Yellow tailed black cockatoos feeding in tree
Best of times for birds and fruit

This time of year is the best for birds.

Just off our front verandah a pair of tiny Eastern Spinebills spend the day like hummingbirds flitting in and out of the flowers of a big pineapple sage bush.

When a couple of New Holland Honeyeaters pass through the Spinebills dive for cover, just momentarily mind you, they’re back as soon as the big birds are out of view.

A family of currawongs have taken up residence in our driveway, they’re forever in my peripheral vision and my ears.  This morning they were up in a blackwood running through their calls together like a choir warming up.

Crimson rosellas zoom in and out of the garden and the red wattlebirds are even more boisterous and territorial over their banksia flowers than ever.

This year unusually large flocks of yellow tailed black cockatoos, (sometimes 50 or more), have come down. They tear up the pine cones and generally bring a lot of joy. If you clap when they fly over they’ll show you their yellow tail feathers. 

Wedgetails are around too, patrolling the skies and making all birds nervous while they busily getting things sorted before winter and breeding season.

When the birds are busy it’s no coincidence that there’s also a lot of fruit about and for me this is the best time of year for fruit.

Persimmon fruit ripening on bare winter tree

I’ve already written at length about feijoas – but there’s so much more and the bonus that comes with these fruits is they’re full of the things we need to get through the cold and flu season. 

If you’re lucky enough to have a strawberry guava or know of a pavement accessible tree then just 100 grams of this marble-sized sweet-tart treat has got your entire daily vitamin C needs covered.

Even rarer are tamarillo –  with shiny red, orange or yellow skins, these egg-shaped fruits from South America are another vitamin C packed flavour bomb.

Persimmons are ready too; perfect orange orbs on bare branches like a Japanese print, I wish I liked them but they’re too jellyey for me, for some though, they’re pure heaven.

Speaking of vitamin C it’s a good year for citrus – there are lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges and grapefruits a-plenty.

If you have friends or family with citrus trees now’s the time to pop around and help them with their surplus.

Or, if you have a tree full of fruit you can’t keep up with, then be like a yellow tailed black cockatoo in a pine tree and drop your fruit where others can share it.  It can be as simple as putting a box out on the street for people to take from.

This evening I dropped off two buckets of Chinese quinces to my neighbour Alan. The quinces came from another neighbour who doesn’t like them. Alan will turn the unloved fruits into quince paste and redistribute it in his trademark ramekins sealed with brown paper  – a virtuous and tasty backyard fruit circle.

Fair Food has feijoas, quince and persimmon but often these fruits and the others mentioned are hard to come by.  If you’ve got a bit space and you’d like to grow some of these trees at home you can find them and some great growing advice at CERES Nursery.

Jemima, Iminamuck Ecological & Ethical Farm
Sharing the love

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Have a great week



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