Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Wild Bird Wednesday 339 - Wood Hen

Last week I was luck enough to be back on Lord Howe Island.  LHI is about 800 km north-east of Sydney, and (in my opinion) is one of the most remarkable places I have ever seen.  Tiny, isolated, rich with wildlife and just flat out special.

If you even get a hint of a chance to visit, take it.

One of the special species on the island is the Wood Hen (Gallirallus sylvestris).  This species is endemic to LHI and was almost lost not that long ago when its population fell to very low levels, mostly due to being eaten - at first by settlers and then by the animals they brought with them.  Thankfully, the population has recovered somewhat thanks to a range of conservation efforts.

These pictures were taken as I was walking (very slowly) up Mt. Gower, the highest point on the island.  These birds were almost as interested in me as I was in them - which was a good job as I only had a 35mm lens!










As ever, to join in with WBW click on the blue button below the thumbnails.  

Feel free to spread the word about our little birding community in 2019. SM.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Wild Bird Wednesday 338 - Red-necked Avocet

The Red-necked Avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae) is a wonderful bird that is endemic to Australia.  It can be found throughout much of Australia, but breeds (often in groups) on the edges of ephemeral lakes after heavy rain.  This means that they can 'disappear' from an area for a while when they are breeding else where.

I found this birds (surprise, surprise) at the Werribee Sewage works where there were very busily feeding.  I always find it strange just how well this species can swim.






As ever, to join in with WBW click on the blue button below the thumbnails.  

Feel free to spread the word about our little birding community in 2019. SM.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

A morning on Dartmoor

Near the end of last year I was lucky enough to be able to spend a week back in Somerset and a few places near it.

Dartmoor is an moorland area which climbs to just over 2000 feet above sea level.  The tops of many of the hills are crowned with Tors - bare outcrops of the granite that forms the area.  Dartmoor has been home to people for a very long time.  It has many dozens of archeological sites scattered over its landscape.

The single standing stone in the picture, and the cross scratched into the stone may be of very different ages, but I think that they show that this is a landscape that people find significant.

One fine morning I walked up to the top of Great Mis Tor with a great friend of mine.  It was a short walk walk, but not all good walks are about the distance travelled.















You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Wild Bird Wednesday 337 - Himantopus leucocephalus

You may have noticed a difference here this week - I normally use the common name of a bird in the title for a WBW post.  That works well when people have agreed what the common name is - this is not the case with Himantopus leucocephalus.  This bird has had a number of name changes in the last few years, and few of my books agree on what the common name is.

My most recent field guide says that Himantopus leucocephalus is also known as the White-headed Stilt, but it has also been called the Black-winged and Pied Stilt.  If the truth be told, some book even use a different scientific name.

Whatever it's called its a nice bird, although (once again) the harsh Australian mid-day sun made the pictures a bit of a challenge.

These pictures were all taken at Werribee Sewage Works, where a Tufted Duck appeared this week - and that's a first for Australia.  Needless to say, I am at work this week!










As ever, to join in with WBW click on the blue button below the thumbnails.  

Feel free to spread the word about our little birding community in 2019. SM.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Wild Bird Wednesday 336 - Glossy Ibis

The Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) is found over six of the world's continents. However it is not a common bird in Victoria.  As a result I was pleased to find a couple feeding (very actively) near the edge of a pool at the WTP - Werribee Sewage Plant.

These birds seemed to spend almost all of their time with their faces in the water, which made phohtogpahy rather hard!  Equally, their dark colour and the intense, flat light of an Australian summer day did not make things any easier!

The scientific name of this species refers to its sickle shaped beak, and an interesting, but now redundant, common name for the species was Black Curlew, which makes sense based on its general form.










You can see from these pictures that the bird's feathers have an almost metallic sheen, and its general colour is described as 'purplish brown, glossed bronze or green'.  You take you pick.

As ever, to join in with WBW click on the blue button below the thumbnails.  

Feel free to spread the word about our little birding community in 2019. SM.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Chagford

One of the great things about 2018 was that I got to spend a week back in the South West of England - this is where I was born, and where I lived until I was about 20.

One of the places I visited when I was back was Chagford, a wonderful little village on the edge of Dartmoor.  There may be places that are more English than this little corner of the world, but on the other hand there may not be!

I can recommend The Three Crowns - although there are a decent number of other option as well.

Like many English villages, Chagford huddles around its church - in this case the church of St Michael the Archangel. This church was consecrated in July 1261!








 This last picture was not taken in the church!


You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.


The end of 2018.

It would be reasonable to say that the end of 2018 has been a bit up and down for me.  I did a six day walk in Tasmania with H, which was truly remarkable, and I had to say goodbye to our wonderful old cat Mr. Hudson, which was truely awful.  I won't forget either event in a hurry.

"There's a little bit of magic in everything, and then some loss to even things out".

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year.  SM