Wednesday 29 August 2018

Wild Bird Wednesday 318 - Australasian Darter

I spent a few hours the weekend at a lake called Jells Park - it was great to be able to just sit in the hide and see what came along.  As you may guess its been busy!

This is an Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae).  As you can see this bird is doing the classic 'feather drying' pose - although this behaviour may also be to do with temperature regulation as well.

The duck in the foreground of two of the shots is a Pink-eared Duck.

I hope to catch up with comments soon!

To link up with WBW just click the blue button below.  SM 

Friday 24 August 2018

Norman Point Skies

You may have noticed that I rather like Wilsons Promontory National Park.  These are some sky shots taken from Norman Point - which is about an hours (slow) walk from Tidal River.

You can find more skies from around the world at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Wild Bird Wednesday 317 - Helmeted Friarbird

This is a rather older picture than usual - it was taken a couple of years ago in Kakadu National Park, near the Nourlangie area.

This bird is a young Helmeted Friar Bird (Philemon buceroides). On the other hand it may be a Silver Headed Friarbird (although I dont think so)  - anybody who can identify with more certainty than me is welcome to comment!

Any this bird is about 30 to 35 cm long, and is only found in the northern parts of Australia.  When I Was taking these shots I remember thinking that the light was really not that great - too muck back light and such like.

To join in with WBW click on the blue button below the thumbnails.  Cheers - SM

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Tidal River

Tidal River is the focus of Wilsons Promontory National Park.  The river itself runs over a sandy beach before it reaches the sea.  In summer its a very popular place for gentle swimming and generally cooling off.  It's a popular location when its hot - it's why we go to The Prom in the winter!

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

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Wild Bird Wednesday 316 - Pacific Gull

The Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus) is the largest gull in Australia, with a wingspan that can exceed 1.5m and a weight over 1kg.  The beak of this bird is huge - and it is very characteristic of this species (although it's size is pretty diagnostic in Australia too!)

Thie individual was loafing about in the car park at tidal river, and unlike many of the other creatures in that area was not over fond of people and cameras.

All is all this is a rather impressive bird!

To join in with WBW click on the blue button below the thumbnails.  Cheers - SM

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Wild Bird Wednesday 315 - Australasian Grebe

I took a brief walk around one of my local wetland sites this weekend - its recently had a lot of work done to it, replacing an old boardwalk and such like.  It seemed pretty quiet at first - which was not a surprise given how much disturbance the work must have caused - but eventually this Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) emerged from the reeds.

As you can see, it was not a windy day!  Also you can see how the grebe managed to dislodge a feature from its body when it was having a bit of a shake.  Keep an eye open for the big, flanged feet.

To join in with WBW click on the blue button below the thumbnails.  Cheers - SM

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Black Wallaby / Swamp Wallaby

This is a Black or Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor).  This relaxed looking individual was having a good feed around the camp sites at Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory National Park.

This species is common all along the east coast of Australia, and can be found in a variety of habitats. Like many of the animals at Wilson Prom, this individual is clearly used to being in the proximity of people.

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

Sunday 5 August 2018

A review of Wunderbird Clothing.

Wunderbird produce a range of specialist birding clothes and equipment.  I was given two articles of clothing to check out.  This is my review.

When I started bird watching – it wasn’t called bird then – the closest you got to specialist clothing were wax cotton jackets, long green Hunter Wellies and ex-army jackets and jumpers.  Winter hats were woollen, and if it ever got hot you wore a tour tee shirt.  That was about it.

Jump forward to today, and the world has changed.   When I was contacted by Wunderbird, to see if I would write a review of their specialist bird watching clothing, I was, to say the least, sceptical.  But, never look a gift horse in the mouth.

A week or so later a package arrived from the UK containing two garments – a hooded jacket, known as a Gyrfalcon and a long sleeved tee shirt known as a Peregrine.  First impressions were very favourable.  The jacket was robust looking, and neatly stitched.  The tee shirt was similar in quality, although it looked to be made from a lighter grade of fabric.  But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, or wearing in this case.

The Gyrfalcon looks a lot like a hoddie, and is designed to be worn as an outer layer.  The body and sleeves of the Gyrfalcon have a fleece like inner surface, and a dense rather shiny outer, which is wind proof rather then waterproof.  There are three main pockets on the front of the jacket, a zipped pocket at the top – which is designed to hold binoculars and take the weight off your neck – and two larger pouch pockets at the bottom.  The shoulders are thinly padded.

The Peregrine is basically a long sleeved tee shirt, with lightly padded shoulder (they seem to have the same amount of padding as the Gyrfalcon).  The body of the shirt is made from a light fabric, similar to that used in sports shirts. There are two zipped pockets on the front, again designed to support binoculars.  The side panels of the Peregrine are made from a lighter mesh material for extra ventilation.

So much for the details – how do they wear?  As it’s winter here right now I have use the Gyrfalcon far more than the Peregrine, and found it to be very good.  As a jacket it is surprisingly warm, especially if you flip up the hood.  I wore a light thermal under the Gyrfalcon while sitting on a windy cliff looking for whales (proving that its not all bird watching) and was comfortably warm.  I did not really embrace the pockets for holding my binoculars, maybe more from habit than anything else.  But I found the lower pouch pockets well placed and comfortable.

Initially I did find the cut of the Gyrfalcon (and the Peregrine from that matter) a little strange.  The shoulders seemed narrow and the sleeves a little long.  But that opinion changed quite quickly when I used the jacket.  The firm fit allowed me to wear a waterproof jacket over the top of the Gyrfalcon without the shoulders wrinkling up. While sitting down (I use my car a mobile hide) I found that the longer sleeves did not ride up when I lifted my arms to use binoculars. So, my initial reaction was wrong – and I now like the cut.   I suspect that this garment will get a lot of use in the Australian winter. 

The padded shoulders worked really well – and seem to be the right balance between padding and bulk.  I carry a camera and long lens on a monopod most of the time I am birding, and the shoulder pads made a real difference.

Because it is winter, I have not used the Peregrine as much as the Gyrfalcon.  However, in my brief usage I found it to be as practical as the hoddie.  The long sleeves will provide the kind of sun-protection that I need in Australia,  and the mesh panels will provide good ventilation.

So, what’s my conclusion?

I really like these products – and think they will make a days birding just a bit more comfortable.  In the end I don’t think you can ask clothes to do much more.

You can find these products (and a number more) at this web-site: .  If you happen to purchase anything after clicking on this link, I will get a commission.  I suppose I have entered the 21st Century!  SM

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Wild Bird Wednesday 314 - Laughing Kookaburra

I need to do a quick post today - so, I'll go with one of my favourite birds, the Laughing kookaburra.  Even though I have photographed these birds many times, I almost always take 'just a few more shots' when I see one.  That is especially true when they are as cooperative as this bird was.

This bird was feeding in the camp site area of Tidal River at Wilsons Prom National Park - I think it's safe to assume that he (or she) is used to having people around!

Anyway, here are some pictures of the worlds largest kingfisher!

To join in with WBW click on the blue button below the thumbnails.  Cheers - SM