Musings and an Update on the Olive Backed Sunbirds

15:10 Updated with more images

It’s quite tropical this fine Sunday in Far North Queensland. The temperature under the roof is around 30 Celsius, but is probably 34 outside. The humidity is up in the high 70s I guess. Not as humid as last night, when it was 26 degrees and I was sitting in front of this iMac, sweating like a pig on a spit. There is some cloud about. Well, a thin cover that takes the bite out of the sun’s heat, but will still fry you with copious UV rays.
I may drag out the 21 inch (53cm) cut lawnmower and attack the bottom paddock again this arvo. It’s not really a paddock. Maybe a full quarter acre of grass, I dunno. I’m crap at eye measuring large areas in acres. It’s about 40 x 50 metres. 2000 square metres, which is (thanks Google) about half an acre. There is another half acre around the house amongst the gardens and trees that I like to keep down a bit too. The lawn keeps the Death Adders away (they like a bit of tall grass to hide amongst, or some leaf litter). It also looks nicer when your grass is lush and thick, not tall and weedy. I leave areas for the seed eating birds and other small creatures that like tall grass, and there are a couple of paddocks close by that are separated by a 2 metre tree’d wind break. Those paddocks only get slashed every now and again, so they provide a habitat for any creatures that I displace.

Oh, just a quick note about the images in this post; our satellite connection has been throttled to 128KB up/down at the moment because we blew out our quota. We only get 20GB a month at 6GBit down and 1 up through the NBN. The pics here are 800 pixels at there widest/longest and are minimum jpeg quality, so they might not look too crisp. When we get our speed back on the 11th, I might update the post. It’s funny you know. 800 x 600 images used to be kinda big, back when lo-res 15 inch CRT monitors were the norm.

We have a tree growing quite close to the house itself (other than the two monsters that grow in the ‘courtyard’ and directly shade the roof) that is only about two metres tall I guess. I think I blogged about it here when it bloomed. Here’s a photo of the bud and the resultant magnificent bloom.

The initial bud of the flower

The initial bud of the flower

Then the bud bursts open

Then the bud bursts open

...and this beautiful flower emerges, overnight.

…and this beautiful flower emerges, overnight.

Anyway, this tree has a quite unusual flush of new leaves when it has a growth spurt. The new shoots and leaves look as if they’re wilting, but that is how they grow. The leaves harden later.

The point where the leaves sprout from the branch end

The point where the leaves sprout from the branch end

Full view of leaf flush

Full view of leaf flush

Today (5th) the leaves look like this. The stalks will spread some more, then harden into ‘branches’.

Leaves almost at full stretch

Leaves almost at full stretch

Ok, I promised an update on the sunbirds. They’re growing fast. Real fast.
Here are five eight images captured over the course of a week:

Mother feeding her chicks 26 December 2013

Mother feeding her chicks 26 December 2013

First useable image of the Olive Backed Sunbird chicks 26 December 2013

First useable image of the Olive Backed Sunbird chicks 26 December 2013

Sunbird Chicks 28 December 2013

Sunbird Chicks 28 December 2013

Sunbird chicks 30th December 2013

Sunbird chicks 30th December 2013

Sunbird chicks 3rd January 2014

Sunbird chicks 3rd January 2014

These last photos were taken on the 4th of January (yesterday). I reckon they were very close to fully fledged when these were taken :

Olive Backed Sunbird chick, the day before its first flight.

Olive Backed Sunbird chick, the day before its first flight. 04-01-2014

The chicks are very alert 04_01_2014

The chicks are very alert 04_01_2014

Olive Backed Sunbird chicks, near fledged. 04-01-2014

Olive Backed Sunbird chicks, near fledged. 04-01-2014

05 January 2014 @ 2pm:- At some time between around 11 am and 2pm (now), the chicks have flown off with their parents. I was going to take another photo of the chicks this morning, but was going to wait until the parents were feeding them. When I went to check the nest five minutes ago, the chicks weren’t there. Norm and I are going to keep a watch out to see if the parents bring them back to the nest tonight, or whether they perch in a tree somewhere. I’m kind of hoping they come back for one last photo shoot ;).

2:30pm: We heard the parents and at least one chick calling down the track, so I went to investigate. They were being harassed by a Black Butcher Bird, so I scared it off by my presence and the sunbirds flew in the opposite direction. I’m a bit concerned that the Butcher Bird may have already taken the smaller chick. I’m waiting to hear the sunbirds call again, because they flew up across from the house into the tree line about 30 metres away. I’m hoping they come back later. I guess, nature is what nature is. I like the Butcher bird too. This one and a kookaburra regularly have arguments out front of the house. I think in past weeks they were arguing over who had claim to the babies when they ‘flew the coop’. I don’t have any photos of their quarrels. They scarper when they notice us. Here’s a pic of the Blue-Winged Kookaburra:

The Blue-Winged Kookaburra

The Blue-Winged Kookaburra

If the Sunbird chicks return, I’ll update this post with more images.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s