Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shades of Blue

 This post is for Wild Bird Wednesday.

I am showing a very mixed group of birds today - seen on different days and in different places - but too nice to just forget about.
The Mangrove Honeyeater is quite common around the bay wherever there are mangrove trees for it to roost in.  This one was sitting up on a dead tree branch and showing off its beautiful blue eye. It is not a big bird - 18-21mm - but it has a big melodious song. I saw this one out at Bullock Point.

The Peaceful Dove is another small bird.  It can often be seen feeding on seeds on the ground.  The bluish ring around its eye makes the eye itself look blue in the right light.  I saw a group of these birds at the picnic ground at Mullens.

There was a big storm blowing through north of me the other afternoon.  The sky got very black in that direction but the camera "saw" more dark blue than black.  The late afternoon sun was still shining and the birds sitting high in the tree looked very dramatic against that dark sky.  This is a Pied Butcherbird.

Monday, August 20, 2012

They're Back!

 This post is for Wild Bird Wednesday.

They're back!  The shorebirds that is!  Of course, these are just the first to arrive but I always think these ones are the promise that the rest of them will be here soon!
Eastern Curlews (Numenius madagascariensis)  are always the first to arrive and over the last week or so their numbers have been increasing.  They breed in Russia and NE China but my bird book says their distribution there is "poorly known".  They are the largest migratory shorebird that we see around here and their very long down-curved bill makes them easy to recognize.  They are not easy to get close to.  I have been told that a bird as large as this has formerly been regarded as good eating in some of the countries along the flyway from the northern hemisphere.

 I saw these ones out at Inskip Point at the end of last week.  They were strung out along the waterline where some were sleeping but others were preening with that incredibly long bill.  The three Godwits that I saw roosting with them looked small in comparison.  There were a couple of vehicles and some other people there at the same time and suddenly the Curlews decided it was all too crowded and they took off for the sand island.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Black Swans

This post is for Wild Bird Wednesday.

I had good views of the family of Black Swans while I was in at the park in Gympie the other day.  The young ones were still staying quite close to the parents.  Looking closely at them I could see they were losing some of their baby fluff.

This little turtle was sitting on a rock out in the middle of the pond but began moving as one of the swans came closer.  The swan really wasn't interested and the turtle settled down again. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Red-winged Parrots

This post is for Wild Bird Wednesday.

 Nearly every morning I see and hear Red-winged Parrots (Aprosmictus erythropterus) flying overhead.  I recognize their distinctive wing beats and flight pattern and also their rather metallic sounding call - but they seldom come down into my yard and give me a chance to get a good look at them or take a photo.  Early the other morning this one came down into a tree in the backyard but it was almost in silhouette against the morning sun.  I moved around as far as I could go - (backyard fences can be such a nuisance at such times!) - and these were the resulting photos.  I can see the beautiful green plumage and the early morning sun glinting off the foliage of the tree.  I cannot see details but I think this is a female or juvenile with a small red patch on the wings.  The males have a much larger area of red. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bush Walk

This post is for Our World Tuesday

This morning I went for a walk in the National Park which is immediately across the road from my house and behind the houses on that side.  There are tracks over there that meander through the bush and eventually come out on the road to Rainbow Beach which is on top of the hills at that point.  I haven't been able to walk any distance for quite a while so it was especially nice to walk over there.  It doesn't take long for you to be out of sight of houses and away from any human noise.  The track we walked along used to be a popular 4 wheel drive track but it has been closed for several years and the vegetation is growing thicker and closer.

There were quite a lot of earlier flowering wild flowers.  Wild flowers in my area mostly bloom in winter and spring as summer temperatures are a bit too hot.  This is a Patersonia which prefers the lower and wetter parts.

This is Hakea plurinervia with a number of ants crawling around the flowers.

This is Leucopogan pimeleoides (I think!) The flower is almost insignificant but the bush carries masses of these tiny flowers and the perfume is very delicate.  The friend I was walking with this morning grew up in Ireland and she said the perfume of this flower reminded her of Meadowsweet - although the look of the flower and plant was quite different. 

There were lots of bushes with these tiny yellow pea-like flowers - but I never did manage to sort out the different varieties.

The track follows the hillside above the upper reaches of what becomes Mullens Creek.  Most of the time we were out of sight of the creek.  The track then descends very steeply right down to the creek.  At this point it is a string of small but deep pools of water.  On the other side of the creek the track ascends very steeply again - but that part will have to wait for another day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Noisy Friarbird

This post is for Wild Bird Wednesday. 

Noisy Friarbirds (Philemon corniculatus) are very common birds in my backyard.  They are definitely very noisy birds and this is a link to their sounds.  However,  I prefer the common name that I learnt as a child - Leatherhead.  This bird is not beautiful and neither is its call a beautiful melodious song. However,  I love them because they remind me of summer holidays when I was young.  We used to tent in sandy country just behind a beach.  There were lots of banksia trees all around and the Leatherheads were in the trees.  I remember waking up to their noisy chatterings every morning.  What could be nicer!
These birds are in a Grevillea tree in my backyard.  They share it with Blue Honeyeaters and Rainbow Lorikeets and other occasional bird visitors.