Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 391 - Starlings

When we were in the UK we spent a couple of hours at the RSPB Reserve at Ham Walls in Somerset.  This reserve is only about 30 minutes from where I was born - so I always like to visit if I am in that part of the world.

In the winter huge flocks of Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) gather there in the evenings to roost in the reed beds. Before they 'settled in for the night' they fly around in (often) huge flocks called murmurations.  The day before we went it was estimated that there were 250,000 birds in the roost, and I can see no reason why there would have been less on the day we were there.

It was pretty remarkable to watch, as flock after flock joined the roost.  By the time most of the birds had arrived it was getting dark, at this time it seemed some form of collective decision was made to move to another part of the reed bed a couple of hundred meters away.   It was too dark for photography, but watching the birds stream from one part of the reed bed to another was truly remarkable.

Ham Walls Reserve is a good place to visit at any time of the year, but this was my first winter trip.  I hope it wont be the last.








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Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Out and about in Oslo

Hi there - we are back from our grand adventure to the Northern Hemisphere - although I suspect my body clock is still set to Norway time!

These are a selection of pictures I took as we were wandering around Oslo.  Wonderful city.








I'm not really that much of a city person - but I do like the chance to take some more abstract type images.  And the sunsets and sunrises were pretty special.

Thanks for all the enquiries about my / our safety in relation to the fires.  We are fine - although many areas have been hit very hard. 

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

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 390 - Northern Rosella

The Northern Rosella (Platycercus venustus) is a rather splendid looking parrot that is only found in the central northern section of Australia - hence the name!

It is the only Australian parrot with a black cap and pale cheeks.  Given it lives in the north of Australia, and I dont, my trip to Darwin last year gave me the first real chance I had had to photograph this species.

Although I saw them on a number of occasions, I found then to be rather timid - much like the Eastern Roselllas I see at home.

I managed to get these shots in - wait for it - the camp site at Katherine.  I suppose birds in camp sites become a little less timid due to the near constant company of people.








As ever, you can join in with WBW by clicking on the link below - and also as ever, please feel free to share WBW with other bloggers.   SM


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Monday, 6 January 2020

Buttermere

While we were in the UK's Lake District we went for a bit of a walk near Buttermere - in good weather its a wonderful place, and it's pretty good in dismal weather too.

Unfortunately the weather on our walk was at the dismal end of the spectrum!  Oh well - the sausage rolls in the cafe were mighty fine!










Hard to think we were walking in this place when so much of Australia is on fire.

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

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 389 - Red-collared Lorikeet

Well, Happy New Year!  And WBW rolls into another year.

The Red-collared Lorikeet (Trichoglossus rubritorquis) is very closely related to the rather more well known Rainbow Lorikeet.  In fact for a while the Red-collared was considered to be a subspecies of the Rainbow.  Most studies now consider it to be a full species.

Whatever its taxonomic status, it is a common bird in the Top End of Australia, where it replaces the more widespread Rainbow Lorikeet.  These birds were feeding in gum trees in the camp site we stayed in in Katherine.

I think that these birds may be feeding on 'lerps' on the leaves.  Lerps are the sugary crystal case that some species of bugs form over themselves for protection in their larval stage.  I must be a bit like snacking on sugar cubes!










As ever, you can join in with WBW by clicking on the link below - and also as ever, please feel free to share WBW with other bloggers.   SM



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Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Wild Bird Wednesday 388 - Blue-faced honeyeater

Well, Happy Christmas to you all.  Hope you have a great day, and that the birds at you feeders get some presents too.

This bird, bright as a Christmas Tree Decoration, is a Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis).  The bird in the tree was taken at the camp site at Bitter Springs, and the one on the tap was taken at the camp site in Katherine.  Another couple of examples of how good the birding can be in camp and car parks!

These birds are of the sub-species that has pale underwings and a longer beak than other birds of the species.  The bird on the tap is not a full adult, as the patch around its eye is not fully blue.

I rather like the shot of the bird in the tree with a drip of 'honey' on the tip of its beak.  The tree is a gum (eucalyptus) of some sort and it was a alive with birds, if only briefly when I went for a morning walk.












As ever, you can join in with WBW by clicking on the link below - and also as ever, please feel free to share WBW with other bloggers.   SM

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