Monday, February 14, 2011

Photo Opp....Musk Lorikeets

This is one photo opportunity that I gladly pass on! At the moment, in almost any Hobart suburb, you'll find the eucalyptus ficifolia flowering. Their attractive bright red to pink flowers are at their peak, and you can't miss them and neither do the local Musk Lorikeets.
I've chosen a few images from the umpteen that I've taken in the last few days. Even if you're not into photography, it's worth spending a while just watching these stunningly coloured parrots. Within a kilometre of my home there must be a dozen or more of these flowering gums, most with a swag of feeding lorikeets, I even have one in my garden, unfortunately not the easiest to access for photography (poor planning on my part!). The Musks tend to feed early morning and late afternoon, but you'll probably find a few at any time of day. Choose a tree in bright conditions to best show off the colourful mix of flowers and bird. Be patient, approach the tree slowly, they'll usually quickly accept your presence, keep still and you're in business. You'll probably need to take quite a few shots to get a worthwhile image as they are fast moving feeders and often feed hanging upside down.
If you spend time watching, you'll note that most are paired, and you can't fail to note their constant contact calls, occasionally punctuated by screeching as they squabble. Several birds exhibited eye damage, and I saw several birds fly into nearby windows, particularly in overcast conditions.
You may at times find the noise all too much! I've included the shot at above left to show a lorikeet "shivering" with tail fanned, this is a threat display, probably a bird getting too close to its' other half. This is sometimes followed by chasing, but seldom any serious confrontations and is over quickly.
I suspect that those living in close proximity to these flowering gums may not be as enthusiastic about them as I am! Their screeching can be pretty wearing. But this eucalypt has a short flowering season and peace will return soon.
[I've posted other images on my pbase site, link at right]

5 comments:

Iain D. Williams said...

It always hits me in the face just how red their plumage is. I didn't know that about the shivering...Always good to learn something knew on the behaviour front

Snail said...

I almost had to put on sunglasses to look at these pics. What a mixture of colours!

BirdingTas said...

Hi Iain,
Yes they are rather over the top in colour. Despite that, they're surprisingly well camouflaged among the foliage when they want to be. The shivering (probably should have called it quivering) is resorted to fairly often, and I've seen it performed by Swift Parrots too.

BirdingTas said...

Hi Snail,
Should have 'shot' them on my ficifolia which is a deeper bright red! As I mentioned in the reply to Iain, they can be quite difficult to find among the foliage and flowers, but the constant movement as they 'farm' the pollen gives them away. Those feeding in my garden have to contend with a feisty pair of Little Wattlebirds nesting in the neighbouring melaleuca. Interesting encounters.

NEL said...

Good capture of color.