Birding at home during lockdown 3.0

February 2021 brought COVID lockdown 3.0 to Melbourne. For five days, we were required to stay home, only leaving for a few good reasons.

So what do you do when you're confined to your house? Well, there's astronomy, but the clouds have been clearing during the day and then returning after sunset. I've set up my rig a couple of times, only to tear it all down after an hour of staring at a starless sky.

What else can you do? Gardening, of course. Under lockdown 1.0 and especially 2.0, my garden came to be quite neat. Of course, Harley Rose, our new Labrador puppy hasn't really been good for the garden, unless you regard her as a very enthusiastic rotary hoe.

And birding.

I was out in the garden yesterday, trimming some plants, when I heard a begging call. It was coming from a thicket of Wattles. Eventually I spotted an Eastern Spinebill feeding a juvenile. By the time I'd retrieved my camera and attached the birding lens, the baby had disappeared, but a young female was poking around the Fuchsia near our cat run.

As I watched the bird flew right into the cat run. When you're as small as an Eastern Spinebill, this is literally going into the lion's den.

I took some photos through the fence as the bird browsed the flowers in there. I didn't know for sure, but I was pretty sure the cat was in there, probably lounging on a shelf up near the roof.

Was I about to see a Honeyeater turned into Steak Tartare?

Probably not.

My cat is 18 years old. Last time she went to the vet she was diagnosed with deafness and senility, and she hasn't had much in the way of teeth for some time. So she's not much of a threat to local wildlife that wanders into the cat enclosure, unless you happen to be a tin of mushy cat food.

No only did Tiara (who was named by a four year old who is now off her P-plates) not attack the Spinebill, she probably didn't even notice it.

Pretty soon, the Spinebill hopped back to the fence, pausing only for a photo before disappearing over the neighbour's fence.