Birding From My Desk

When you don’t get out of the office

Bronwen Scott


Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa, Rhipiduridae), Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland. © Bronwen Scott

My apologies for the hiatus. Stuff happens. Stuff always happens!

While I get my writing act back together, here are some photos of garden birds taken through those grimy office windows. I keep my camera to hand, just in case.

The Grey Fantail (above) is one of a pair that arrived in the garden over the past fortnight. Grey Fantails, like their more ebullient cousins the Willie Wagtails, are forthright little birds who are usually unfazed by people and will carry on their business of hawking for insects, pausing only to offer an opinion on your presence. This one was using the Hill’s hoist and the adjacent cordylines as a base. I managed to photograph it in a rare moment of contemplation.

Bar-shouldered Dove (Geopelia humeralis) perched on the Hill’s Hoist, Atherton Tablelands. © Bronwen Scott.

In all seasons, Bar-shouldered Doves (Geopelia humeralis, Columbidae) are the most common pigeon visitors to the garden. The Brown Cuckoo-doves (Macropygia phasianella) and White-headed Pigeons (Columba leucomela) have moved on now that the Bleeding Hearts have stopped fruiting. Crested Pigeons (Ocyphaps lophotes) and Pacific Emerald Doves (Chalcophaps longirostris) make an occasional appearance. Australia does a nice line in pigeons. Check out Spinifex Pigeons, Wompoo Fruit-doves and Topknots for a bit of a taster.

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scalpularis), Atherton Tablelands. © Bronwen Scott.

Australian King Parrots (Alisterus scapularis, Psittaculidae) are back in small numbers. As well as pretty pigeons, Australia has no shortage of perfect parrots, although they like to hide behind leaves. Leaves + dirty glass panes = fuzzy feathers. Fortunately the red is bright enough to make up for the photographic deficits.

Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis), Atherton Tablelands. © Bronwen Scott.

And last — but definitely not least — Silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis, Zosteropidae) drop in every now and then and move through the vegetation in noisy little gangs. They’re difficult enough to photograph at the best of times!

So these little cuties have been keeping me company as I work. They go about their business as I go about mine.



Bronwen Scott

Zoologist, writer, artist, museum fan, enjoying life in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland. She/her. Website: