Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Time of Plenty......Musk Lorikeets

If you've ever aspired to photographing birds, you could do worse than try your hand at photographing the many Musk Lorikeets. At the moment, at least in my suburb (Bellerive), they're feasting on the profusely flowering eucalyptus ficifolia, a native tree of Western Australia, and widely grown in gardens and parks. From a photographer's perspective, these gums have one great advantage, they have large showy flowers carried on the outer branches. This causes the lorikeets to feed in, relatively speaking, full view. Close to my abode, there must be in excess of 20 of these trees, and the local flocks of lorikeets, totalling around a hundred or more birds, make full use of them.
I've often wondered where the local muskies breed, as I've found no obvious signs of nesting or young birds. There are a few birds that lack the red colouring on the bill, and they are probably immature birds, but I haven't noted any obviously juvenile birds.
As you watch the feeding flocks, it soon becomes clear that it's largely made up of pairs. Squabbles frequently break out between pairs if they encroach one another's 'space', which, together with the constant, screeching, contact calls, results in a clamorous racket. Occasionally, one of a pair, I'm presuming the male, will splay its tail at an neighbour, in what I suspect is a 'keep off the grass' warning, this may be followed by a chase.
The tree that I photographed these birds in, is within a few feet of a school classroom, so it's probably just as well that the flowering will be just about over, by the time the local pupils return from the Summer break.
As I stood by this tree, the muskies eventually ventured to within a few metres of me, feeding with indecent haste, often inverted, making difficult 'targets'.` Despite photographing them several times in recent years, I still delight in this annual event.


Snail said...

And aren't they just revelling in the E. ficifolia at the moment!

I've just come back from the Western District where I failed to get any decent pics of purple-crowned lorikeets stuffing themselves in the eucs, so I'll simply enjoy your photos of the musk loris.

Graeme said...

Hi Alan. Your blog played a big part in inspiring mywife and I to visit Tasmania over the January break. What an awesome place it is!!! Our photos at http://graemex.blogspot.com/2008/01/exploring-tasmania.html Just over a week was not enough. We'll definitely be visiting again. Thanks for your blog and the inspiration.