Wednesday 28 September 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 218 - Bar-shouldered Dove

The call of the Bar-shouldered Dove as a kind of bird call white noise in the Northern Territory - in the end you stop hearing it and only notice it when its not there!

These pictures were all taken at East Point in Darwin, which is a public park.  A number of people found it rather interesting that there was a group of people sporting lenses of various sizes at what is basically one of the commonest birds in the region.  I explained that we were from 'down south' and that seen to suffice.

Both of the Bar-shouldered Doves names (Geopelia humeralis) refer to its shoulders, even if the barring is really on the neck of the bird.

We saw these birds every day and almost everywhere when I was in NT, and despite them being rather common I do like them.  The antics of the pair of birds in the first pictures also made me smile I lot!

So, now its over you you.  Click the blue button and off you go.  Don't forget to visit the other WBWers on the page, and feel free to encourage new bloggers to join in.  SM

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Rock Art 2 - Contact

In some ways I find this type of Aboriginal rock art the most fascinating - this is Contact Art; rock art that was made in response to the coming of Europeans to Australia. It marks the start of something very new, but in many ways it also marked the ending, or at least change of an almost unthinkable scale, of something so old that most of us can't really get out brains around it.

The aboriginal cultures are the oldest extant cultures on Earth.  We (Australians) would do well to remember that a little more often.

The 'white man' image is one of my favourites as it shows to wonderfully observant features - first the figure as no hands - because the person has their hands in their pockets - and secondly it has very big feet - because the person is wearing boots.  I wonder what thoughts and conversations ran around the fire the night before that painting was made.

The hand / arm images show the fine silk gloves worn by European ladies at the time.

But possibly most remarkable is the image of the boat - this was drawn at a site called Nanguluwr in Kakadu.  This may not be a British ship, but could be Dutch, as these boats had been sailing the waters to the north of Australia for a number of years before Cook 'discovered' the east coast of Australia.

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

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 217 - Magpie Goose

After I posted this image last week, a number of people asked what the birds were and what they looked like.

Well, the birds Magpie Geese (Anseranas semipalmata).  The magpie comes from their black and white colour - almost anything in Australia that is black and white is called a 'Magpie' something.  The Goose come from the way it looks!  The semipalmata of the scientific name refers to the fact the these birds only have half webbed feet.

That feature, and a few others, mean that this species is a bit of a loner in the world of classification - there are no other birds in the genus Anseranas  and in fact this is the only genus in its family as well.  Which leads to the type of conclusion that I love, where the Magpie Goose is neither a Magpie nor a Goose!  (And its not a big duck either!)

Anyway, this bird used to be widespread in SE Australia, but it now only really common in Northern Australia. The large knob on the head of some of these birds show that they are males.

The bird in the last image is a juvenile bird - and does not yet have the white neck of the adult.

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Tuesday 20 September 2016

Rock Art 1

One of the non-birding things I was looking forward to during my recent trip to Darwin was revisiting some rock art sites I had not been to since I owned a digital camera - all the images I had of these places from earlier visits were on slides.  (If you dont know what these are, you are either one of my younger readers, or I much older than I think!)

These images were taken at the famous Ubirr art site in Kakadu.  I will be creating a few posts containing image of rock art - which posses a bit of issue for me.  My understanding of what these images signify is almost nil, so any attempt by me to explain what the images would almost certainly be wrong.  I am also aware that the broad function of much of this art is to allow people to tell their own story - and its not my story to tell.  So, I am going to post the images will minimal comment (except one set) and simply leave it to the images to convey the sophistication of the culture that create them.

The main image on the rock is of a wallaby - possibly Agile Wallaby.  And the white figure, is a white person - I'll post more about that image later.  The Moth is Dysphania unmana or the 4 O'Clock Moth. It gets its common name as it is a day flying moth.

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

Thursday 15 September 2016

Northern Sky

This picture was taken at Mamukala, Northern Territory - the birds are Magpie Geese.

You can find more sky shots at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 216 - Forest Kingfisher

Kingfishers are really rather wonderful birds. And as a result I was really pleased to have the chance to photograph some when I was in the Northern Territory.

On the first day of the tour, more or less at the first place we stopped at, we found a Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii) showing rather well on a wire fence.  This bird was rather more obliging than many kingfishers I have tried to photograph, and as such I was able to get a little closer to it than normal.

The Forest Kingfisher is about 20cm long and it is not a bird I get to see in South East Australia, as it has a more northern distribution.  Although its name is 'forest' this bird can be found in a range of habitats, often near water, where it feeds on insects, small lizards and frogs.

To join in with Wild Bird Wednesday, just click on the blue button below;

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Agile Wallaby

During my time in the Northern Territory that Agile Wallaby was the most common 'kangaroo' type animal we saw.  We had short views of Bandicoot and Antilopine Wallaroo, but I did not get any pictures.  I have to say I wish I had got dome pictures of the second species, just to be able to have a post titled with that name!

Agile Wallaby are the most common kangaroo in the tropical, coastal areas of Northern Australia - with in a nutshell describes where I spent my time when I was there.

Male Macropus agillis can weigh up to about 30 kg, with female being about half that size.

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

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 215 - Masked Lapwing

Sometimes it is hard to keep up with things - and that seems especially true for the taxonomy of birds.  Species are split - so that what was once a single species becomes two or even more.  And species are 'lumped', where two species that were once considered separate become just one.

Some people can't see the point of such endeavours, but as I tend to point out at such times, we can't protect the things we don't know exist.

The Masked Lapwing is a point in case, where a species that was considered to have two sub-species is now considered to be two separate species.   In southern Australia, what was once a sub-species is now a full species, called the Black-shouldered Lapwing  and the birds found in Northern Australia are considered to be 'true' Masked Lapwings.

The difference between these two birds is pretty clear - and you can see some picture of the Black-shouldered Lapwing here (although I had not caught up with the change of name at that point in time!) although even it that post there is a comment about classification.

So, here (for the time being!) we have the Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles).  These birds were foraging on the beach in Darwin.  They were either much more relaxed than their southern relatives, or just used to people as they came much closer to me that I had expected.

These birds differ from their southern 'cousins' in that they lack the clear black shoulder marks, and that the yellow wattles on their face in much larger.  When seen head on, the yellow mask behind the back can been seen to be swollen to such an extent that it seems the birds cannot see forward!  Strange.

I think the bird in the last picture is keeping its eye on a Kite that was circling above the beach.

Now, click on the blue button to join in.  cheers  SM

Tuesday 6 September 2016

The view from Salt

I am told that Salt is a rather well know restaurant - that may well be the case, but such things are beyond me!

I am just back from a week in Jakarta - its the first time I have done a trip like this an not taken any meaningful photographic gear - the schedule was pretty hectic, even if I did end up with a spare morning on Friday.

This picture was taken from Salt, and is not even taken wth my phone!

Typically, there was a lightning storm over Jakarta as we were eating dinner, which would have been great to try and capture!  I think I need to get a compact of some kind!

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

Friday 2 September 2016


No series of posts from the Northern Territory would be complete without some images of crocodiles.  Due to a bit of a mix up with identification in the past, some of the best places to see crocs in the NT are on the East, West and South Alligator Rivers!  These rivers were given these names by an American Explorer who had never seen a croc, but had seen a 'gator!

The last image here is of a captive croc called Brutus - as you can see he is rather large!  Each year there are fatal croc attacks in the NT - often caused by less than thoughtful behaviour by people, and entirely natural behaviour by the crocs.  Of course, its the crocs that take the blame!

Interestingly, you can see a radio tag/ beacon on the crocodile in the second shot - he is being tracked as part of a study. I was told the other crocodiles tend not to hang around with him since he got the tracking pack - and the local call him Nigel No Mates!