Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bellbirds - Finally!

I thought of starting this post with one of those sayings about the value of 'patience' and 'persistence' but then decided that it would be enough to tell you the length of time it has taken to achieve this goal. It has taken me fifty years to see Bellbirds instead of just hearing them! It is easy enough to hear these birds. Even driving along in the car - with the windows down, of course! - they are easy to hear. However, I have found seeing them a different matter. They have always been high in the trees and any movement of birds I could see was just a LBJ (little brown job) moving very fast!
When my friends Neil and Kell suggested a day out looking for bush birds I told them that actually seeing a Bellbird would be top of my list! These friends have watched birds in this district for many years so they suggested that Brooloo in the Mary Valley was the easiest place they knew for Bellbirds.
The proper name for a Bellbird is a Bell Miner (Manorina melanophrys). They are a smallish bird (19 cm) and colored olive green which of course just appears brown up against the sky. Their call is a high-pitched bell sound - hear it here. They have a dark yellow beak and legs and a yellow patch in front of the eye.
Bellbirds feed in among the leaves of trees and there is a dense stand of forest at Brooloo. However, there are also a number of dead trees as well and the birds seemed to choose these trees in which to rest.
The birds were still very high in the trees but just within reach of my long lens. One of the birds sat up there and fluffed its feathers out and then preened before flying off as fast as it had come.
This was certainly the highlight of the day for me. We then went off to another spot in the bush were there were more Bellbirds and a variety of other birds. Neil and Kell thought that the birds in this other spot were even better! More about that in the next post!

For more bird photos go to the Bird Photography Weekly.


  1. only took 50 years, eh?! :)

    good for you!

  2. Hi Texwisgirl. It looks an horrendous amount of time written down like that! btw - you've changed your photo! Nice!!

  3. Now that you have got that one ticked off the top of your list which one is next ?
    Great photos.

  4. thank you very much! succumbed to pressure to use a current photo. i showed myself on my blog for my 48th birthday on monday and just figured, why not... and yes, 48 looks like a big number written down too. :)

  5. Hi Neil, there are some common ones that I don't yet have photos of. Maybe I should try for them next.

    Hi again Texwisgirl, hmmm! 48 is not nearly as much as 50 plus all the years that came before I started looking for bellbirds! Congrats on the 48th!

  6. A long wait... good series!

  7. Congrats to the sighting. And to great shots as well. It feels so good when you finalle see one you waited for. I listened to teh song. I loved it. And it does sound like some kind of bell.
    Thank you for this one. :)

  8. Congratulations! Curiously, the bellbirds in this part of the world are also much easier to hear than to see (I live in Panama, central America)

  9. Thanks to all for commenting. It was great to finally photograph this bird. Very interesting that the bellbirds in central America are similarly hard to see.

  10. G'day Mick,
    Well done - they can be hard to catch up with. They can be almost classed as a pest in some places. Like the Noisy Miner, Bell Miners can be agressive to other species - just nature I s'pose!

  11. Thanks Gouldiae, yes, another friend told me - off-line - that they can be a pest in places.

  12. Congrats on the sighting and super photos! Interesting that they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. Cowbirds here in the USA do the same thing. They are not as pretty as these.:)

  13. That is fabulous to finally see that bird! And he is a beauty!

    (But now you need a new goal for the next 50 years!)

  14. Thanks for commenting Jean and Sallie. My new goal is to learn a few more of these frustrating LBJ's!