Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 175 - Red-Tailed Tropicbird

The Red-Tailed Tropicbird was the bird I was most looking forward to seeing on my recent trip to Lord Howe Island.  This magnificent bird is used a great deal in the publicity shots for the island, so I was keen to see one (or more) for myself.

I saw some of these birds on the second day I was there, during my climb up Mount Gower.  I think I was the only person in that group who became excited at the sight of these birds, which may be explained by the fact that the walk itself was pretty tough!

I got much better views later in the week, and I was once more very pleased to be in the digital age of photography.  Photographing moving, almost pure white birds against a bright blue sky was a bit of a challenge - and I got better results from my second set of efforts than the first!

I got great views of these birds doing their courtship flights where they circle around each other in the air.  I was also pointed in the direction of a bird that was nesting on the ground.  While this bird was determinedly hidden in bush, I was surprised at how big they were.

The bird has a rather short tail apart from the long red tail streamers that give the bird its common name.  This means the birds look a bit stubby in flight.  Their tendency to use their outstretched feet as air brakes also add a somewhat inelegant look to these birds - but they are wonderful to watch.

Their formal name - Phaethon rubricauda - means 'red-tailed shiner' and in bright light they live up to that name.

This post is a bit image heavy - they really are wonderful birds.  If I saw one bird that made the trip to LHI worth while it was this bird - and I saw many more as well!

















I think you may get a better view of the pictures by clicking on one and having a look at them as a 'gallery.

Now it's your turn - click the blue button on off you go.

37 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

how neat! like a thin rudder or a kite string for a tail. :)

i can finally link in again today. :)

eileeninmd said...

Hello Stewart, the Red-tailed Tropicbird is a lovely bird. Awesome series of images. Thanks for hosting, enjoy your week!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Beautiful series. I think there was one reported out on the Gulf this past summer....some spotted it while out on a boat. How exciting to see one and get such awesome photos.

Richard Pegler said...

Stunningly beautiful birds, Stewart, and excellent photography. It really paid off to 'click the pic' and see them at larger size. Well done!

Best wishes - - - Richard

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

I can appreciate your excitement. I get a grin every time I see an ibis in the neighborhood, and for us those are like pigeons to others.

Those tails are awesome. Beautiful creatures.

Wally Jones said...

I would likely have fallen off the mountain with such beauty in the air! Spectacular birds and your images really do them justice! Looking down on the birds is especially nice.

Looks like you had a great trip, Stewart! More images in the offing? (I'm greedy that way.)

Cheers - Wally

Sharon Wagner said...

The back light sky shots are amazing. So beautiful.

Sylvia K said...

Ah, I do love your birds for the day -- of course, I always do, but these are really special!! Hope your week is going well, Stewart!!

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Those are wonderful photos of that elegant bird (until you pointed out a couple of its inelegant features which I will choose to ignore -- smiley face) This really did make the trip worthwhile!

Adam Jones said...

That's a smashing looking bird and awesome flight shots. Superb!

NatureFootstep said...

wow, that´s a bird worth climbing a mountain for :) Beautiful and you got great shots. Thanks for sharing them :)

Jo said...

Hi Stewart, your post was never too image heavy for me. I did click on the photos and view them in the gallery. *sigh* too beautiful, the birds and your photography. Thank you for sharing and also for hosting this meme. It keeps me on my toes, even if I only post common "ole" birds these days from South Africa. LOL! I'll link up tomorrow: Wednesday. Greetings Jo

Rhodesia said...

What interesting birds, that tail is amazing, great shots. Diane

Linda W. said...

Glad you got to see this bird. Wonderful shots of it in flight!

mick said...

Great in-flight photos. I saw several of these birds nesting on the ground when I visited Lady Eliot Island a couple of years ago. They did not seem at all disturbed by people watching them - maybe because all the birds know that the whole island is a sanctuary.

pattisjarrett said...

So gad you got to see these birds--and share them with us. The tail is quite unique.

Andrea Priebe said...

I have to agree, what a unique and beautiful bird. Angelic almost were it not for it's big feet and that almost wicked looking streamer ... reminds me of the Stingray and how one killed Steve Irwin ... sorry, I digress :( Anyway a close up of the red streamers is quite beautiful. You are forever finding wonderful birds to share with us ... have to admit, this one lands near the top of the list. I am beginning to understand why Lord Howe Island drew you to it ... very exciting even when observing from a distance :)

Andrea @ From The Sol

Adam Tilt said...

Corker of a bird Stewart. Great shots.

edenhills said...

Those are amazing images! What a tail!

Silver Parrot said...

Such pretty birds! I love the flight shots with the sun through their wing feathers - like angels!

Brian King said...

Beautiful flight photos, Stewart! They appear to be hovering!

Beth said...

What an interesting bird Stewart. That tail is quite unique.

lisa lewicki hermanson said...

Great shots in flight - and nesting !

Marie C said...

Stunning photos! I love this bird...we used to see it all the time on Midway Island and this sure brings back memories for me! So glad you got to see them!

Small City Scenes said...

Quite a beautiful bird and I love the eye liner too.
MB

Margaret Adamson said...

A wonderful bird to see and grat images.Marvellous that you saw on on her nest. Thanks for hosting

Lea said...

Great photos of a lovely bird!

Dave said...

Nice work Stewart. Lovely bird and when you have the excitement of hoping to see one (or more) when planning a trip gives a real thrill when it comes off. Its always better when you get the shots to remember them by......

Marcia said...

Magnificent. What incredible shots you got. I did look up Lord Howe Island and that Pyramid on Google Earth. You will have to post some of your photos to Google Earth.

Chris Rohrer said...

Nice pics! I've only seen this bird only once and it's awesome. And it's not always easy getting decent pics:)

Missy George said...

Great pictures Stewart..That's quite a tail..

diane b said...

Love its tail. Great shots too. I don't remember seeing them when I was their but I wasn't much interested in photographing birds then. I do remember the unusual antics of the mutton bird.

Liz Needle said...

Amazing series of shots. I especially love the ones with the sea as a background. Wonderful contrast of colours.

A Quiet Corner said...

What an AWESOME "following" this bird has, Stewart!! ...:)JP

Marilyn Kircus said...

Never too heavy. But it did take several pictures before I found the red tail.

orchid Miyako said...

Wow; how wonderful to know this lovely bird with red tail♪ Must have been really exciting.
I hope I will have more birds linking for you, Thank you SO much for hosting.
Sincerely from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

David Gascoigne said...

Great images and as you say it's a wonderfully enigmatic species. I have seen Red-billed Tropicbird in the Caribbean. Can we trade a few? I can understand why your camera refused to stop clicking!