Monday, November 25, 2013

The birds you find when looking for birds

A couple of hours birding in the late afternoon over the weekend was event filled. Mainly because I had not really planned to head into the wetland. I was in shorts and wearing sandals, had no sunscreen or insect repellent nor was I carrying water.

It was over 30 C degrees and I saw 3 Brown Snakes on the track during my walk. Being an elapid, Brown Snakes are front fanged and highly venomous but if they feel you coming (they do not hear, they do not have ears) they will try to get away. I am not concerned by them but still we need to take care not to tread on them because if they are startled, threatened, cornered or hurt (if you tread on them) they will try to protect themselves.

I did see some nice waders, the Ruff is still present along with numerous Wood Sandpiper.

Plenty of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers this year.

The Welcome Swallows were active, some with young screaming for food.

Baby Welcome Swallow gets a welcome swallow!!

Immature Welcome Swallow after it's feed

The Black Swans have also been busy, with the young starting to grow up now...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's a bit Ruff

This weekend I headed to my local wetland to check on the arrival of the summer waders.

at 6am my friend Chris and I were walking along the track armed with our binoculars and cameras to see the first wader of the day  which turned out to be a Wood's Sandpiper. Very nice.

The second wader of the morning was found a few seconds later,  a Ruff! We enjoyed some time trying to photograph it in the early morning light. It was not bothered by out presence however it did not come in close and most of the time preferred feeding in the shade.


Ruff at sunrise



Sharp-tailed Sandpiper numbers are increasing.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Purple Swamphen

Immature Willy Wagtail

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

I returned to the wetland in the late afternoon and at sunset the Ruff flew in closer. I only managed to take a few photos before it retreated back to a small island.

Ruff at sunset

Monday, November 11, 2013

Black-breasted Button-quails, Ground Parrots and the untickable King Quail

 This weekend I travelled to Brisbane in order to find and photograph the Black-breasted Button-quail in an attempt to get closer to achieving my goal of 700 bird species on my Australian Life List. I was fortunate to have a helpful and generous friend, fellow Bushpea photographer Geoff who allowed me to stay with him and his lovely wife.

After only 4 hours sleep we travelled the 3 hour journey to Inskip Point and searched for a few hours.
It is amazing to think this bird chooses to live in this location with so many noisy people trashing the place!



Platelet - the marking made by Button-quails when feeding!  They lower their bodies onto the ground then move around using their feet to search for food which forms this pattern. This one is fresh, no leaves have blown back into the space.

This Lace Monitor climbed the tree to find a feed

Finally we spotted the bird, but only briefly - typical for  this  elusive species it came out of the undergrowth silently but within 5 seconds it had disappeared again.  After the initial unsatisfactory view I sat on a log with another birder, Deane in the hope we could get a better view. With the pressure to tick a lifer now off we could relax and enjoy the experience of trying to improve our photos. Amazingly within a minute the bird decided to come right out in the open and cross a track in front of us! Brilliant!

Sincere thank you to Geoff for assisting me to find this bird!!

Black-breasted Button-quail

Geoff and I then headed off and we travelled to Cooloola Way to look for King Quail which was my other target species. We had 2 views  of them that afternoon and although we know they were King Quail sadly they were not tickable views. Frustrating, but at least I have a reason to return there now!

However we were lucky and got crippling views of Eastern Ground Parrot while searching the heath for the quails! Geoff was stoked as this was a lifer for him!

Eastern Ground Parrot

Eastern Ground  Parrot

Eastern Ground Parrot

A very happy Geoff after his LIFER!

Sunset over the Ground Parrots & King Quails

A couple of hours on Sunday morning at Mt Glorious resulted in great views of Green Catbird which are one of my favourite bird species!

Green Catbird

This Land Mullet was over 2 feet long! One of Australia's largest Skinks.

A couple of hours birding this morning on my way to the airport provided great views of the highly elusive Pale-vented Bush-hen in a creek which was a lovely way to end a weekend!

Pale-vented Bush-hen

Pale-vented Bush-hen

Sacred Kingfisher

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fleurieu Birding at Nangawooka Flora Reserve

Some local birding this weekend found me in Hindmarsh Valley south of Adelaide. There is a nice little flora reserve called Nangawooka which has a new bird hide. Thought I'd check it out. Being the middle of the day not many birds were around but it was still a good way to spend some time.
Across the road is a good little wildlife park which is very reasonably priced if you want to make a day of it. I opted to head to Goolwa and get some hot chips for tea while enjoying the scenery at the local poo ponds! :-)

Little Wattlebird

Eastern Great Egret

Juvenile Red Wattlebird

Female Superb Fairywren
Black Swan