Monday, November 12, 2012

In a Purple Tree

Alrighty. As you may have noticed I've been missing from posting blogs for... possibly a month or more. That would be due to the fact that I'm not here on a pleasure trip (although I would love to do that. Just a long trip and travel around Australia), I'm actually here to get a BA degree and possibly find a job somewhere in the world after that. So I've been studying, taking exams, completing assessments, getting migraines and generally trying to survive a different type of school environment. It's not all bad. I've also attended several really good stage performances and hung out with really cool people. Tried new foods too. :) 

So... anyway, in the small area outside my window, there used to be a giant stick of a tree.... And then, spring came around and the stick turned into this. Its a Jacaranda tree, and they flower first before they get all their leaves in. There's another tree on campus that was covered in fire red flowers when I first got here, and every bird in the area was all over it, eating nectar or the flowers themselves. It's totally covered in green now, so all the birds moved on to other flowering trees. Which means I've got an aviary in this tree. I see almost every type of bird in it... although they usually fly away before I can get the camera ready to go. Just as a note of interest, both these pictures were taken from my room. I love my camera! The close up ability on it is really cool. I know, I know. Every photographer out there is going,"Yeah, yeah.... there's a lot of cameras that can do that...." But honestly, this is cool for me. 

Okay, onward. Since I really haven't gone anywhere, I figure I'll just show you what comes to me! And that means a lot of birds. Sorry. I'd show you other things, but.. no one really wants to see the cockroach I found on campus right? Or the grocery store I shop at? Yeah... thought not. 

This, is a Red Wattle Bird, and he's a honeyeater, which means that he doesn't eat honey, but eats the nectar from the flowers. Handsome little stinker isn't he? Actually this could be a she, it's difficult to tell with the birds here because most species sexes look like each other. Anyway, it was checking out the stick tree in September, but no luck. The only reason I knew he was out there was because he makes a sound like a mini-shotgun being racked. *Ka-Chack* Not a pretty sound, but very identifiable. The first time I tried to photograph him he flew off as soon as I got back to the window, so when another one came back later I snuck back to the window with the camera and got this shot of it, which I thought was pretty good! It's holding still, and not hopping around in the branches like a monkey, so you can really see that red-brown eye and the red wattle that it gets his name from.

.... and then, it saw me! Or the camera more specifically. I'd gotten sneaky and had lowered the shade on my window, so only a slit was left where I could rest the camera. Of course it freaked out and flew off after making alarm calls. I guess the camera reflected or something. It only freaked out when it saw a camera, but not with me just watching it. Camera trauma in the past? 

I'd see a Wattle Bird in the tree from time to time checking things out, but they never stayed long. The tree wasn't flowering much, and I suspect it had things it needed to do. Like eat. These are fairly common birds here in Perth, and throughout most of the south, wrapping all the way back around to the southern eastern seaboard. Their main diet is nectar, as I said, but they've also been seen eating small insects off plants and in midair. These aren't terribly small birds. They're probably a bit bigger than a Stellar Jay from back home. 

We see a lot more of them now that the Jacaranda tree is blooming like mad. And there is the wattle bird doing what it does best. Eating nectar... and in this case, clinging to the tree for dear life. The reason the picture is blurry is because there was a storm going on that day, so it was pouring rain, and it was -really- windy. With the tree swinging around in the wind, and the rain pouring down the window, it's amazing that the picture came out at all. This was in mid-October, so the tree is in full bloom currently. Although with the past few storms it's flowers have taken a bit of a pounding, but the birds don't seem to care.

And then there is the monkey routine where is hang upside down on perilously small branches to reach what it's after. It also gives you a nice shot of the little yellow tummy. Again, sorry about the blurry picture, but I love the colour pattern and the yellow patch. And the bird being a complete and total clown while getting his lunch. Looks like it's 6 in the evening there, but it was more like noon when I took it.  Believe it or not it was blue skies and warm 20 minutes later. 5 minutes after that there was another monsoon. Crazy weather, but I certainly enjoy the feathered neighbors. Even if they are camera shy. I've got more photos of birds... and since I've only got one exam left, maybe I'll actually be able to go somewhere and take pictures of ... oh, I don't know, perhaps a landmark??? It's a thought I'm seriously considering. 

If you want a little more information about the Red Wattle Bird, you can look on here.

Anyway, I'm back for a bit, although not sure how much time I'll have. I've got some friends who want to drag me around to see things, which will be cool for picture taking, but probably not so cool for actually having the energy to blog! But I'll do my best. :)