Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 470 - Superb Fairy-wren

Last night of this lockdown - thankfully!

So, just a quick post with a crowd-pleaser - the Splendid Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus).

These pictures were taken a few months ago on my local patch.  This is the only Fariy-wren I see without the need to travel, but what a nice little bird they are.  This is a very patchy looking male - but he still looks pretty good to me!

With the lifting of lock down I hope that normal WBW service will be resumed soon.  I may actually be able to got birding for a day this weekend!!




 
I really like the way these pictures show the bird in its habitat - sometimes I think we cut too much of the place that the bird is in out of the picture.  But that's just my opinion.
 
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Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 469 - Pied Currawong

The Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina) is a large and vocal member of my local bird community.  They are not always popular as they do feed (at least in part) on the nestlings of other birds.  Given that they are closely related to Butcherbirds and Australian Magpies this is hardly a surprise.

What I most like about these pictures is that it give me the change to write : 'these are Currawongs in a Persimmon Tree' - which is the kind of sentence I would not have been expecting to write (or even understand) when I was growing up in Somerset!

These images are a little different to my normal ones, so I hope you like them.




We are back in lockdown here - and I am not happy with that situation. But, there you go.  

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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 468 - Stubble Quail

This is another bird we found on my recent night excursion to Terrick Terrick National Park.  These birds are Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis).  This species is at the other end of the threat spectrum to the Plains Wanderer I posted last week.  The Stubble Quail is the most common quail species in Australia and is classified as of 'least concern' in the threat stakes.  We saw at least half a dozen of these birds on the ground, and a few more flushed away as we approached. 

For a Quail this is a large bird - weighing in at about 100g - and is has diagnostic white supercilium (an eye stripe of sorts).








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Monday, 12 July 2021

Hobart and just a bit more.

Last week I spent a mid-week long weekend in Hobart, Tasmania.  Wonderful to get away.  Here are some pictures.

Tasmanian Native Hen, MONA

Randalls Bay

Randalls Bay

From top of Echo Sugarloaf Walk

From top of Echo Sugarloaf Walk

Randalls Bay

Reflections, Huon River

Reflections, Huon River

Reflections, Huon River

Reflections, MONA

Reflections, Constitution Dock, Hobart

Steam-punk Chestnut seller, Salamanca Market, Hobart

Constitution Docks, Hobart





 
Reflections, Huon River

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

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 467 - Plains-wanderer

I'm rather more excited than usual about this post.  Firstly, I am finally on leave.  And secondly I managed to photograph this remarkable bird on the weekend.

These are pictures of a Plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus) a rather odd wader that lives on the grassland in a rather restricted area of grassland in southern and central Australia.  This bird is classified as Critically Endangered, mainly due to habitat loss. 

Interestingly this bird is the only species in the family Pedionomidae and genus Pedionomus, and it is endemic to Australia.  As I mentioned this bird is actually more closely related to waders than the quails that it seems rather similar to. 

We found these birds roosting in longish grass - their preferred habitat - in the Terrick Terrick National Park in northern Victoria.  This species just freezes in place when it feels threatened, which make them easy to observe once you have found them.  It's finding them in the first place that is hard.  Over a couple of hours we found three in prime habitat.

The males have a black and white collar on the back of the neck, and a rufous bib.  We found two males - neither of which were in prime breeding plumage - and one female.


 














 
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Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Wild Bird Wednesday 466 - Malleefowl

The Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) is a rather remarkable bird - and I was lucky enough to get decent views of these birds when I was in..... The Mallee!

Like many species the Malleefowl was once more widespread and abundant, but these days you have to go to the right place to have much chance of seeing them.  Luckily I was in the right place!

Malleefowl are remarkable for many reasons: they are members of a small group of birds with large feet called the megapodes, ( they are also known as incubator birds or mound-builders).  These birds - well the males mostly - build large mounds of earth and vegetation in which the eggs are incubated by a combination of the heat from the Sun, and from the heat generated by the decomposing vegetation.  In these pictures you can see these birds large feet! The birds weigh up to 2.2kg and are about the same size as a domestic duck.  (I am unsure it that is a metric duck or an imperial duck!!)

 In some places in Australia you can still find the incubation mounds, long abandoned as the only evidence that Malleefowl once lives in that area.  The mounds can be 2 or 3 feet high in the middle, and can be used for many years.

The eggs hatch in a well developed chick which is capable of independent living from the time they emerge from the eggs and burrow out of the incubation mound.  As a result parental care is close to zero.

Perhaps more remarkably than seeing Mallewfowl, was the fact that I heard them too.  This species is essentially silent, and my guide on the day said he knew Malleeflowl specialists who had never hear the low oom oom oom contact call we heard that day.  It's reasonable to say we were pretty excited!

So, here are the picture of the Malleefowl in the Mallee!







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