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.

NOT REALLY A GOOD SHOT PER SE, BUT THIS IMAGE WAS MADE LATE ONE AFTERNOON IN FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE (LOCATED BEHIND MY CURRENT APARTMENT BUILDING)

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.

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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.

 

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WATTLEBIRDS

Last week the air was filled with the sound of Wattlebirds with their distinctive call.

There are 3 different Wattlebirds in Australia, but I’ve only seen the two commonly found in my state of Victoria.

LITTLE WATTLEBIRD – the Herb Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne

The Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera) was the very first bird call I learned to recognise in the Royal Botanic Gardens when I had to quit working and took up Photography as a hobby in 2010.

LITTLE WATTLEBIRD – found in a Callistemon, (or Bottlebrush) tree, next to the building housing some of the breeding program at Melbourne Zoo (located to the north of Melbourne city).
LITTLE WATTLEBIRD – Melbourne Zoo landscaped outdoor area.

It’s a very vocal bird, often musical, but mostly raucous with its ‘cockay-cock’, ‘kwok’, ‘yeyop’ sound.

It loves woodland, scrub and particularly Lantana and Banksia in parks and gardens.

A very lucky capture in that up close you can clearly see it’s reddish-pink ‘earrings’ and yellow belly feathers – the inner north-east suburb of Abbotsford right next to the Yarra River and National Parkland.

The Red Wattlebird (Anthorchaera carunculata), with its distinctive dark pink/reddish ‘earrings’ or wattles, seems to frequent certain other areas of Melbourne and its immediate parks and gardens.  I’ve seen that species more in the north-east, or my current, western side of Melbourne.

Not as close, but you can still see the pink ‘earrings’ and yellow belly – not far from where I live near the Maribyrnong River in the west suburbs
Not such a good shot with the branch in the way, but with fast-moving birds, you don’t always have time to move to the left or right to get a better shooting position.   Still, the bird species is clearly recognisable.  This shot was taken from the fence-line of Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve between my apartment and the Maribyrnong River.

I guess that they’re found almost everywhere depending on the type of tree, flower and/or landscape.  Being Honeyeaters, flower-type would probably have the most appeal.

Below, the Red Wattlebird on the paved stones surrounding the pond in the Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne.

Wattlebird silhouette at dusk next to the Maribyrnong River.