A little paradise in the Mountains.

Eastern yellow robin
A favourite perch for a yellow robin.

FEATHERING MY NEST
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Living in what very much resembles  a bird hide would not be to everyone’s taste, but it suits me.   My mini home is surrounded by trees and shrubs…predominantly  Australian natives, but certainly not exclusively. Is is actually a studio apartment, built above a double garage.

Living here was meant to be a  temporary situation while we built our new house. That was ……well, some time  ago.   My partner  Rob and I  so enjoy our  little nest that the impetus to finish the ‘big house’ dissolved until a recent push. The studio is at top left in this aerial photo.

Writer’s nest, ‘The Gums’

There are windows all round the studio and no curtains or blinds. Yes, sometimes I need to put my sunnies on when the morning sun makes a direct hit, but that’s  a small inconvenience in comparison to the joys of nature. As a writer I am inspired by my surroundings.

Here is the view from my bed in summer…..wattle birds adore the nectar in red hot poker blooms. We never artificially feed the birds, but there is always fresh water for them.

Wattle bird feeding on red hot pokers outside the studio hide.
My red hot pokers never remain upright for long.

I can stand at the front door and photograph those ‘creaky gate’ gang-gangs feeding  in the silver wattle tree.

By the way, there is a strange and growing resemblance between Rob and the gang-gang.

Male gang-gang cockatoo
Hello!

Parrots love wattle seeds too.

King parot in the silver wattle
King parrot in the silver wattle.

We live in the bird rich, Blue Mountains of New South Wales, adjoining  the National Park. Just below us is Popes Glen Creek. There  are  plenty of frogs and snakes down there  to  feed kookaburras, owls, tawny frogmouths…… and butcher birds.

Grey Butcherbird inthe tlip tree.
Butter yellow tulip tree leaves behind Mr Butcherbird.

I can be immersed in my work on the computer, but in  my peripheral vision  I see a flash of colour; yellow, white, bronze, black, blue, red or green.  Sometimes  it is accompanied by scrabbling on the pitched roof  as king parrots land  to search for insects in the gutters. Rob welcomes this, as they help clear  the leaves  and  sticks that drop from the gum trees and wattles.

Male King Parrot on the gutter.
Hello down there.
HELLO TO YOU TOO!

My hearing is now attuned to so many local birds; from the raucous kookaburras, wattle birds, bower birds and parrots to the mysterious whip bird, and the softer chimes of many smaller species; honeyeaters, robins, thornbills and wrens.

Birdbaths have been placed in the shrubbery outside the kitchen window. The variety of feathered visitors is amazing; from tiny thornbills, robins, spinebills and wrens, to white headed pigeons,  satin bowerbirds  and many varieties of parrot.

Male Satin Bower BIrd
Male Satin Bowerbird stealing my  blue flowers.
Male Satin Bowerbird
A quick dip after a floral breakfast.

If I open the front door, I look onto a bed of grevilleas; native ground covers and other shrubs.  The centrepiece  is a sun dial, a  favourite perch for Toffee the kookaburra.

Kookaburra on a sundial
What’s the time? A feather past a beak.

Here is a visitor arriving before I’ve even had a chance to open the screen door.

Male King Parrot
Could you come and refill the bird baths please Pauline?

And when the baths are full, father king parrot has a quick drink, then feeds his infant.

Male king parrot feeding its young....taken from the studio  bird hide.
WHAT A GOOD DAD!

A HIDE IS VITAL FOR SPYING ON SHY FELLOW RESIDENTS

One of the most elusive birds is the native Wonga Pigeon.   I can only ever enjoy his plump proportions  from my bedside window. He often comes to sit on a wooden bench just outside. Mind you, his cooing can  be heard a mile off.

Wonga Pigeon
Morning preen and airing of the feathers.
Wonga pigeon
A favourite seat

The insistent calling and the attention to personal appearance eventually paid off. A mate, and a few weeks later, a scruffy nest of sweet chicks.

Wonga pigeons
Courtship.
Wonga nest
Success!

There is a skylight directly above my bed, and at dusk or in the early morning  a bird might trundle across as it feeds on insects. Below is the gentle, white-headed pigeon.

Hello down there!  White headed pigeon on the bird hide skylight.
Hello down there!

Waking can be a bit of a shock sometimes. This cheeky wretch is probably about to chew the roof of the hide.

Cockatoo on the syklight above my bed.
Time you were up, Pauline! And how about cleaning the skylight?

We have three bird baths just outside the kitchen.  One is positioned under a fuchsia bush. Even the shyest bird in the Mountains, the Eastern Whipbird,  will venture here for a bath. What a privilege is is to watch him. Makes a nice break from washing up.

Eastern Whipbird

Naturally the male satin bowerbird prefers a blue bowl to match his  gorgeous eye.

Male satin bowerbird
Of course the blue bath is a favourite.

Our ‘hide’ can sometimes become wreathed in spider webs. It’s a bit of a shame to sweep them away,  as the little birds like a spider snack. I was very amused to see this row of ‘terrace houses’  above the garage door.

And so the day draws to a close.  I  make a final  ‘matron’s rounds’  of the garden, refilling  the bird baths  outside the kitchen window ready for dawn visitors such as the crimson rosella.

Crimson rosella eating a correa flower out side the studio bird hide.
A tasty treat at first light..
Crimson rosella.
A drink after an early breakfast of correa flowers.

DAY IS DONE AT THE ‘HIDE’

Sometimes when I am wandering about  I glance towards the studio and notice that Rob has turned the lights on. Oh dear, time to go in. At any moment the tawny frogmouths will start calling.

Many birds arrive on warm evenings, when we open the studio windows to enjoy a different range of calls.

One day soon we will be moving into the ‘big house’,  but I am not in any hurry to leave our cosy bird hide.

The Gums, Blackheath
A house in waiting…..

My artist friend Evie Hanlon made a collage of some of the birds in our garden.  I love it.

Collage of Blue Mountains Birds.
Some of many.

FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A MESSAGE.  THERE IS AN ANTI-SPAM SUM TO COMPLETE BEFORE YOU PRESS ‘SUBMIT’.

6 Comments
  1. It sounds like paradise to me! I couldn’t live without the company of wild birds so I’m quite envious. And had to laugh at the skylight too. 🙂

    • Pauline

      That skylight is directly above the bed, Christine. The birds are what I will miss most if we ever leave, and I guess we will one day when the garden becomes too much for us.

  2. Thank you, Pauline…you are blessed to be living amongst such a rich concoction of nature’s finest….I absolutely love the picture of the bird peeping through the skylight..made me giggle. We get quite a lot of birds in the garden but none of them with the rich colours of yours! Mr Robin is my favourite here, flashing his red breast.
    I wonder whether you’ll ever finish your house lol xxx

    • Pauline

      I loved the friendly little robins in England, Joyce, and the sweet Jenny Wrens. As to the house….oh dear. Rob and I have a bet as to who will finish their project first. Will it be my current book, or his house!

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