It has been an interest of ours to get to know the regular visitors to our backyard and to figure out how to encourage those that are beneficial.
We get the usual avian visitors like Rainbow Lorikeets, Red and Little Wattlebirds, Magpie-Larks, Little Ravens, Magpies, Black Birds, Common Mynas and the odd Starling. Thankfully we don’t see many of the bossy Noisy Miners in the area.
Our surrounding neighbours have a lot of showy flowers that attract the Lorikeets and Wattlebirds and we thought it would be nice to try and attract the smaller birds in the area by planting lots of bushy shrubs and plants that have smaller nectar-producing or insect-attracting flowers. We are always delighted to see and/or hear a pair of Brown Thornbills who like to visit our garden, as well as the Eastern Spinebills that we tend to hear more than see. A highlight was having a couple of Spotted Pardalotes decide to use the side of our driveway for a nesting spot last year. We were initially intending to cover the dirt with a neat retaining wall, but that plan was postponed once we realised they were moving in. Watching them from our bedroom window was a delight! Another highlight was seeing a large number of Horsfield’s Bushlarks using our backyard as a sand bath in summer. They have only been spotted on 2 occasions.
A couple of weeks ago we saw our first frog whilst digging. We had absolutely no idea that there were any frogs in our suburban area, but have taken it as a great sign that our place is a healthy place to live. We didn’t want to disturb the frog, so unfortunately we are not 100% sure what species it is as it was covered in dirt. However, we believe it may be a Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis). Now we are considering whether to add a frog pond into our backyard plans.
It has also been a learning curve identifying the insects in our backyard and figuring out whether they are beneficial or a pest. However, as there are quite a few to talk about we will cover those in a separate blog post next week.