Wednesday 29 March 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 244 - Australasian Gannet or Tākapu (Part 1)

I have noticed that many of my bird posts are of single or small groups of birds.  It occurred to me that this sometimes misses the point of how wonderful large groups of birds can look.

So, this week, here are some large groups of birds - or maybe here is a large group of birds.

These are Australasian Gannet or Tākapu to give them their Māori name. There seems to be some variation across the web as to the scientific name of this species - so I will go with the one used on the Birds Australia web site - Morus serrator.

These pictures were taken at Muriwai, on the North Island of New Zealand.  You can see adult birds, and well developed younger birds and at least one smaller chick in these pictures.

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

I have received a couple of negative emails (not as comments on my blog) in the past month, and while I don't mind feedback, it would remind anybody who reads this that I am a full time husband and Dad, full time worker and only a part time blogger and an amateur photographer , so I can't always stay 100% up to date with the blog, or produce show stopping pictures at will! - much as I would like to. SM

Monday 27 March 2017

The Things They Left Behind 5 - Buller Gorge

When we were in New Zealand we went for a walk around an area called Buller Gorge - this used to be many alluvial gold mines in the area, but most have now closed.

It comes as a bit of a surprise to find an abandoned digger in the middle of the bush!  But there it was.  And further on there was a truck of some sort and other bite and pieces.   Although some of the machines looked older, much of this debris only dates from the 1980s - which I suppose is old by some peoples reckoning!

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

Friday 24 March 2017

A land of contrasts

These pictures were taken from a moving car on the 'expressway' from Agra to Delhi, just as the Sun was setting.

One part of that journey was dominated by the chimneys of what I take to be brick works - tall chimneys belching smoke surrounded by deep pits where clay (?) had been removed.  I wondered if this was a window into what some landscapes looked like at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution - heavy industry still set within a rural landscape.    Whatever the truth of this idea, it really is an example of India being a land of contrasts.

You can find more skies at Sky Watch Friday.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 243 - Rose-ringed Parakeet

The Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) was a vocal and common resident of the Lodi Gardens in New Delhi.  This bird is very wide spread in Asia and Africa and it is the only naturalised parrot in the UK.  This seems to suggest that it is an adaptable bird!

This species is about 40cm long.  While I am not an expert on such things, I think that the black 'collar' on this bird shows that it is a male.

The next set of picture were taken in the gardens around the Taj Mahal - which just goes to show that there is more to see there than just a remarkable building!

As ever, to join in with WBW click on the link below. cheers  SM

Tuesday 21 March 2017

A walk in a garden

The Lodhi Gardens in New Delhi cover about 90 acres of land and is populated with people, palm squirrels and lots and lots of monuments.  I went for a walk there on my 'recovery' day, prior to starting work the next day, on my recent trip to India.  I was rather slack on keeping notes of what was what and who was who - so, here are some pictures just to give a feel of the place.

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

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 242 - Tui

The Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) is an endemic that is common throughout New Zealand.  This species was one of the first birds I identified in the garden of our accommodation in Auckland.

The Tui is one of the largest honeyeaters, and is a little bigger than most thrushes.  Because of the white  throat tufts, this bird is sometimes called The Parson Bird.  In dull light they can look almost black, but when they catch the sunlight, their feathers taken on a metallic sheen.

These images were all taken in the Queen Charlotte Sound area of South Island.

My main computer is off having emergency surgery this week - and my bank account is on life support, so I will have work my way around these issues for a week or so!

Tuesday 14 March 2017

A walk in the park

I spent last week in Jakarta, Indonesia. As ever, things were far more hectic than I anticipated - I must be a slow learner. This was the second trip in a month and I have to say I am looking forward to spending a few consecutive weeks at home!

On the morning of my last day in Jakarta I went for a walk around that National Monument Park - I was guided by a local bird guide, who is excellent.  Unfortunately from a birding point of view the park was very busy with preparations for some form of military display.  However, we did get to see Javan Pied Starling, which is a bit of a rarity.

Given that the birding was a bit quiet I took up my second hobby - photographing people (and cats).  I did not get any pictures of the 2000 or more soldiers there as most of them had a 'don't point that camera at me' face, and the 250+ people all dressed in red and dancing to the "Chicken Dance" was so surreal I was to stunned to do more than watch!

The National Monument

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

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 241 - Kea

New Zealand is a remarkable place.  Apart from bats its has not native terrestrial mammals.  In the absence of native cats, rats and rabbits, birds have evolved that fill some of the ecological niches left vacant by the absence of mammals.  Another way of looking at this is to consider New Zealand as a possible example of what the worlds ecosystems would have looked like if they had not come to be dominated by mammals after the extinction event that removed dinosaurs.

One of the birds that has filled a 'mammal niche' is the Kea (Nestor notabilis).  This is a large parrot - about 50cm long - with mostly green feathers, although it shows orange under its wings and tail.

This bird has a surprisingly large curved beak which it uses to find food.  Its food includes roots, berries and insects, but it will also take carrion and has been recently filmed feeding on the 'back fat' of sheep.  Like many parrots the Kea is intelligent and inquisitive.  These traits have led it to gain a bit of a reputation as a vandal, as they tend to explore new materials and objects in there environment.  Unfortunately, this includes parked car where they seem to have bit of a fondness for the rubber seals around car doors and windscreens.  

The Kea is the worlds only Alpine parrot and the one in these pictures visited us as we were have a cup of coffee at Arthurs Pass in South Island.  This individual was very keen to have a look - and maybe a feed - inside my bag and camera case!  Given that it can't be all that easy to find food in the high mountains, this 'searching' behaviour of new and novel materials is certainly adaptive.  It's also rather entertaining!

As ever, click the blue button to join in with WBW!

Tuesday 7 March 2017


It's hard to escape from food in Delhi - most street corners and road junctions contain a few stalls selling food of some kind or another.  There are fruit sellers, potato fryers, peanut vendors and butter milk hawkers everywhere.

However, despite such abundance, it may be wise as a tourist, with a flimsy western immune system, to be very careful about such food.  The last time I was in India - which was 26 years ago - I succumbed to the gastric collapse that is not uncommon for visitors.  Luckily this time I did not suffer such a fate!

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