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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Singing along

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Mildura West railway reserve

It was very glarey but I took my camera for a walk with it's new lens hood and I didn't have to be too patient before this honeyeater came out of the scrub for me!  

The railway reserve is probably quite under-rated. It has a walking path, lots of native vegetation and in some spots, guerrilla veggie patches. Every year there is a family that grows capsicums and there is a big mulberry tree but I never seem to time it right and whenever I go back when I think they will be ripe, all the mulberries are gone! Maybe it's the birds. I've seen Pink Cockatoos near here, eating almonds from backyard trees too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Oldman Saltbush Snack

Red-rumped Parrots, Bob Corbould wetland
(female top, male bottom)

 The parrots were having a great ol' feed on the saltbush on the weekend. I was lucky enough to catch some of them in the morning sunshine. These guys are pretty common around here but this is the best photo opportunity I've had so far. The female is quite plain in comparison to the male but I think she has a lovely soft face.

Wild Bird Wednesday

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The king of kingfishers

 Laughing Kookaburra, Mildura Base Hospital

There are lots of resident kookaburra's in Mildura, which I love because it gives that sense of place when you expect to see something and you do! 

I had always thought they mainly just ate skinks and other reptiles, until one day I saw one dive down to catch a fish. There have also been sightings of them catching yabbies. I did see recently a photo of a kookaburra destroying the body of New Holland Honeyeater, but the question was asked whether it was a scavenged find rather than a brutal intra-class killing!

I'm interested to know how dark these pics are on other people's computer screens… 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Swan update

Black Swan & cygnets, Etiwanda wetlands
White-plumed Honeyeater, Mildura

I must admit that the honeyeaters and bush birds are much harder to photograph than the waterbirds!  Even though these honeyeaters are so common, I still struggle to get a good shot. Even though I like the colours in this, it is a bit of a shame that that closer bottlebrush is there. 

The five swan babies have been coming along well, although they would want to watch out they don't get kicked out - mum and dad are already looking at the nest again!

Wild Bird Wednesday
The Bird D'Pot

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Yabbies for lunch

Australian White Ibis, Bob Corbould wetland

This ibis was struggling with a yabby for quite a while, even tried swallowing it whole, before eventually flying off to try and eat it on land - without another ibis stealing it.

This wetland has lots going on at the moment; Red-kneed Dotterels, Black-winged Stilts, Hardhead, and I even saw a Common Sandpiper. I guess it was on it's way to the SE coast to winter. Hard to imagine the vast distance it's travelled from Russia or somewhere similar, even just the Northern Australia to Mildura leg!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The adventures of a baby Shelduck

Click on image to enlarge…

I'm not normally into anthropomorphism but couldn't resist with this one!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Urban pelicans

Australian Pelican, Walnut Ave wetlands

There are still lots of pelicans around Mildura, here are a couple of them at an urban storm water drainage basin. There are obviously plenty of fish but I think they might be little schooling fish. There is usually an egret fishing for little fish too. The shoreline that the Black-fronted Dotterels used for breeding last year is now covered in reeds and there was no sign of them. The Red-kneed Dotterels were happy to feed along the edge of the reeds though.

Wild Bird Wednesday

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

More spring babies

Black Swan Cygnets, Etiwanda Wetlands 

Australian Shelduck with chick, Etiwanda Wetlands

I rarely go to Etiwanda Wetlands but I thought I better check it out since I'm taking a group of primary school students there next week to bird watch for Bird Week. It was terrible weather but the swans didn't seem to mind! I also saw a baby Shelduck - I couldn't get very close so not a great photo but I don't see them much so I've still included it here.

Wild Bird Wednesday

Sunday, October 6, 2013

21 babies

Wood Duck family
Lock 11, Mildura

There are 21 of these babies. I think the parents may have adopted some extras...  there are definitely a few different sizes, with the one in the first photo the littlest. I've loved watching them while I incubate my own little duckling!

Wild Bird Wednesday

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I'm back - still on Japan birds

Ueno Park, Tokyo

I'm back! A few major life events have got me a bit snowed under lately. 

Not sure if the yabby was caught by the gull or if it came from one of the food vendors...

This park is well inside Tokyo, it was fantastic, awesome atmosphere with all the people enjoying the cherry blossom.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Birds of Japan II

 Large-billed Crow, Ueno Park, Tokyo
Carrion Crow, Miyajima Island near Hiroshima

Wow! The Large-billed Crow is so impressive it is actually a bit scary. We saw both of Japan's crows, the Carrion Crow more than the Large-billed Crow. Much easier to identify than Australian's ravens! The calls are different too. Large-billed Crow: loud clear krroh or kaw; Carrion Crow: loud hoarse kraa.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Birds of Japan I

Northern Pintail - male
Northern Pintail - female
Ueno Park, Tokyo

Just back from a fantastic trip to Japan! It was really a sight-seeing holiday but we managed to see quite a lot of birds.

The blossom bloomed where ever we went too - it was amazing! Easy to see why the Japanese love it so much. You can see it floating on the water in these photos. 

Ueno Park is in the middle of Tokyo, it had such a great atmosphere with everyone enjoying the cherry blossom. We had stormy weather the day after and we overheard someone say that all the blossom was blasted off the trees.

According to the field guide, Northern Pintail is an uncommon visitor to parks. I could only see one pair. The male is in breeding plumage.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Australasian Darter, Murray River

My attempts don't quite compare to some our fellow bloggers fishing shots but I still thought they were of interest to show how Australasian Darters catch their fish!

They spear them straight through the middle, paddle to shore and then un-skewer them. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Good taste

Silver Gulls, Wooden Boat Festival, Hobart

The Silver Gulls seemed to like this cute little boat for some reason!!

P.S. For those of you that read the Malleefowl post - I heard recently that a Malleefowl did get shot. Pretty awful but unfortunately not all that un-expected. The thought crossed everyone's mind.

Wild Bird Wednesday

Another urban breeder

Black-tailed Native-hen, Mildura

These guys are always running to hide so the first time I realised they had white stripes was when I zoomed in on this photo! 

I'm pretty sure they were breeding at the wetland, along with all the other hens, and that the ones in the photo with the short tails are the babies.

It's pretty easy to get confused when a hen is running away, the easiest thing is to look for the black tail.  If you're in Tassie, the Tasmanian Native-hen is bigger. They don't really hang out in groups and you see them by the sides of the road when they have babies (often with a Swamp Harrier overhead!).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's all up to these guys

Orange-bellied Parrot fledglings, Melaleuca keep from the species becoming extinct. The numbers are crazily low. 

I was lucky enough to go back to South-West Tasmania in the last few weeks; the adult birds had already left for Victoria. The fledglings follow a bit later. 

Partly why I haven't posted - busy busy!   The Wooden Boat Festival was a highlight too - for those of you that like boats.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Look for the red knees..

Red-kneed Dotterel, Mildura

This guy has taken up residence where the Black-fronted Dotterel chick below was raised. No breeding that I know of at this wetland but I did see a chick this year when we went Broken Hill-Menindee-Pooncarie. 

Actually wanted to post a picture from that trip but thought twice with the duck shooting season... It's a bit sad when you have to censor your blog posts and location of photos to protect the birds! It was something that came up in discussion with the unusual Malleefowl sighting. Should we actually tell people details when we see such things? Here's hoping that the Malleefowl can disperse soon and become less of an easy target. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Our baby

Black-fronted Dotterel juvenile, Mildura

We've been watching our Black-fronted Dotterels intently all spring/summer and they have finally moved on I think. No sign of them yesterday. The wetland must be relatively healthy and have good food because the pair didn't move for weeks even after the eggs hatched from the same little 3m stretch of "shore".  Unfortunately, we only ended up with one chick but last time I saw it was when I took the photos above so hopefully it makes it!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Malleefowl - whoa?!

Malleefowl, Mallee

Goodness me! I saw 14 of these on Monday night after I got an email telling me that there had been sightings of 50+ Malleefowl feeding close to a road. This is very unusual. It was so bizarre seeing so many of an endangered species in such a small space and time.

I guess this is what they mean by locally common!

I was a bit early for them when I first drove to the spot and I started going a bit crazy - how far from the road are they? are all those Common Bronzewings actually mini Malleefowl? 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Little bird brain

White-faced Heron, Mildura

I think the front profile of this heron's head is funny! 

The first photo shows the lovely red and green I get when I take photographs at the wetland at the moment. 

I like the front view of the feet too - although I think this is because the three toes remind me of oystercatcher prints on the beach...