RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata)

I’d just made my morning coffee and sat down at my desk in front of the floor-to-ceiling lounge windows to read my overnight emails, when I caught a sudden movement out of the corner of my eye.

I turned my head and picked up my Sony ‘mirrorless’ camera which I’d just removed from it’s ‘sleeping bag’, but my movement must have startled the bird through the window (which is very dirty from recent rains), and it flew away before I had a chance to take a shot.

I uttered a word not so polite for a little old(er) lady – $%@#! – missed the shot! 😀

It was a Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata) and while I’d seen these honeyeaters on the hedge over the road a few times in the last couple of months, this was the first time one had landed on my balcony fence rail.

Of course it may have visited my balcony garden one day when I was out, but since I’m pretty much housebound most days now, I am still aware of the avian visitors due to their distinctive calls, even if I don’t actually catch sight of them.


Talk about thrill of the year.

I never cease to be amazed at the variety of birds which visit my balcony or the (3) hedges across the road.  Many of which make such brief visits I don’t have time to take the lens cap off one of my cameras and capture them in an image to share with you.  (Or maybe my cameras are still in their overnight sleeping bags and I haven’t set them up on my desk for the day).

Sometimes I feel as though I haven’t seen a bird all week, but that would be a lie as the House Sparrows visit the bird bath regularly nearly every day and I’m still getting the occasional sighting of a male Superb Fairy-wren with it lovely blue head and upper back. I photographed one only yesterday, but I won’t bore you with more shots of the Fairy-wrens as I’ve already shared so many.   Haven’t seen a female Superb Fairy-wren for several weeks, so they may be nest-sitting?

Anyway, I haven’t seen a Red Wattlebird this close-up for about 5 years (when one landed at my feet on the paving stones next to the pond in the Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne) below.

I’ve shared these images (in this post) from my archives before…….several times…….but I’ll share them again so you know what bird I’m talking about.

Once again I was reminded of how large this particular species of honeyeater is.  While you may think the grey-brown and white streaks of its head, nape and back and grey-brown rump are pretty ordinary,  its yellow belly and reddish-pink wattles, (or earrings as I like to call them), make this species stand out in the crowd.

The 2 images below were made from underneath a large tree next to the Yarra River in north-east Melbourne with a long lens about 3 years ago.

RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata)
RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata)

The Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera) has a very distinctive and raucous ‘cockay-cock’ ‘kwok’ ‘yekop’ sound,  once described as ‘fetch-the-gun’, is totally familiar to me now.  I’m not sure whether the Red Wattlebird has exactly the same sound or not, but once you hear a Wattlebird’s’s call and identify it, you’ll never forget it.

The image (below) was made in a residential garden in north-east Melbourne where I used to live next to the Yarra River (which runs to the south of Melbourne city and out into the bay).

Easy to see how they blend into the branches when the tree is bare of leaves in winter.


By the way, for long-time followers, the recent right hip MRI I had done about 10 days ago and got the report from my GP on Monday revealed, advanced osteoarthritis, extensive loss of cartilage, a muscle tear, a hip labrum tear and some minor common hamstring tendonitis – not good news.

 (I thought my spine was bad enough and had seen my old Neurosurgeon in June and got a 2nd opinion from another Neurosurgeon only a few weeks ago.  It was actually the ‘second opinion’ neurosurgeon who suggested I have my right hip investigated).

I had a look at the MRI disc they give you at the Radiography Centre and thought my right hip looked like a craggy rock (compared to the MRI ‘slice’ showing both hips for comparison).  My left hip looks like an ordinary round ball and socket to me.  Not that I’m a radiographer, just saying that the difference was striking and I could see the hip labrum tear easily).  Labrum tears don’t always cause symptoms, but when they do, Mr Google says the only treatment is surgery – they do not heal on their own.

So, it’s been my HIP and torn tissues/muscles that have been keeping me pretty much housebound in recent times 😯

When you have 3 different pain/fatigue conditions for 38 years, it can be hard to discern between the regular chronic bad/severe pain and a new pain site (in case you wonder why I could put up with such severe pain for so long).

I have a referral to see an Orthopaedic Surgeon on the 7th December.


12 thoughts on “RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata)

    1. Thanks Terry. Now we’ve finally found the reason for this extraordinary pain (more than my usual), I’m more than a little relieved. It’s been such a frustrating 8-9 months. I do so hope next week’s appointment results in an affordable procedure too. I’m looking at doing this ‘privately’ as i suspect the public health system waiting list might be years long. Secondly, managing on crutches (for the time I’ve read about) will be extremely hard for me having an all-over pain/inflammatory health condition let alone spinal, heart and other health issues. I can do exercises and physio easily. I remember from my ankle & spine surgeries, but crutches, I remember they were hard work in 1998 and I was fit and flexible then 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I remember trying crutches once, when a friend had a broken leg. They weren’t easy to use. I’m in the process of healing up from what I decided was a hamstring pull. It’s been about three weeks now, but it’s getting much better. In the beginning, I’d be walking along just fine, and then my leg would seem to out out from under me, and I’d have to catch myself. The pain never was bad, but I really felt it when going down stairs or down an incline. It’s hardly what you’ve dealt with, but it certainly has been enough for me to be a bit more cautious.

    I do love the wattlebirds and their earrings. I like the photo of the bird in all the branches, too. Some might think it too ‘busy,’ but I like the sense of the bird’s real world that it gives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah….so you understand about the ‘crutches’ bit.

      3 weeks seems like quite a while to recover from a hamstring pull. As we age, no matter how fit we are, injuries do take a while though. Try some Arnica cream – perfect for muscles, sprains and pain. Perhaps it might need checking out, Linda. When we’re older sometimes I think we ignore aches and pains as ‘ageing’ when we really should pay more attention.

      Can’t believe all this time, this year, it was my hip and I never thought of it, (as i have very strong bones). I suspect I do certain movements with my right hip so repetitiously (including kneeling on one leg to take photos in the past), I might have just plain worn it out. My left hip looks perfect.

      I hope to see that Red Wattlebird again on my balcony. I must remember to put the cameras on my desk early EVERY morning. I’ve been cleaning them more regularly and putting them away in their soft pouches every night due to the dust that seems to settle on my furniture in this inner city area (where there are so many new apartment buildings being constructed).

      The balcony railing is at the perfect height to get a great side-on shot of any bird. All my image seen to be from overhead or underneath of the Red Wattlebird.


  2. I read this post and I thought, goodness! That’s a heck of an injury and here, all this time you’ve been giving us these wonderful photos and posts. I’m so glad they found the issue and you can be on your way to getting it ” fixed”.
    Awesome photos of the wattlebird. I’m impressed that you know so many birds by name!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Connie.

      (Can’t believe I’ve been attempting to walk and get around with both torn muscles and such a bad hip. I always put everything down to my spine, what with a teenage spinal disease never diagnosed or resolved, and 2 lumbar spine surgeries already).

      Even I am impressed I’ve got to know so many birds (and flowers) by name since I had to quit working. I guess its a case of seeing and photographing them so regularly 😀 Its all about repetition of the same names through recent years. I think I’ve got about 35 birds listed on the right hand side of this page. Another 60-70 to share and put in the index. Or maybe I’ll only share the good shots 🙂

      Just as well I’ve got plenty in my archives now I not walking outdoors.


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