Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 430 - Red Wattlebird

These are some shots of our semi-resident Red Wattlebirds (Anthochaera carunculata) feeding on the flowers of a large Echium bush.  These birds are common and conspicuous in SE Australia, as they are often noisy and very active.

The red wattles that give it its name can be seen on its face in most of these pictures - the yellow underbelly seems to have been overlooked!

These birds did not seem to mind me sitting in the garden with lens, camera and tripod.  I have to say it was one of the best half hours of time I have had since we went into lock down.

(Thankfully our Covid 19 numbers here are now very low, so a more normal life may be just around the corner.  I cannot wait, as I am just about at the end of my tether!)








All these pictures will look better if you click on them to see a larger version.

Stay safe and well, and dont forget to join in with WBW by clicking the link below.  SM


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Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 429 - Australasian Swamphen

I have featured Australasian Swamphens (Porphyrio melanotus) on WBW a number of times.  Given that these birds live in (on?) the closest patch of wetland to my house, there is a reasonable possibility that this very bird has been on WBW a number of times.

A few days ago I took advantage of the (slight) change in the lock down rules to visit the wetland with a camera.  Prior to these changes I had not been allowed to carry a camera when I went for my daily walks.  

This bird was pulling single 'reed' stalks from clumps and then eating, what seems to be, the fleshy base.

I was tempted to call this WBW "Beaks and Feets" - but common sense got the better of me!










Stay well and don't forget to link up to WBW.  SM


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Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 428 - Common Eider

The Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) is a sea-duck found on the seas around northern Europe, America and Siberia. It breeds in the Arctic,  but comes south in the winter.  When I lived in the North of England, the arrival of this duck was a sure sign that winter was coming.

The bird has a couple of other common names, including St. Cuthbert's Duck and Cuddy's Duck.  The famous Eider down is (or at least was) harvested from the nests of these birds.  The scientific name of this bird refers to the warmth and softness of its feathers.

These pictures may not be the best I have ever taken, but they were taken in very gloomy conditions in Bergen in Norway in the winter.  While not being north of the Arctic Circle it was close! I have used some new software to reduce the noise in the pictures caused by the need to use a high ISO rating - the result seem pretty good.











These images need to be seem in an enlarged form to see them at their best.  Click on the image to make it larger.

I have just been 'passed' significant amount of new work - so please excuse my limited visits to other blogs of late.

Stay well and don't forget to link up to WBW.  SM


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Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 427 - Black-necked Stork

 The Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) is Australia's only stork.  This species is sometimes called the Jabiru - which is actually the name of a stork species from South America.

This bird was wandering along on the side of Yellow Waters in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory. This individual is a female - you can tell by the gold / yellow iris of the eye. This bird has a wing span approaching 2 meters, and its beak can reach 300mm.  With a mass of about 4kg, it's a big bird.








Stay well and don't forget to link up to WBW.  SM


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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 426 - Australasian Darter

These pictures are of a male Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) taken in its classic drying / thermoregulation posture.

This bird was making the most of the evening sunshine on Yellow Waters, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory.

The dark front of this bird identifies it as a male bird.  You can see from the close-up of the head why they are sometimes called Snake-Birds when they swim through the water with only their neck and head exposed.

I always find birds like this - cormorants and shags etc - to be convincingly reptilian.








Stay well and don't forget to link up to WBW.  SM



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Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 425 - Pied Heron

The Pied Heron (Ardea picata formerly Egretta picata) is a small tropical heron that occurs in the more northern parts of Australia. It can be seen in large groups when roosting, but these birds were doing the classic heron thing of hunting on the edge of the water.

These birds were seen at Yellow Waters, a wonderful wetland area of Kakadu National Park.








Stay well and don't forget to link up to WBW.  SM




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Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 424 - Honeyeaters

There are a large number of honeyeater species in Australia - some common and widespread, other restricted to just a small area.

When I was in Darwin a life-time ago I spent some time near some flowering shrubs, which were busy with honeyeaters of a number of species.  They proved pretty hard to photograph as they were fast moving and generally pretty busy!

These are some of the better shots I managed for the birds.  I rather wished that I had had my tripod with me - but as usual the bit of kit you need is the bit you left in the car!


Singing Honeyeater


Singing Honeyeater


Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater


White-Plumed Honeyeater


We have been given a 'road map' out of of current lockdown situation - so with luck we can navigate this and I can get out birding again!

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style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Stay well and don't forget to link up to WBW.  SM


Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Wild Bird Wednesday 423 - Australian Magpie

I have posted picture of this species on a number of occasions, but at present (in lock down) they really are the bird I see most often.

I have been trying to get some pictures of a local bird that has a damaged beak, but we are not allowed to carry cameras when going for exercise at present - and a 600mm f4 is a bit hard to conceal!

So, these are some pictures of Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen) that I took a while ago.  It's a bit of a treat really to have such splendid birds just hanging around on our streets!






The conditions with Covid 19 seem to be slowly getting better here - thankfully.  I will once more make a huge effort to resume normal service this week.  Stay well and spread the word for WBW if you can.  Cheers SM.



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