surprisingly, the best place to see one is Penguin Island. During moulting, they can be seen all over the island as they can’t swim while they are waiting for their new feathers to grow. During the rest of the year, they can be seen in the visitor centre on the island. They have several penguins, like the one opposite, who would not be able to fend for themselves in the wild. Some have been rescued when injured, some were hand-raised orphans. Sometimes the rescue penguins breed there and the young go to other zoos or wildlife parks.
Fairy Wren: I saw plenty of these in the first six months here, but they all looked the same to me. Not just males and females, but the different types of fairy-wren too. It wasn’t until the breeding season that they really came into their own, with all the males putting on a spectacular show. I’ve seen all 4 local variations over the past couple of months and it’s been a real treat. I wonder how much longer they’ll keep their fantastic colours before they all look the same again.
Honeyeater: The honey-eater made it onto my original list because of the number of different sorts that you can see here. I’ve seen several different ones, but this is probably the one I see most often. There are several pairs of white-cheeked honey-eaters in my local park who I see most days. It didn’t take long to learn which trees I would see them singing in. I now have a new honeyeater who has arrived in my garden and likes to perch in the pomegranite tree. I was surprised to find that I hadn’t already written a post on them, so I feel one is imminent. They certainly warrant one.