Galahs 2013

Each year we hope galahs will breed in one of the nesting boxes in our backyard.
When they do, we love to watch each baby grow bigger and stronger. Nothing compares to the thrill of seeing a baby parrot leap out of the nesting box for the first time and fly away with its parents.

This Nesting Box Diary, Galahs 2013, describes the first three months in the lives of Neil, Buzz and Svetlana.

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Galahs 2013

Dull day, spectacular birds

Having missed yesterday’s dawn due to family commitments, I was keen to get out this morning. The forecast was good – sunny and 33oC. I set my alarm for 6:15 am and was at my favourite spot before the sun rose.

The sky did not look the way I had hoped. It was streaked with cloud, which became thicker and thicker. Soon the entire sky was white, but dull.

The poor conditions did not stop the birds. I saw several White-bellied Sea-Eagles, some Whistling Kites and a Swamp Harrier in the first half hour. I saw a falcon, which I could not identify, then later an Australian Hobby (a Little Falcon), which I could. I added to my list two Black Kites, all in all 5 species of BOP (possibly 6).

I had resigned myself to getting no good photos and was thinking about leaving when the most amazing thing happened – 5 juvenile and immature White-bellied Sea-Eagles flew right past me! I thought I got photos of each, but I can only tell 4 distinct birds. Here they are in the order I took the photos:

WBSE 1 – immature (white tail)

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WBSE 2 – juvenile (tail has brown tip)

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WBSE 3 – immature (white tail)

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WBSE 4 – juvenile (tail has brown tip)

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They were just magnificent in a group. Shortly after that, two Black Kites and a Whistling Kite flew in circles around me. All  these photos have only a small amount of cropping – the birds were really that close!

Black Kite

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Whistling Kite

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Although my photos were taken at ISO 3200, and are lacking in detail, like pencil drawings that have been smudged, the experience was incredible. I’ll still be watching birds of prey when I’m too old and frail to lift my camera.

Our fabulous fish

I’ve lived with fish for almost as long as I can remember. When I was a child, we had a goldfish pond outside, and a tank with tropical fish inside. Since then I’ve usually had at least two tanks in the house. Currently we have a 6′ marine tank and a small tropical tank.

In the marine tank, water quality is so important, and filtration is even more important than frequent water changes. Because of our high water quality, we have maroon anemonefish Premnas biaculeatus that are more than 20 years old,

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and two citron butterflyfish Chaetodon citrinellus that are 18 and 17 years old. One has had what looks like scar tissue for at least 10 years, but nothing has developed from it.

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I have two favourite groups of marine fishes: butterflyfishes and angelfishes. We have a threadfin butterflyfish Chaetodon auriga,

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a dusky butterflyfish Chaetodon flavirostris,

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a flame angelfish Centropyge loricula,

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and a keyhole angelfish Centropyge tibicen.

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Respect (Values) by Kimberley Jane Pryor – Like some of the other books mentioned, this is an educational book that gives definitions and clarity about respect and what that looks like played out in our world. It gives specifics and definitive answers, which are helpful to kids.