HOUSE SPARROWS (Passer domesticus)……….and the weather

The wind has been more than a little gusty in my area over the last 5-6 days.    In fact, the Spring winds have been downright ferocious and threatened to blow my garden away.

Check out the background in the image below.  Can you see the Japanese Maple branches and foliage are near horizontal?  At one stage, the Maple’s branches seemed to bend over in half and almost touched the ground.   I had grave fears for the tree’s well-being, but it seemed to bend and sway with the elasticity that most young saplings have.

I’ve stood at the lounge window each morning in hope of seeing more Spring shoots on my Herbs and Veggies, but they have made little headway in the last week (for this time of the year) and slowed right down in their growth.

Not enough sun I fear.

No Superb Fairy-wrens in sight and just a few very tiny House Sparrows.   To the casual observer, they are just faded-looking females, but on the ground here, I can see their tiny frames and washed-out looking head feathers denote very young juveniles.   They are almost as small as the adult Superb Fairy-wrens.

The 2 sparrows I photographed last week stayed on the balcony fence for some time, seemingly motionless.   Last night, it was not until I reviewed the 4 photos I’d taken that I realized their tiny claws were hanging onto the frame that holds the blue ceramic birdbath in place (so they didn’t get blown away?).

The bird that stood on the fence bar itself didn’t stay long.

I made 4 very similar photos and can’t tell which is the best out of them, so thought to post all of them.

Today, the wind has finally dropped and I can see by this morning’s weather forecast I have 4 clear, rainless days to do something outdoors.

Perhaps prune the herbs to start encouraging them to flesh out into more robust bushes perhaps?   Doesn’t sound much, but at least it’s better than lying in the hospital hooked up to a heart monitor 24/7.   Those 6 days in the hospital were the most boring I’ve experienced in many years.   I don’t survive too well when I’m out of green surroundings and don’t have a Room With a View.

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Sometimes I wonder if I grow herbs for myself, or for the birds.

The House Sparrows, (and Fairy-wrens), are particularly fond of  Mint, especially the young leaves.

(excuse the soft focus in some of the images below, but sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the fast-moving little birds as they jump from pot to pot in search of tasty titbits.  Other times, after a long ‘photoshoot’  my arms ache and I find it hard to hold the heavy long telephoto lens still enough).

I’d clean the lounge windows for some clearer shots too, but the forecast is for rain this afternoon so no point cleaning them today.

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Female

Back to the Archives – 13th August, 2018

One of the advantages of taking photos of the local bird-life from my apartment lounge, is the ability to rest my elbows on my desk to make hand-held shots.   If I’ve got fair light and a fast enough shutter speed, (or the continuous shooting setting), its possible to also capture birds on the move.

Sometimes I can capture those quick little seed peckers – other times not.

Today’s post is about the female House Sparrow from a week ago.  I had already broken the bright blue ceramic bird bath in my over-zealous balcony cleaning and the House Sparrows had seemed bewildered at the lack of a reliable water source in my lovely balcony Herb, Flower and Vegetable garden.

Australia actually has 2 Sparrows – the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) and the Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus).  Very similar, except the Eurasian Tree Sparrow is only found in a small area and has distinctive white cheek patches with a black central spot (among other differing feather colours and markings).  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Eurasian one to be honest.

The House Sparrow is quite small; male with a distinctive grey crown, black face and bib.  The Chestnut-brown stripe over the eye links to a brown nape.  The back and wings are richly mottled chestnut, black and white and rump grey-buff.  Underparts greyish white.

The female and immature have a buff stripe over the eye as shown in this post and are much paler.  They’re easy to identify.

Unlike the Spotted Turtle-doves on my previous apartment balcony to the north-east of inner Melbourne, I have yet to really see any distinguishing marks or tell Sparrows apart.

Some of the ‘boys’ are a little aggressive and territorial, but I guess the females might be also if they had a nest nearby.