I looked up at the tallest tree ahead at the edge of a small clearing in the forest, and there, bathed in glorious, golden afternoon light, was the Pacific Baza! I could have cried in elation, having gone in a split second from dejection to unbridled joy.
Every year during the long nights of winter, Eastern Barn Owls are known to frequent the paddocks around the Western Treatment Plant. The owls congregate to take advantage of the bounty of mice and other small prey that the freshly cut fields expose, and are very active in the first couple hours of darkness. One…
At the crack of dawn I met the volunteer guide from the Brookline Birding Club, and along with a dozen other eager birders, I braved the cold, damp conditions to find some lifers.
The number of birders visiting in subsequent days skyrocketed, with the presence of the birds being mentioned in the University newsletter. Over the next few weeks, hundreds of people – birders, locals, students, staff – were able to enjoy the spectacle of a rare bird calling their backyard home.
Finally, after almost 3hrs of waiting, a small flock of Diamond Doves flew in – success! Their red-ringed eyes were very apparent, and after a quick sip of water, they flew back to an overhanging branch, before disappearing into the bush. The entire interaction lasted about 20s – still, the 3hr wait was worth it!
It was clear that this was a stunning bird – its angel-like flight pattern of spreading it wings, its bone white feathers, its bright yellow talons, and its mesmerising stare.
Within five minutes and 100m of the office, a pair of Turquoise Parrots flushed from the floor, an Echidna waddled past us, and a Rainbow Bee-eater kept flying past hunting insects – it was all happening!
2017 was a busy year (aren’t they always?) so I didn’t get around to writing trip reports for every bird outing. That’s not to say that we didn’t do a respectable amount of birding though, because looking back at the photos, we had some fantastic experiences! Here is my promise to you, Constant Reader: shorter…