Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 448 - Coal Tit

I have mentioned on a number of occasions that we don't really have a the seeding eating birds in my part of Australia that would be attracted to 'typical' bird tables and feeders.

So, when I was in England last year (that feels impossible!) I was glad to watch these Coal Tits (Periparus ater) feeding on some hanging feeders at Whinlater Woods in the Lake District.  It was raining and the light was rather low - but it was nice to see these dative little birds making the most of some human generosity.










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Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 447 - Magpie Goose

The Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata) is a large and distinctive bird that was very widespread is Australia.  It can still be found in large numbers in northern Australia, and in some places in southern they have been reintroduced and are starting to repopulate areas in which they were once common.


The Magpie Goose is neither a magpie (ie a crow) or a true goose.  It belongs to the family Anseranatidae and the genus Anseranas - and it is the only living species of bird that is classified in that way. It is not considered to be a 'true goose' as it has primitive features - but that's about as far down this taxonomic rabbit hole as I am prepared to go tonight!

These birds were photographed in the Northern Territory of Australia - the park images in Darwin and the wetland images in Kakadu National Park.









As a side challenge - how many (and what) other species can you find in these pictures!

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Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 446 - Great Egret

Hi there - with luck by the time you read this I will have actually visited and commented on your blogs!  These are very strange times - and I do not like them.

On a much better note this is a Great Egret (Ardea alba) is the tallest Egret in Australia and at certain times of the year can be found over anywhere in the country. It can be as tall as a 1m and has a wing span of abut 1.5 meters.  By all measures it's a large bird. 

This bird was splitting its time between fishing and posturing at another of its kind in the waters just outside of Mamukala hide in Kakadu National Park.  Unfortunately, the two birds never came close enough to each other to get a good picture of both.  Oh well.







You can also see a couple of Magpie Geese in the background.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 445 - Crested Tern

The Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii) can be found all around the coast of Australia.  For me in Victoria, if I am on the coast, its the default tern.  I think this is a useful idea in birding - as when I see a tern I can immediately start thinking about the features of one bird - and 90% of the time it's that bird!  (If you see what I mean!)

These birds were loafing about at one of my regular birding spots - Swan Bay Jetty.  I think that the passing traffic of fisher-folk, boaters, dog walkers and photographers helps calm these birds down.  They tend to be a little more cooperative than many.

There was not much going on with these birds, just a bit of yawning and feather maintenance.  But I still like them.







I just want to say sorry for the lack of visits and comments.  My brain is just not at 100% at present.  But I really do appreciate your visits and comments.  Maybe the fog will start to lift soon.

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Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 444 - Masked Lapwing

The Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) occurs over much of Australia except for an area stretching out of Central Australia towards the west coast.

It is a very family bird, often taking up noisy and aggressive residence on sports ovals, traffic islands and farmer's fields.  It will aggressively defend its territory from cats, dogs, other birds and well meaning photographers.

There are two species of the Masked Lapwing found in Australia - Vanellus miles miles and Vanellus miles novaehollandiae.  The subspecies miles a more northern distribution, while the novaehollandiae subspecies in found in the SE of Australia.  The two types interbreed where their range overlaps.

Being that Melbourne is in SE Australia I only see one of these types on a regular basis.

The northern species lacks the black neck and chest stripe of the southern species, and also has a long yellow face mask.

The younger birds in these picture as subspecies novaehollandiae.

Young novaehollandiae spps

Young novaehollandiae spps

adult novaehollandiae spps

adult miles spps

The miles spps was taken in Kakadu national park, the other birds were taken in Victoria - with the young ones being photographed at Point Lonsdale early this year.

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Monday, 25 January 2021

Alexandra

Alexandra is a small town just under two hours from home.  I went there at the end of last year to do a fly-fishing course.  No fish were disturbed in any way during the course!

However, I did take a few pictures.  I have been looking at some black and white photographs over the last week, so I tried my hand at these.  Not what I normally do - but I kind of like them.







You can find more pictures from around the world at Our World Tuesday and image-in-ing Cheers:  SM

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 443 - Little Egret

These pictures of Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) is a small and active hunter in wetlands over much of Australia - although it is (possibly not surprisingly) absent from the drier parts of this country.  There were five birds in a group feeding together - possibly all from a breeding colony not that far away - but I done know how many of those birds are included in these pictures.

Although not a 100% reliable field mark, the black bill on these birds is a clear indiction that we are looking at Little Egrets rather than one of the other white egret species.

These pictures were taken through a veil of vegetation, and I am surprised at how well they have come out.  It was back to good old fashioned manual focus for these shots - as in many cases the auto-focus would 'grab' the vegetation in the foreground.  

The birds seemed to be feeding on tiny crustaceans for some form rather than fish.  In some of the shots you can see the breeding plumage of these birds.





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Monday, 18 January 2021

By the Sea

I spent last week at Point Lonsdale - which is a small coastal town just under two hours from home.  We spent a lot of time there when the kids were small,  and given the uncertainty of this year we decided to book some time down there again this year.

The weather was not very summer-like, but we still managed beach walks, bike rides and even a brief swim of sorts.

These are some pictures from the week.








You can find more pictures from around the world at Our World Tuesday and image-in-ing Cheers:  SM

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 442 - Nankeen Night Heron

The Nankeen Night Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus) is a widespread bird in Australia.  Some sources suggest it may be generally a bit under reported as it only becomes active at dusk.

I found these two birds - and at least 8 others - in some tall trees in the middle of a park in Queenscliff in Victoria.  My attention was drawn to them by a bit a squawking from one of the juvenile birds.  I suspect that I would have missed them entirely if they had made that noise.

The birds are about 60 cm long, with a wingspan of just over a meter.  The juvenile bird lacks the black cap of the adult and also has heavily streaked plumage.

Adult






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