I hope you'll enjoy looking at the birds I'm seeing locally.
DH and I went to a large wetland area known as Herdsman's Lake a few days ago. It is three and a half square kilometres in size and never completely dries out in summer. The bird life there was amazing. The first bird we saw when we got there was a Rainbow Bee Eater. My aim this summer is to get some really good shots of this incredibly beautiful little bird that migrates to southern Western Australia from the northern part of the state to breed. It nests in holes in firm sandy embankments.
I'm not certain what these two birds are but they were at the beginning of a stand off. The smaller bird on the left had a yellow beak and whitish eyes; the other, larger bird had a blackish beak and green between its eyes and the base of its bill.
I cann only imagine the color of the Rainbow Bee Eaters. Ibis are interesting birds. I remember reading in elementary school about a Scarlet Ibis. Have always remembered that. I find the ducks and coots interesting. You are certainly expanding our knowledge of Aussie birds and wildlife. Please, do continue. Lee
Lee, I'm not sure and will rely on Resin's good nature to ID them. I think the larger bird may be a Great Egret.
Willie Wagtails, those plucky little birds that harass the Ospreys will attempt to chase anyone or anything away from their nest. The pair who had this nest gave themselves away by their behaviour. I could zero in on the nest by their increasing belligerence which would ease off if I moved away from it. I took only one shot as I didn't want to distress them. They use spiders web to anchor the nest to the branch.
Margaret, I love the one of the bird which is on the branch. For some reason, It reminded me of me, somewhat anxious or something. Now, the 'good feather day' had me laughing til the tears were running down each cheek. Haven't laughed like that in months. You have made my day and it beats the heck out of a pain pill.
Do cont to educate and make me laugh. Lee
Nankeen Kestrel. These little birds of prey are fairly common around Perth. I often see them hovering above the embankment at the ocean. It was so windy I was having difficulty holding the camera steady and this bird was blown off the pole several times.
Thanks Pelle. Yep, I agree that the yellow billed one is the Great Egret. The only difference with the other one is that the area between the eye and the bill was very green. The closer shots I got were so appallingly blurry, I deleted them in disgust. I've just zoomed in and cropped one of the shots I posted. It's at about 3 million percent so the quality is really off, but hopefully the green can be seen.
They're both Great Egrets; black bill is a breeding bird, yellow bill is a non-breeder (immature, or failed). The bill and face patch just colour up for the display and early part of the breeding season, by late summer both will have yellow bills.
Fantastic pictures Margaret! You have such a wonderful place to bird and like everyone else I would love to visit your country someday (but I would have to fly there on my broom)! That Rainbow Bee Eater is sure a gorgeous bird and your Kestrel reminds me of the ones we have here. So many beautiful birds...thanks for sharing them!
This is a young Red Wattlebird in a native frangipani. The parents still feed it and its sibling, although less frequently. The parents have nested in various places in our yard for several years, often having four or even five clutches a year. The adult male hates me with a vengeance as I've rescued his babies from perilous situations on several occasions. He doesn't perceive my actions as helpful, even though on each occasion, if I hadn't intervened, the baby would have died or been killed. His name is Snap 'n' Glare.
I posted this little Grey Butcherbird on the daily pics thread several weeks ago. His right leg was dislocated more than two and a half years ago and sticks out behind him at quite a grotesque angle. However, he seems happy enough, sitting in a tree or on the clothing drying on the clothes line, as he is in the picture (yet another item of clothing back into the wash). We give him supplementary feeds. These birds have the most exquisite flute like song and they are excellent mimics.
It's so funny with the Butcher Birds. The Singing Honeyeaters set up an alarm call if they become aware of Butcherbirds in the area. The Butcherbirds take off in fright, not realizing that the alarm had been set up due to their presence.
Hi Everyone here is a pic of a very friendly Brush Turkey they don't have much of a sense of fear, not around here anyway, they think they own the place. I know their protected (what a shame). One even came into the house (silly me left the door open) had to throw a towel over him to catch him. All's well I'm safe but won't leave the door open again. Next time it might be a big brown or one of the big goannas won't be throwing a towel over them!!
At long last I was finally able to get a shot of one of our most common birds, the Singing Honeyeater. This little nectar loving insectivore landed on a dead tree branch a few feet from me whilst I was sitting (patiently) waiting for some Osprey action. Singing Honeyeaters are the ones who set up an alarm call when any predator is approaching and everything ducks for cover, including the Butcherbirds, when in fact the alarm call may be alerting others to the Butcher Bird's presence.
The warning sound the Singing Honeyeater makes is a trilling noise, not dissimilar to an umpires whistle. In this photo a little bit of orange-yellow can be seen protruding from the end of it beak. This is a small portion of the tongue, which is feathered at the tip to aid extracting nectar, often from deep within flowers.
In past years we've raised many baby Honeyeaters that often well-meaning people have "rescued", when in fact the baby didn't need to be rescued at all and would have been fine if left alone. They are the sweetest little birds imaginable.
New Holland Honeyeater. Focus is dodgy, but I just love the colours.
There are so many different birds in the area where I watch the Ospreys. This afternoon, in addition to these two types of honeyeater I also saw more Rainbow Bee Eaters, a Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike, Kookaburras, Red Wattlebirds, Port Lincoln Ringnecks (28's), Rainbow Lorikeets, Brown Honeyeaters, Willie Wagtails (with babies), Laughing Turtledoves, Spotted Doves and some tiny little birds that I couldn't get a look at.
Down below I saw an Australian Pelican, Pied and Black Cormorants, Silver Gulls, Divers and could hear, but not see Pied Oyster catchers. There's always something to see. At one stage I was torn between getting a photo of the male Osprey who I thought was about to take off and two Rainbow Birds. The Osprey won out as I'd spend an hour sitting on the damp ground waiting for him to move.
This tiny bird is a Striated Pardalote. I was at yet another wetland-park today for a 3rd birthday party (and survived). This was shot in the gloom of a paperbark copse. At certain times of the year, particularly early winter, we have these birds in a huge gum tree in our yard, but as they congregate in the canopy, they are heard, but rarely seen.
Thanks Lee and Pelle. It's Sunday morning here and I'm just about to head off to Herdsmans Lake armed with Camera, 300mm lens and pepper spray. Hopefully will get some shots of new birds or better shots of old ones.
That Striated Pardolate is so sweet. But what a complicated name, for such a small creature. Love the bark of that tree, so interesting.
What type of wildlife are you expecting to use the pepper spray on Margaret?
Burn, the tree is a "paper bark", a species of Melaleuca. They are really beautiful trees and the bark peels off in papery layers. It is so soft to the touch and even in the middle of winter (yeah, I can hear you all laughing) it feels almost warm. The pepper spray? Well...
There were lots of Rainbow Bee Eaters but I struggled to get a decent shot of them. I'm happy to keep on trying. They often land in the middle of a tree and aredifficult to get in focus because of all the twigs.
It was having a stretch and this gives a hint of what the extended wings look like. They are the most incredibly beautiful little birds. This is the colour that's seen when looking up at the bird in flight, but because such a view is usually back-lit, the exquisite colour with the strong light behind it is enhanced and is breathtaking.
After two hours I was dying of thirst, and being well prepared, had money (as well as pepper spray) on me so headed to the nearby fresh produce market for H2O and a beautiful, new season Fuji apple - my absolute favourite. I sat down close to the waters edge and was joined by this beautiful Goose. He enjoyed the apple, taking pieces from me so gently. Others that enjoyed my Fuji were Swamphens with two babies and Pacific Black Ducks and a sweet little domestic duck. I'm sure the apple was crisp, sweet and juicy. At least I managed to have a drink.
Does anyone know what sort of Goose this is? I'd loved to have nabbed him and taken him home. (I'm assuming he's a he. He could in fact be a she). It did a lot of hissing and posturing at the Swamphens and I saw why. The Swamphens are so small in comparison, yet chased the poor thing relentlessly. Reminded me of the Willie Wagtail with the Osprey.
Hey Margaret, All pics. are great. Yes, now I see why you took peppers spray. Good choice. This morning , my hair is looking like the grebes' feathers. I'm certainly not well coiffed this a.m., yet. lee
LOL Well, I was going to say the same thing but Resin beat me to it ;o) The pictures are wonderful...as usual. I love the paperbark. Do people keep the Rainbow Bee Eater as a caged bird? Such a beauty.
There may be a large group of us that come for a visit, Marg!
Yep, Common Sandpiper. They breed right across Europe and Asia, and are away for the winter at the moment. The ones that breed here go to Africa, yours will be from somewhere in eastern Asia. Somewhere like Lake Baikal, or the banks of the Lena River.
Thing I've been wondering all through this thread . . . where does all that water come from? Last I heard on the news, the Perth area (and southwestern WA as a whole) was in the grip of a severe drought, with desperate water shortages. Has that ended at last?
Thanks Resin. No, I think we have accepted that drought or at least extremely dry conditions, are an ongoing part of life. Perth has a series of wetlands in a chain along the flat area between the Darling Escarpment, hills which run north south for about 200km, and the coast. Some of the larger wetland areas have permanent water, but others, such as our small local swamp, Lake Claremont, completely dry up by early summer.
We've been on water restrictions for more than two decades and the parameters of the limits are becoming more stringent as water becomes an even more precious commodity than it ever was. We can only water our gardens on two allocated watering days a week and that has to occur between 6 & 9am and 6 & 9pm. Heavy fines for those found breaching the restrictions. Householders generally are becoming more aware and take measures to conserve water wherever possible and there are government incentives for water saving devices, even a 10% rebate on soil wetting agents as the soil is sandy and water repellent.
There are a few massive aquifers in the state, but I think management of these precious reserves are generally poorly understood. I include myself in that. The far north of the state "The Kimberley", has more water than could be dreamed of in a lifetime, but huge controversies rage about how best to transport the water the several thousand kilometres south to Perth and areas even farther south than that., whilst maintaining the ecological and cultural purity of the source. I'm not sure just what environmental impact studies have been carried out. The cost, no matter what they decided on would be astronomical.
Now this winter, Perth has had better rains than in many years past, but the rainfall has still fallen below average. At the local swamp this afternoon, it's already showing signs of evaporation. Where I took the photos of the Dotterel was 6" deep in water only a week or so ago: now it's an inch or so deep, at best and the edges have already dried. By mid December, the lake has all but dried up, save for a few puddles at the southern end.
I could go on and on. (I'll bet you find that hard to believe). It's so complex and is affected by so many things. Western Australia is hugely mineral rich and is booming at present. Bring more and more people into a desert, this most fragile of environments, and it's going to have far reaching and long term consequences.
On a cheerier note, here's a Singing Honeyeater in the shrubby trees in the swamp. I love the lichen on the branches.
This is an Australasian Grebe chick. I imagine it is one of the two I posted on the previous thread, a few weeks ago. It's not much smaller than the parent birds. The patterning is the distinguishing factor now. Cute little birds.
Wow, Margaret, I knew there was a drought but did not realize it was that bad. Thanks for the info.
The pictures are so wonderful. At this moment, we are planning a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, in February. Then, I am going to start saving for a Perth trip!! ;o) I so want to hug those Pink Eared ducks!
Wallaby, I actually believe the displaying swans were two males. I've seen it before, where the male breaks away from the female and goes and puts on one of these choreographed performances which ends with him chasing the other away from the area. Then the male will return to the female with both of them doing lots of honking and neck stretching. As swans mate for life, there's no way an interloper would be able to impress the female so quickly.
Yes, the water situation is permanently critical. Our dams have been at about 25% capacity for many years and are supplemented by groundwater and now by a desalination plant just south of Fremantle. More are proposed along the coast. Most householders do their bit, but it's frustrating when you see Government departments and local councils pouring vast amounts of water onto parks and playing fields. Additionally, builders are subject to the same restrictions and it's common to see hoses on building sites running 24 hours a day.
I went to the swamp yesterday and wasn't expecting to get any decent shots as it was really overcast. However, when the cloud cover thinned momentarily, I was able to get some shots of Straw Necked Ibis standing or walking around on the flattened bull rushes.
At home, to make every drop of water count, DH and I have had a two litre icecream container in the kitchen sink to catch all water that would otherwise go down the sink, say for rinsing hands or vegetables, etc. Also we use it to catch the water for washing up under the hot water tap until the water goes from cold to hot, usually about 3 litres. We have a 10 litre plastic water container with a funnel in it just outside the kitchen door to empty the icecream container into and when it's full the water is used on plants around the yard. We generally need to empty it about half a dozen times a day, saving about 60 litres that would otherwise have gone down the drain.
Pacific Black ducklings. They and the Grey Teal family were only feet apart. The poor little bub in my last pic inadvertently crossed the body space comfort zone and mother Black Duck gave it a good shake before releasing it (unharmed - not even perturbed).
Excellent photos, Margaret. I particularly liked the Ibis photo at post #5799049.
Out of curiosity, do local residents, hotels, etc. have in-ground swimming pools ? I didn't realize the critical nature of your water shortage. We too often take for granted all of the natural resources that surround us.
Yes, Mrs Ed. I thought the feathers looked like oil poured on water (not that anyone should do that).
Thanks Linth. I just had a Google and in 2006 20% of Perth's households had a swimming pool. Authorities certainly encourage the use of pool blankets to reduce the amount of evaporation. I would think that all major hotels and motels would have pools.
In 1996 the Western Australian government passed legislation that all new homes must have dual flush toilet cisterns. I don't know how familiar people are with these, but there's a half flush and a full flush button, with the half flush using about 2 litres of H2O instead of the usual 9 or 12 litres. Full flush is used for more "significant" flushes.
There are also water saving shower heads, which reduce the amount of water from a shower without reducing the apparent flow. I don't know exactly what happens but I think that somehow air mixes with the water and it cleans as well and feels the same. (I could be talking through my hat on this).
People are encouraged to install rainwater tanks and there are many easy to install designs. New houses have strict energy and water saving requirements that have to be met before approval is gained and more and more developments have a low energy (and water) impact built in.
Thank you very much, Lee, but you should be complimenting Hel, as they're parrots she has at her place. Hel, am I right in thinking the parrot closest is a King Parrot and the one behind is a Crimson Rosella?
On my way to the Osprey's nest today a few New Holland Honeyeaters were feasting on the nectar in this vine that covered a fence.
Hi all, Marg they are male and female King Parrots. Since I have been putting the wild parrot mix out I have had so many Kings and surprising how close I can get to them. We are not in a drought here, we are on rain water only and have never run out. It has been raining here since Sunday and still doesn't look like clearing. Once again your pics are great.
This pic is an Eastern Rosella
WOW, I have 2 eastern rosella I raised from eggs. One talks, they are the loves of my life. I sold the parents to someone who takes better care of them. They fly around when I let them (because they will eat my house) and they love my cooking. I wish I could take them all back to Australia and let them go. Thank you so much for the pics !
Wormwood, maybe look at your local shelters to see if they know of anywhere to rehouse them where you are. Nice thought to have them repatriated to Australia, but the practicalities would be hugely problematic, notwithstanding that they have been hand reared and would be unlikely to cope in the wild. Yes, they are pretty destructive, aren't they?
Hel, you lucky thing, having a King Parrot that trusts you to the extent that you can approach him. Yes, he is absolutely magnificent. I've seen them at my sister's place in Canberra.
Please join us at Volume 2. Click on the link in my last post and it'll take you there.