Birdlife at the Museum

One of the things that surprises me most about working in Griffith is the variety of birds

As someone who grew up among the Brindabellas, there's a deep sense of satisfaction about seeing the hills rise around me on the drive to work.

It starts with three gentle crests along Irrigation Way after one turns north past Whitton.

Scenic Hill is another of these increasing landmarks and from there I can see they become mountains like Binya, Bingar and Brogden in the nearby Cocoparra National Park.

Griffith Pioneer Park Museum's grounds on the Hill feature a mix of older grey box trees and younger cypress pines, which provide shade for the gardens maintained by a group of volunteers.

On these branches and among the flower beds I get glimpses of communities of birds.

There's a family of magpies and over recent months I've watched as they teach an offspring to be wary of me.

Mallee ringneck parrots have also been breeding and they used a hollow in the grey box near the Goolgowi Train Station for a while.

Earlier this year I observed a parent showing their bird where to find a meal from a succulent, which might've been a pigface.

In previous years a college of noisy apostle birds could be heard making a mess by tearing off plant limbs.

This season might be the first that the Museum has been visited by white-browed babblers.

My manager Jenny reckons she'd never seen them at Pioneer Park before and it was good to have assistance from Jo and her bird books to identify them.

These babblers seem to share their call with the grey-crowned variety, which Wikipedia notes has earned them names like dog-bird, barker and barking-bird.

They will share a cute "ruff" sound excitedly with each other, so I found myself describing it as a canine-esque noise.

You can hear it in this short video I made when a babbler got lost in the Wine & Irrigation Museum building 

Another recent observation was a trio of tawny frogmouths sitting in a cypress pine near the Griffith Hospital building.

It's great to see such a variety of birds and so different to those at home in Leeton, although I'm often frustrated by my inability to get a good photo using the mobile phone supplied by Council.

However, this iphone has been great for recording my duets with pied butcherbirds.

You can see more of my photos at