You may be aware of my fondness for the Grey Shrike-thrush, its lack of fear, curiosity and clear melodic voice -
and I was surprised, recently, when I witnessed a Willie Wagtail going through its musical repertoire and heard the lovely phrases of trills it produced.
But even at my most charitable I could easily live without the cacophony of loud and unmusical squawks and screeches of Galahs. While some do perch here in the early evening, I'm never disappointed to see them fly off and know that I won't be subject to their dawn chorus - however pretty they are in the light of a setting sun.
I was delighted to see a new addition to list of birds here - this one is a White-plumed Honeyeater. While they are fairly widespread across the country, this is a first sighting for me. These birds are up to 17cm long and feed on insects, nectar and manna high up in the eucalypts. My bird book describes them as 'fearless and aggressive'. Well, most birds move out of the way of the New Hollands but this one didn't.
This Common Bronzewing Pigeon is on the larger side - beautiful colours on wings. Below, the Striated Thornbills - at 10cm and weighing just 9 grams are actually classed as a medium-sized thornbill.
Crimson Rosellas do love a bird bath and that's not surprising given all the blood sucking and dead-skin munching parasites they're lumbered with, in particular Hippoboscidae - louse flies or keds, which I have seen escaping the bath by sitting on the bird's head. Indeed there's one on the pic below, top left, but might be hard to make it out at this resolution.
If you live in the bottom half of Australia you'll know all about Portuguese Millipedes and what a smelly, staining pest they can be. Autumn is when they appear in greatest numbers and 12mm of rain here last week had them literally climbing the walls.
There are natural predators in their home country of Portugal that keep numbers in check, but not here, and that yellow stuff they exude is, not surprisingly, distasteful to most potential snackers, although some spiders, wasps and beetles will eat them. (Not in large enough numbers to have any impact though). Here some red meat ants are having a go - not with any great enthusiasm I'd have to say -