Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 257 - Variable Oystercatcher

Oystercatchers have to be one of my favourite types of bird - I can't help but think that they have a great deal of personality.

So, when I was in New Zealand at the start of the year, it was good to catch up with a new species.  This is the Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor). The scientific name is really rather funny in the context of the common name and the fact that the bird (in two of its colour phases) is clearly not unicolour at all!

This bird has an "all black" phase (which is highly appropriate really!), and intermediate phase, where there is some white on the belly and a 'pied' phase where most of the belly feathers are white.  Of course, there are also transitional phases as well.

The first set of pictures were taken at Muriwai, on New Zealand's North Island.  The second set were taken at Picton, on New Zealand's South Island.

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

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

To raise a smile

Far too many things in the news of late that are human created catastrophes - physical, political and environmental.

These images from India made me smile for a while, but surely we can do better than the mess we are making at present.

All the pictures were taken in Agra.

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

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 256 - Australasian Shoveler at Sunset

More shots from the hide at Edithvale for WBW this week.

Although many of the birds were keeping their distance on Sunday afternoon, a mixed group of ducks  spent the afternoon sorting out their feathers in the sunshine.  Towards the end of the afternoon the light took on a wonder golden colour and the ducks looked great.

Many of the ducks were Australasian Shovelers (Anas rhynchotis) - which can be identified by there large beak and (in the males) a blue/grey head.  There are also some Chestnut Teal and Eurasian Coots.

I went to the hide hoping to see the Shovelers, and they did not let me down.

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

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Views from the hide

I took another trip to the Edithvale Wetlands Hide this weekend - these are some of the birds that were loafing about in from of the hide.

Black Swan
Black Swan

Chestnut Teal

Chestneal Teal

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

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 254 - Hooded Parrot

Just like last week, these pictures are from the sports oval at Pine Creek, Northern Territory, Australia.

These rather magnificent birds are Hooded Parrots (Psephotus dissimilis).   This bird is only found in a limited area of the Northern Territory in Australia - so it won't come as much of a surprise to find out that I had not seen these birds before.  If the truth be told, these were not the hardest birds to find as there were dozens of them on and around the sports oval.

The name Psephotus dissimilis appears to reference how dissimilar the male and female of this species are; however, it has been pointed out that many, many birds show such differences, so this may not have really been the intention.  These birds nest in termite mounds an feed on the seeds of grasses, so they are dependant on open woody areas with (you guessed it) termite mounds.

The paler birds in these pictures are female.

Although these birds are hardly in their natural habitat - sprinkler heads are not native to Australia! - I like the way these images reference both the importance of water in the NT and the impact of humans on Australia's Top End.

As ever, to join in with WBW, just click the blue button below the thumbnails.  With luck I will catch up with comments and such like over the next few days.  SM

Monday, 5 June 2017

Australasian Grebe and Water-lilies

Only four more days until a long weekend - focus Stewart, you can make it.

And until I do, here are is an Australasian Grebe and some Water-lilies from Table Top Swamp, Northern Territory, to help me (and you) relax!

Normal service will be resumed in time for WBW!

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

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 253 - Grey-crowned Babbler

This week, I have gone back to the pictures I took during my trip to the Northern Territory at the end of 2016.

On the last but one night of the trip we stayed at Pine Creek - a town with a population of less than 700, that still manages to be the fourth largest town on the main road from Darwin to Alice Springs. In the Northern Territory the town are (generally) small and the distances (inevitably) large.

It comes as a bit of a shock to realise that the sports oval in Pine Creek is a bit of a birding hot spot.  There was at least one other group of birders there at the same time as us - we must have made up about 2% of the towns population that night!

One of the birds we had come to see was the Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis).  This is a species in rapid decline in SE Australia - so it was great to encounter a group of the almost as soon as we walked on to the sports oval.  These birds often move around in groups - which accounts for one of their other common names - Happy Family.  While I can find no evidence to support this claim, I like to think that the frequent contact calls that these bird make may have something to do with them being called Babblers.  As far as I can tell, these bird are of the sub-species rubeculus - with the rufous breast and the location being the main reasons for this identification.

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

Tuesday, 30 May 2017


I was not really able to spend much time away from crowds when I was in India - half a days birding just outside of Delhi was a quiet as it got - and there were still people about!

These are some of the people who caught my eye as I was wandering about just being amazed at the energy of the place.

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