Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Wild Bird Wednesday 530 - White-Browed Scrubwren

We managed to get away last to East Gippsland last weekend, to Walkerville South - a very small costal settlement about two hours east of Melbourne.  It's been a crazy time for me for a while, and I have exciting news to share next week!

During a short walk on the beach I came across a number of birds feeding on the strand line of tide washed - and rather smelly - seaweed.  I had gone there expecting to photograph gulls, and was surprised to walk away with some of the best image I have taken of a number of 'bush' birds.

These are White-Browed Scrubwrens (Sericornis frontalis).  This is a species found along most of the edge of Australia, with the exception of the much of the west and north coast (which given the size of Australia is a pretty decent 'except'!)

These birds were (I assume) a pair as one bird seemed to be regulars giving food to the other.  You can see this behaviour in one of the pictures.  From what I could see, the birds seem to have been feeding on small snail, but that I bit speculative!

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Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Wild Bird Wednesday 529 - Australian Magpie.

There are signs that spring is in the air in Melbourne - there are young leaves on some trees, some have blossom and the swooping season for Magpies is underway!

Australian Magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) are songbirds, and are not closely related to the Magpies found in the UK, which are a type of crow. The Australian Magpie's closest relative is in fact the Black Butcherbird.

In the spring this species becomes a bit territorial, and can be a bit aggressive to other birds and people.  In fact, some Magpies become 'problem' birds by continually swooping people.  This can cause injury, and many people have story about magpies that hate them!  This is not completely fanciful, as magpies have been found to be able to recognise and remember people.

To avoid getting in the bad-books of any of our local birds I always greet them with a "Well Hello Mr. Magpie!" in the hope they will recognise me as a friend and supporter!  So far this diplomatic approach has been successful and the Maggies seem to let me be. 

Magpies also have wonderful voices, and while it may not be the best recording this video captures some of their song.

Here are some images of my local birds.

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Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Wild Bird Wednesday 528 - White-browed Babbler

When I was walking in Central Australia last month, we would often see and more often hear groups of birds called Babblers in the vegetation.  I never got a really good look at them - but you could tell where they got their name from very easily!

These pictures are probably of a different species to the ones I encountered - these are White-browed Babblers (Pomatostomus superciliosus) and there pictures were taken in North-west Victoria.  Unlike most species of birds, the White-browed Babbler not only builds a nest to lay its eggs in, but it also builds a separate nest to roost in. Although the two types of nests appear similar — both are large, dome-shaped with a spout-like entrance, and are made from sticks and twigs — roosting nests are a little larger to accommodate more birds. The brood-nest is built only by the breeding birds, but mostly the female, whereas roost-nests are built communally by all of the members of the flock.

These birds are always great fun to watch!

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Monday, 5 September 2022

Larapinta Trail - Sections 4 to 8.

More pictures from my recent walk.  What a 16 days.  Just remarkable.  I want to go and do it all again.

Maybe one day.

The last picture is from Counts Point on section 8, and this may be the most famous view on the whole walk.  It goes on for ever.  I could have stayed all day.


Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Wild Bird Wednesday 527 - Spinifex Pigeon

Well, after 527 weeks I can saw that these are the least impressive pictures I have ever chosen to share on WBW.  So, if you are new here, please forgive these rather inept images - they are not normally like this! (I hope).

This is a Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps plumifera) an endemic Australian species found over much of arid and semiarid northern and central Australia.  There are at least four races / subspecies of this colourful bird.

These pictures were taken under less than idea conditions with a camera I would not nominate as a suitable one for wildlife photography!  I used my little Olympus back-pack camera for these, and as the sun was shining very brightly on the LCD screen on the back I could not actually see what I was photographing!  Spray and Pray indeed!

I consider it a minor miracle that I managed to get images that are even this good!

So, in another departure, here is an image of this species from the web. As

(Andreas Trepte,

As you can see its a remarkable bird, which I was very pleased to see for the first time in ages.

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Monday, 29 August 2022

Larapinta Trail - Sections 1 to 3

This is the first of a few post about my recent walk along the Larapinta Trail.  The Trail runs (more or less) east-west starting (or ending) at Alice Springs and ending (or starting) at Mount Sonder about 230 km later!

The whole trails runs through the West MacDonnell Ranges - Tjoritja - National Park.  We took 15 days to walk from Alice to Sonder.  I think I'm still processing a lot of what I saw, felt and thought during those two weeks. 

These pictures show just how varied the walk is - valleys, ridges, and long, long views.

For reasons I do not comprehend, the images have loaded in reverse order! The final image is from day 1 and the first from day 3. 

Hope you enjoy.  SM

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Wild Bird Wednesday 526 - Some birds from the Larapinta Tail

Hi - this slight delayed post comes after a 16 day, 240km+ walk in Central Australia.  Needless to say, I did not carry my 'birding camera' on this walk, so these are older pictures of some of the birds I saw along the way!

Hope everyone out there is well:  as a post lock down event I can recommend 16 days in the desert!

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