drinking from the bird bath when I went out this morning. They are shy creatures so I stopped still and let him/her (difficult to tell when you can only see the rear end) finish drinking. Koalas do not drink a lot. They rely largely on the moisture from gum leaves but the weather has been dry. They have been coming down from the hills behind us looking for water. I have heard them in the night. They make a strange noise, a sort of squealing-grunt if that makes sense.
This one was small, probably quite young. This bird bath is a wide, flat glazed dish made by my uncle in the days when he was a potter. It is just the right height for a young koala, no danger of toppling in and being unable to get out. Koalas cannot swim.
He finished his drink and scampered off across the street. It is likely that he is currently living in a gum tree at the back of the houses opposite ours.
As soon as he had gone the birds came back. We have been filling both the bird baths twice a day for their benefit. Water play is a favourite activity at the beginning and end of a hot day. In between they seem to be too busy foraging. We have the usual blackbirds and pigeons and sparrows but we also have magpies, a couple of kookaburras, some brilliantly coloured mountain lorikeets and some honey eaters. Yesterday a family of swallows arrived en route to somewhere. All of them seem to enjoy diving into the available water with a splash. I watched the young swallows being taught how to do this. The water flies out of the dish. It dislodges insects around it. These are quickly caught as food. There was a lot of chatter, a little squabbling - soon sorted by one of the magpies. He sat on the edge of the dish looking like a bewigged and gowned judge and scolded everyone.
The cats have no hope here. They get dive bombed by the birds. "It's our water! Find your own water!"
I put out another bowl of water for the two visiting cats. Studiously ignoring each other they drink from opposite sides of the bowl. I wonder what they are thinking.