Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)

I went out to weed the onions this morning.  After a few cold damp days,  the weeds are doing well.
I heard the Bronzewing again. (I had heard it on about the 10th or 11th of May.) I had heard it yesterday, but couldn't find it... it sounded as though it might have been in the front yard of the neighbour's house, despite the lack of really big trees there.  It is hard to tell the direction of the call though... it must be useful for confusing any predators.
Anyway, I heard it again this morning while weeding the onions.  I walked really slowly towards the pepper tree that it was in,  found it and took this first picture.  At least it was clear enough to see the stripey wings and the shape of the head.
Another photograph of the same bird.  "She" had been sitting in the fork of a branch before I could see her well.  It is a typical "pigeon" nesting spot... precarious and only needs about three sticks!  Pigeon type birds are not great nest builders usually,  though I've never seen an actual Bronzewing one.
Then I heard a call from another part of the tree. Another one, and this has striped wings also and a yellowish forehead... sex difference?  
And then a better view of the head and face of that second bird.   Imagine a pair of them in our garden!  I'm staying away from the tree that they are in for the time being.  It's out of the way, quiet and well shielded by foliage.  
Australian birds often breed opportunistically after rain, and we have had a little bit lately.  
I came in and checked my "Simpson and Day" and found the bronzewing there... the male is on the left.
It is surprising what you find in your backyard. And I still haven't finished weeding the onions.

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