A few feathered friends

Gardens are one of the places that can bring so much pleasure and delight not just for the humans. The garden that I have created is always evolving as trees planted by my partner grow and spread. The rainfall or lack of. The garden that surrounds my home is a place for nature. I plant to encourage bird life. I ensure that there is water at different levels and flowers in every season if possible. It seems I am very rarely without birds and their songs in the garden.

Welcome Swallow possibly a juvinelle

These small birds live all over Australia even seen flying between city buildings, from the desert to the sea. They got there name because sailors noted them as they flew about the sea indicating that land was not far. Or as a sign of Spring (Imbolc) returning as I read in another site.
They build mud nests under bridges, walls of buildings, verticle rock walls the nest is a snug lined with fur and feathers. Both parents build the nest.
They are aerial acrobats swooping and turning as they chase insects that are their food source. A variety of insects are eaten. The insect is guided into the bird’s wide, open mouth with the help of short rictal bristles bordering the bill. These bristles also help protect the bird’s eye.
I often sit out and watch them flying about my place. I have lived here a long time and have never had a nest built on the house. I would love one. (many people would think I am crazy).

New England Honey Eater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)

These striking little birds are hard to miss but they are easy to confuse with another bird. The White-cheeked Honeyeater is about the same size and has similar colouring to the New Holland Honeyeater. If the bird has the white eye it is the New Holland Honeyeater.
After the Dutch navigators charted the northern, western and southern coasts of Australia during the 17th Century this newly found continent became known as ‘New Holland’ These little birds are named New Holland from this name.

New Holland Honeyeaters are active feeders.They mostly eat the nectar of flowers, and busily dart from flower to flower in search of this high-energy food. Other food items include fruit, insects and spiders. Birds may feed alone, but normally gather in quite large groups. Most feeding takes place in lower areas of bushes and thickets

The long, curved beak these honeyeaters have are perfect for reaching deep into a flower to get to the sweet nectar inside.

These birds get their name from the first name given to Australia (New Holland). It was called New Holland because the Dutch were the first Europeans to visit here.

New Holland Honeyeaters have two breeding peaks, in summer and winter, when they build two different nest types. Their winter nest is built at the top of a bush facing the northern sun to keep it warm. In summer they build their nest deep in the bush away from the heat and the sun.

Striated Pardolte (Pardalotus striatus)

The Striated Pardalote can be found throughout much of Australia, and across this range there are numerous populations and subspecies. Despite being tiny birds, some populations undertake remarkable migratory movements, while others remain in the same area throughout the year. In some populations, some of the birds migrate while others remain behind. Clearly, the movements of the Striated Pardalote are complex. The best-known migratory population breeds in Tasmania and makes regular seasonal movements across Bass Strait, where they mix with various mainland-breeding populations.

Striated Pardalotes feed in the foliage in the tops of trees, although occasionally coming close to the ground in low shrubs. They eat a wide variety of insects and their larvae, which are usually captured by picking them from the surfaces of leaves. Feeding takes place in small groups and birds maintain contact with soft trills.

During breeding season, Striated Pardalotes form pairs or small groups of up to six birds. The nest is constructed close to the ground, usually in a tree hollow or tunnel, excavated in an earthen bank; small openings in human-made objects are frequently used. The birds display regularly at the entrance to the nesting chamber, and vigorously guard the vicinity against other pardalotes. Both sexes incubate and care for the young birds. Other members of the group may also help with the feeding of the young.

These are just three of the visitors to my garden. I am so fortunate and keep planting to attract more birdlife, bees, butterflies and dragonflies. Along with the wallabies, bancicoots, quolls and the tasmania devils who I heard fighting last night on the old dam wall. The possums that chase each other over my metal roof during mating season, and the one that makes Busby bark in the wee small hours of the night waking me in fright. I certainly can not forget the wonder of having an echidna or two that roams across my paddock and garden. How wonderful to have and be creating such a home for us all. To live in harmony.

I will be woken in the morning with no alarm clock but the sweet sounds of so many birds hopefully not demanding me to fill the water bowl…(just checked it and it is full).

I am thankful to have these wonderful birds feel welcome in the garden. Mother earth is so wonderful if you plant the things the birds and animals enjoy, they will come.

Blessings to you all Tazzie

Happy Birdday to me!

I am sitting writing with a full tummy. My dogs are snoozing near me one at my feet the other on her chair next to me. I feel like a cup of mint tea. I need to go to my deck and pick some mint. I get up and both dogs raise their heads, looking at me tails wagging..I am just going to the deck to get some mint, I tell them. I know they don’t understand the words necessarily just that I am going. So I open the door and the three of us step outside onto the deck.

Something made me think to check the bird bath, so we all go down the stairs, and sure enough the bird bath needs filling. Busby goes of in search of something, and Miss Treacle uses the extensive amenities provided for ablutions. As I fill the bird bath I notice I have left the vegie garden gate open after I watered this morning

last of the Anzac peaches 16/01/2020 (c)Echidna Home 2020

I picked the last of the peaches off my tree, the birds have been eating them so I left some for them and more for me. I tried to dry some but not sure what went wrong. Perhaps cling stones are not supposed to be dehydrated. Might try again.

Oh No it is 7pm and I have already seen a wallaby eating some of the peaches on the ground. I go over look in and make sure no little furry creatures are hiding in my vegetable garden waiting for a table for one, when the stars come out to dine on exquisite fresh locally grown seasonal organic vegetables. It is clear of waiting diner/s, I close the gate gather the dogs and we all head back inside.


Living at 42degrees South of the equator means with daylight saving added the sun does not actually set until 20:50 so it is still blue sky and sunshine as I type. It has been cooler today one of my friends commented she had her wood fire on. It was not cold enough here for that but I did have a jumper and ugg boots on. The joys of living here in the Huon Valley in summer are stunning evenings, long twilight’s and often stunning sunsets. The smoke has all gone and we have had some rain. My garden and water tanks are happy about that.


I was thrilled to see the Grey Shrike Thrush birds have returned to my light fitting in the carport to nest again. I do worry that it is a very precarious spot. I had meant to make sure that it was safe wired so if they did return they were not at risk of the base separating from the top. It is on my list. Fingers cross that they raise chicks and all fly the nest. In researching them I know that they steal eggs eating them from other birds..but so do many other birds, kookaburras will eat the chicks, ravens, crows. I imagine if I removed the nest they would build another. I like that they feel safe here.

When I was out yesterday I also captured some birds along the riverside. I saw a workman, well four sitting at the park having their lunch break. I had decided to stop and take some shots of the ducks.(they are so lovely) I sat in the shade of a tree and watched as one of the workmen went back to the truck I noticed all the ducks turned to watch him and see what he was doing. It was really funny they were in almost exact sync.

watching and walking behind the man

I can only think that it was not the first time this group had stopped here. As I watched the ducks followed the man to the table where his colleagues were eating. I watched as he began to feed the ducks.

It was charming and made me again acknowledge there are many more wonderful people in the world than unpleasant people. I was sad to see only one duckling. If it was the same group that I saw last week there had been three ducklings swimming behind Mamma.

Further along on my way home, I came across a sight of interest, as I said it was cool and smokey yesterday. (again I apologise for the quality of the images, they were taken as Tiff(NEF)) photos and I altered them to be JPEGS so some things lost in the transition. I am working on how to stop this.

ducks a shag and plovers all sharing the one log roost.

This photo was of different breeds of birds all sitting on the log ducks, shag, and plovers. It was windy.

Black swan and cygnets.

The bird below is a Little Pied Cormorant colloquially called a Shag, it was struggling to hold onto its perch. Not sure if it was the wind or just a wobbly bird. They nearly always have such a grumpy look on their faces.

Little Pied Cormorant (c) Echidna Home 2020
Little Pied Cormorant (c) Echidna Home 2020
Little Pied Cormorant (c) Echidna Home 2020
Little Pied Cormorant (c) Echidna Home 2020

All in all it has been a hectic couple of days and it was lovely to be home all day today.

Tazzie blessings to you all.

Thankful for…

I was up very early this morning and watched the sky fill with a soft pink as the sun rose. It was warming up rapidly. I made myself a coffee and remembered I needed to check that the birdbath was full. I looked and noticed it needed a top up. I saw a movement over near my peach tree. AHHAHHAH! caught the culprit!

My peach trees lower branches had been stripped of the leaves, and in the process peaches have been knocked off. Here it was stretched up on its hind legs as high as it could reach! I slowly moved and went back in to grab my camera. Hoping the culprit would be still nibbling away upon my return. Sadly it moved (I had a bright blue t shirt on so Im not surprised I was noticed), I was able to capture this little guy. I do not begrudge he or her a nibble and know the tree is older and stronger, the branches are not as easily broken. There are enough peaches to share. The birds and possums eat the fallen ones.

the guilty party…

I was just getting ready to head in to town. I had to pick up a couple of things and I decided that I would take the dogs for a swim. I was inside and my dogs were out when I hear barking. The kind that says Hey we are protecting you from this very dangerous thing! There was something in the shrubbery on my driveway.

Busby

It was the echidna, baled up by both Busby and Miss Treacle. I moved them away, and watched as this wee guy left in quite a hurry. I do hope she/he had a trouble free day after we left.

I then noticed that this wee bird flew out of my car port light shade, there was a nest made in it last year. Though if they are nesting it seems very late. It is a sweet bird and I welcome it. I do find it hard when they are so nervous but understandable. Several neighbours in the area have cats that are allowed to roam and we also have an issue with feral cats. I am not happy about the fact the cats come over my way. When I see any or the dogs do, I happily let them chase them away.


A very full morning and it is not even 8:30 yet.

So we head off to do our walk. We got a bit waylaid(sadly I did not take my camera out of the car) our neighbour was throwing balls in their paddock for their two dogs to chase. Needless to say my guys had to join in. So we chatted as the dogs chased balls and played with each other. (Her dogs are a staffie kelpie, who is fixated on his own ball and his brother a boxer) Busby ran and got the ball and played with the boxer Miss Treacle said hello to everyone and then went and sat under the car in the shade. After about an hour I put Busby in the car (he was so hot he had drinks ) and Miss Treacle ran reluctantly ahead. Busby was whining to get out. So I gave in and they took off.

Dogs taken for their walk and a beautiful view from the hill.

Off too the beach! The folk festival has finished there are still lots of people and vehicles about. I discovered that an Aboriginal festival is happening for Monday and Tuesday Ballawinne Festival. Writer Bruce Pascoe book, Dark Emu Bruce was speaking tonight and tomorrow I am sure they will be very interesting event.

Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the ‘hunter-gatherer’ tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early explorers that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required. http://www.magabala.com/products/dark-emu


Not that I could afford to go to it, yet it would be a very interesting event. I am sure I will know someone who has been. Well now that explains why there are so many people and vehicle still around.

OK no Seriously we are off to the beach NOW,
It was such a glorious hot day 32dC there were people and dogs at the little beach I went to. So Busby and Miss Treacle had a lovely time. Though neither were that excited to go in for a swim.

These two came up and wanted to play Busby loved it Miss Treacle was quite her own dog and chose to watch from the shade.

The following selection of photos shows what a great day it was, and how clean the water is. It is also showing my reluctant boy attempting to fetch a stick. I was quite mortified at his reluctance.
I did have to apologise to him when I went in to swim a bit later as there were two areas of like quicksand in the shallows. I sank up to my knees and struggled to get out. So no wonder my big boy had problems.

Miss Treacle does the beach her way today.

Whilst Busby would like to run with this guy in the water, but his day has been full of play runs and sunshine, I was happy that he did not join in, that he just watched in awe.

The dog in the water was so funny to watch he must be some kind of water dog. He just ran up and down in the water for so long while we stood watching. He just raced up and down having the time of his life.
His owner was not about but up at a car. The dog did not even stop to come and say hi to my guys. He was just in heaven in his own world.

He was no problem and boy did he make me smile and chuckle.

There were kids playing on the fallen tree. Swinging is not so much fun when the tide is going out. How wonderful to see them without a phone, taking photos or selfies. In fact no one (apart from me had any mobiles or cameras. How rare is that . All were in the moment enjoying the here and now. Using their brains to retain the feelings, the fun and all that will stay with them. That is what living is about.

Even I put my camera down and sat in the water, the waves coming over my thighs. Looking all about me and knowing how fortunate am I and how rich.
I went for a swim, so refreshing. I expected that Busby would join me, but no they both just sat in the shade. Not even watching me.

So much fun about floating on inflatable rings with a beer in your hand, sailing, canoeing, fishing, sitting in the sun, swimming, chasing each other or just kicking your paws up and making your own kind of fun!

Miss Treacle at 12 lets the youngsters carry on. Preferring to get to know other folk and tell them how abused and neglected she is. Here she just plonked her wet body (I had sat in the water with her on my lap…shoulders as she did not want to be in the water it was very shallow and cooled her down as she was very hot). on this lovely ladies mat. Leaning right against her. Knowing there is a wee 11 week old puppy there. Treacle loves puppies.

Poor pup was very anxious so I retrieved my girl, and my boy and we headed home. All that time in the sunshine fresh air and playtime. Dinner was early and they have both crashed, and I can hear only heavy breathing and snoring.

I too feel weary and very relaxed. I know I need to do more for myself in the way of exercise and things I enjoy. I was glad there were very few people at the beach. As otherwise I probably would have not stopped. I usually do not venture to this beach while school holidays are on, and there is still another 2 weeks before school resumes. Then the chances are it will be just us at the beach.
I do like that at least now I really do know what is best for me. I am listening to my self, and I talk to myself. I talk to my inner child. (another topic for another day) It all helps me to reduce the potential for being caught out by something that might trigger me. So a truely awesome day. What more can you want but wild animals feeling at home in your garden. A beautiful hot clear sky day. Pristine water and beach to swim at and hardy anyone on it. I am so thankful and appreciative of all I have especially my two companions.

blessings to you all Tazzie

Its not just echidnas, what if

Bennets wallaby near my house (c)Echidna Home 2019

This little guy just looked so happy chewing away. It was almost as if it posed for me. It is a Pademelon (Paddy melon) They only grow to about 60cm and weigh about 5kg (enough of the lessons).

I am so privileged to have them visit my place. I used to get annoyed when they would pull the fruit tree branches down and nibble the leaves breaking them, but the trees grew taller, and they couldn’t reach any more.

Kookaburra in my garden (c) Echidna Home 2019

I know it seems a bit surreal to me too. I really live with these guys about too.

I also have Eastern Barred Bandicoots, Quolls, and Tasmanian Devils around. Much harder to obtain photos of these guys I keep trying.

This Echidna was moving along the roadside near my home. (c)Echidna Home 2019
shuffling about under the watttles, looking for food. (c)Echidna Home 2019

My favourite remains the Echidna.

The echidna on the right was across the road from my driveway. They can actually move surprisingly fast.








A shuffling snuffling echidna on the hunt for food crossing through my wattle grove.

Close up of the quills. (c)Echinda Home 2019

Easy access to the next paddock. Through the fence. I am sure it is because it has smelt me or heard me as I try to capture its photo. sigh. I never want to frighten it. I was using a telephoto lens, I reckon it heard me moving about. It decided that heading through the fence was its only option.

Through the fence (c)Echidna Home 2019
If you look you can just make out this guys foot, it looks strange as it faces backwards. (c)Echidna Home 2019
Hiding (c)Echidna Home 2019

As I have written before Echidnas are just amazing and unique mammals. I love th above photo as it shows how well their camouflage is. It looks like sunshine is hitting the grass but its the quills, and you can see its eye.

As I write this the horrific Mainland Bush Fires on the mainland of Australia and Kangaroo Island have cost so many Australian animals, insects bugs, it breaks my heart. I look at the wonderful wildlife that abounds my home and I cant imagine them all gone. The overwhelming knowledge that some may be gone forever. There are so many wonderful people who are out there working to find and help, the wild life carers, the firepeople and vets, farmers, those who are ensuring food and water are left and hoping to capture injured animals to help. The generosity of people all around the world, those that are making pouches and wraps..donated items food and are out gathering leaves and shoots for animals that have none in their locations. The baby wombats who have come out of burrows starving as mum has most likely been killed and not been back to the burrow. It is so so tragic. Of course my heart reaches out to all the people and communities impacted.

Tazzie

Garden Update

(c)Echidna Home 2020 Bumble bee came to sit near me as I was weeding in one of my veggie beds

The bumble bees were certainly out in force this morning when the dogs and I decided to get out in the garden. A bit of weeding and checking if the veggie beds needed watering. At present they are all OK, a job for tomorrow I think in the morning. All the ollas have water still in them, and the soil is still damp when I push my finger in near the plants furthermost from the ollas.

As I settled in to weed the birds that come to my birdbath and live in the garden and surrounding area, were singing, and chasing bugs. I watched mesmerised as the Weclome swallows swooped and dove one scared Busby it flew right over his head. The wrens were hoping about and sitting on the fence waiting for me to move so they could come and see what I had been doing and check for any tidbits I might have uncovered. Unlike the black birds who just come along mainly after I water and shift all my mulch and labels about. I don’t think I really mind. Lovely to have the music of nature as an accompaniment to your work.

(c)Echidna Home 2020 Another bumble bee on a leek flower.

I had placed news paper down and was going to lay my free wood chips from the company clearing the power lines. So there is a wonderful mix of all sorts of timber, leaves, bark, chopped up in it. Like many things for me if I really do not focus on something, I do some and get distracted there bye not completing the whole job. So the news papers I laid down to cover the weeds and grass has blown about in the wind we had yesterday afternoon and last night. I am not going to fret about it as I will be able to get more newspapers from my local library to lay down and cover to form paths.

(c)Echidna Home 2020 Three sisters bed is taking off finally.

I am so thrilled that the Three sisters bed is taking off. I actually picked a bean and ate it. It was a bit of impulse that I should have refrained from as it was very small and well a day or two longer and it would have been great.

(c)Echidna Home 2020 oh joy the corn, beans and pumpkins are looking great.

Everything seems to be happy with the weather. I had to add some more climbing bean strings as there are so many tendrils they were all entangling themselves along the ground. I sat and sorted them out, winding them up the strings. The corn is growing but it seems somewhat slowly. Any ideas how I can get it taller My pumpkins which are butternuts have begun spreading. Yeah one bed of possibilities.

(c)Echidna Home 2020 Busby came to help out in the veggie garden by chasing the skinks about

Miss Treacle was off doing her own thing. Busby came in to see how he could help me in the veggie garden. He decided that chasing the skinks was the order of his work to help. As long as its skinks and not snakes all is fine. They are way too clever for him.

(c)Echidna Home 2020 Tomatoes the one in foreground has little tomatoes on it. Lettuces growing and capsicum far right corner getting taller.

Both the tomato plants in this bed are flowering and if you look closely you may even see some tiny green tomatoes. Lettuces good and capsicums look as if they just might shoot up. The marigold in the corner has taken off and is flowering. I put it in here to help with bringing in the bees and insects, to help with pollination.

(c)Echidna Home 2020 look closely you will see a tiny tomato or two
(c)Echidna Home 2020 I did not include the brassica bed last time.

I forgot on the previous update to show the brassica bed. It seems the cabbages have been eaten or turned up their toes. Not one out of the four I put in is to be found. The broccoli is shooting and getting tall. Even my nettting did not stop the cursed white caterpillar moth laying eggs on them. Since my garden is small I prefer to remove the caterpillars by hand. Kale in the far left corner and silver beet in the right corner I left them there to attract the moths. Ah but no!!

(c)Echidna Home 2020 destruction and can you see the culprit hanging below

My method for removing the caterpillars is to run my finger over every part of the plant, looking in every nook and cranny. Often as I am doing this I will see caterpillars drop and hang underneath as in the photo above. I just catch them and squish them in my fingers. I continue looking as not all will drop off. It can be really hard to see the little blighters.

(c)Echidna Home 2020 my hand with a young caterpillar from the white cabbage moth

Especially when they are first hatched. This one is pale yellow but as they grow from eating your lovely green leaves they become big green ones. They can be really hard to see on the green stems and leaves. Which is why I don’t just look but run my fingers over every leaf and into the new leaves forming, where ever a wee caterpillar might hide.

(c)Echidna Home 2020 This is a large rwhite cabbage moth caterpillar sadly about to meet its end.

This caterpillar above is larger than the previous one and is more green. We know why that is! So i squish them all. I then cover the plants with my net and fingers crossed I have removed all of these. I will check tomorrow.

(c)Echidna Home 2020 A stunning flower. No idea what it is







If anyone can tell me what this flower is and the plant it is growing on. I was sure it was a vegetable. I thought it was one of the plants I bought home from Crop Swap. Incredible flowers.

It was a pleasant morning in the garden. Miss Treacle came in and sat next to me panting, as if to say come on its too hot out here, I need a nice cool drink and comfy chair to lay in, in the cool inside of the house. She leaned right into me and that was not enough for her. Oh no she likes to make her point. She climbed up onto my lap, and than looked up with her big brown soulful eyes, and looked directly in my eyes. Whats a good dog mamma to do?

t(c)Echidna Home 2020elling me its time to go in way to hot now

The only thing. Inside we went. All three of us. I did a load of washing and hung it out. Such great drying weather. There is nothing I like more than having a shower and going to bed in fresh clean sheets dried by the sun. I hung all our doonas over the rails of the upstairs deck. I will feel so amazing hoping into the sun scented sheets. It makes me feel rich.

Tazzie

A little Cocky heading into 2020

Sulpher Crested Cockatoo (c) Echidna Home (2019)

Cockatoos or Cockys/Cockies (coll) are intelligent, cheeky, loud, destructive to trees (some folk feel) and so funny to watch at times, they have a very funny walk. They are a bit similar to humans who have a preferred hand; they have a preferred’ footness’, but it seems from research most are more left footed. Adaptable birds they survive in both cities and the bush. They dine on berries, nuts, seeds and roots.

My Poppy(grandfather) had a pet Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita). It had a large cage but only went in it to eat or when it was a bit nervous, say if my cousins bought their dog over with them. He was called Cocky and my Poppy had taught him to speak. He could say all the usual “Hello Cocky” and “who is a pretty bird”. He would scream “feed me, feed me” when anyone was near by with food. He loved a scratch on his head, and would say oh “darl give us a scratch”. My Pop used to ask my Grandma for a scratch of his back every evening in this manner. As I said he was never in his cage and his wings were not clipped. My Poppy did not do that with any of his birds.

Poppy had been a rabbiter as a job in the bush, and my Dad and his four siblings and their Mum (Grandma) all lived in a tent. Summer and winter. They were very poor. My Pop just was wild about Australian native animals and birds, he loved the bush . He taught me so much.

Back to Cocky he would sit about on the furniture, and go outside whenever Pop did. Cocky would go flying and return home, he would not be gone long usually he would get frightened by other birds.

My Pop had found him when he was a chick. Most likely fell out of the nest in a hollow in the tree. My Pop could not climb trees he had scurvy when he was little. You could drive a bus through his legs. He also knew that a cat would get the chick pretty quick in the area he found it. If he had left the chick on the ground. No parent was in sight nor squawking about the chick. So he took him home and hand rared him. Cocky adored Pop.

Male Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo (c) Echidna Home 2019 (male because black ring around his eye females are reddish pink)

The black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus) about here love the pine cones. You can see sap all over this ones beak. It is not uncommon for people to park their cars under pine trees to keep them cool and have pine cones that the cockys are finished with drop onto the car, damaging them or smashing the windscreen. Both birds have an amazing scrreeeech I have thought it was someone hurt.

A perfect landing Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (c)Echidna Home 2019

They are stunning looking in flight.

Cockatoos live a similar life span to humans, and when my Poppy had to go into a nursing home my Uncle adopted Cocky, and would take him in to visit Poppy. (Cocky would sit in the front seat of the car and jump on the arm rest and look out the window on the trip. When they got to the Nursing home he would cry out “Poppy where here, Poppy where here” ( Which is what all his grandchildren used to call out when any of us visited them at home), until he found Pop. He would fly to him, sit on his shoulder rubbing his head on Poppys cheek and give him gentle little pecks like kisses. He loved my Uncle and learnt some more words that I will not share.

I do hope your Have a Good New Years Eve

Tazzie.

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