Notes to readers of this Blog


NOTES TO READERS OF THIS BLOG

Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.
Cheers,
Richard

Monday, 28 July 2014

Redthroats, Splendid Fairy-wrens, Red-capped Robins and Yellow-rumped Thornbills

Yesterday morning was quite chilly and it took the birds about 30 minutes after the sunrise to start warming up. The Horsfields Bronze-cuckoo and Pallid Cuckoo were in full voice, and the Australian Ringneck and Mulga Parrots could be heard in the valleys. But it was a family of Redthroats that made the morning. I had seen them at a distance in a particular area, and left them alone for a little while, but returned before I jumped back in the car.

At first I could see the male, scampering around the bushes, lots of twigs in the way for any decent photos. Then I saw some of the juveniles in the same spot, who then hopped around into the sun to warm up. I got as close as I could without disturbing them, the sun at my back. Having seen these birds only a few times, I wanted to sit and watch for a little while. The younger ones didn't seem too fussed by my presence and continued to preen themselves on a low, exposed branch. Eventually the male adult returned with some food, then zoomed off. It think the adult female was sitting further in the bush, but keeping an eye out for me and anything else that could potentially pose a threat.

Redthroats



A Splendid Fairy-wren male hopped into the tree above me, and I took the first shot, then after a little flit here and there, flew down to the ground not far in front of me and started ferreting for food.

Splendid Fairy-wren




A female Red-capped Robin provided a little entertainment as it too perched, flew down for something then perched again although in a different spot. The male kept its distance. A little later, the female decided the Pallid cuckoo really shouldn't be so close to their home.



The Yellow-rumped Thornbills were quite numerous and quite noisy. Eventually they too came close enough for a photo
Yellow-rumped Thornbill


Monday, 21 July 2014

Photos of Birds around the Alice Springs area

I saw these two Major Mitchell Cockatoos on a water trough. The first photo is at the start of a fluff-up and shake after a drink.







Crested Pigeon at the Water Trough


Galah at the water trough

and some from the Sewage Ponds in Alice Springs

Australian Reed Warbler

Black Kite

Black Swan

Grey Teal

Hardhead

Pink-eared Duck

Red-necked Avocet


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Connells Lagoon Conservation Reserve - A BirdLife Central Australia Branch trip

BirdLife Central Australia Branch had their first official "outing" over the weekend, starting with a stall at the Tennant Creek Show on the Friday, then heading up to Connells Lagoon Conservation Reserve. In total there were 7 of us, 5 adults and two kids, my two boys, Banjo and Moses.

After being entertained by the Australian Pratincoles and Wedge-tailed Eagles before we reached the Reserve, the first excitement of the Reserve wasn't a bird at all. One of the other two cars was in front and a very large kangaroo bounded slowly through the bush and then in front of their car. Luckily Pete saw the roo before it headed across the road and managed to avoid it. In all we saw about 10 kangaroos, large reds and a few greys.

Next it was finding a camping spot. We eventually found a dry river bed and set up camp. After a big couple of days, we all stayed together and headed to what we thought was Pictorella Swamp. Alas we couldn't find the swamp, but there were a few birds around including Golden-headed Cisticolas and Red-backed Fairy-wrens. As we headed back to the cars, we saw the Super Moon rising in the east, magically large and orange. We had a fairly early night, the next day was hopefully going to be a great day of birding and surveying.

In the morning, Lisa and Pete headed off to find the real Pictorella Swamp, whilst Chris and Sam headed off towards Avocet Waterhole. The boys and I stayed at the camp and had a kick of the footy, and did a quick 20 minute survey of the camp area. Overall the area is dry, and the birding in the main wasn't spectacular, but it was fun trampling through the bush, not knowing what we might find.

We all convened back at the camp for lunch, although the boys and I headed to where Chris and Sam had been in the hope of spotting the Australian Bustards they had seen earlier. Although we dipped on the Bustards, we did see a Rufous-throated Honeyeater, a lifer for the boys.

In the afternoon, Lisa and Pete headed west, whilst Chris, Sam, the boys and I headed to Pictorella Swamp that Lisa and Pete had found earlier. We managed to see Golden-headed Cisticolas, Variegated Fairy-wrens, Zebra Finches and Budgerigars but couldn't find the Pictorella Mannikens Lisa and Pete had seen that morning. All 7 of us then met at Connells Lagoon in the hope we would see some Flock Bronzewing. This time, we were in luck. The FBs came in small parties up to 20 and then flew off after landing and walking down to the water's edge for a drink. It was difficult to estimate exactly how many as they seemed to be coming for a drink, heading off and then circling back. We could see Swamp Harrier in the distance, as well as Hoary-headed Grebes on the lagoon and some Grey Teal as well.

Later that night I took the boys spot-lighting and we saw a couple of Barn Owls and an Owlet Nightjar.

The next morning was pack up time and heading back towards the Barkly Homestead or Alice Springs. As we were getting the camp cleaned up, we had a visit by 5 or 6 Black-chinned Honeyeaters, the Golden-backed variety which was a nice addition to an ever-growing list.

Connells Lagoon Conservation Reserve would be a great birding destination after the rains and before it dries out too much. Below is a link to the Parks and Wildlife Commission NT webpage:
Connells Lagoon Conservation Reserve fact sheet
If you are intending to head there, make sure you are fully self sufficient as there are no facilities, except the serenity of Barkly Tablelands.

Some Birder shots to start with.






Flock Bronzewings at Connells Lagoon




Black-chinned Honeyeater (Golden-backed)

Grey Fantail

Australian Pratincole

 Super Moon 

Wedge-tailed Eagle


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A cute Pink-eared Duckling along with mum, and others from the Alice Springs Water Treatment Plant

It has been a while since I visited our local ponds, and the birdlife seem to be enjoying the refuge as the outlying areas dry out. A surprise camein the form of a fluffy little Pink-eared Duckling. I walked up to a corner of a pond and was surprised by the slow movement of an adult Pink-eared Duck. Soon I realised why when this ball of fluff sauntered out from the protection of the bank, chasing the adult. It was curious to watch how the adult kept its distance until both were well into the middle of a rather large pond. I was glad there were no raptors hanging around during those minutes as it would have been awful to see this little one be taken.

Pink-eared Duckling

 Pink eared Duck


White-winged Fairy-wren



Fairy Martin followed by Tree Martin
nice of them to sit in the same position - makes it easy to identify and compare


Another pairing, Little Corella followed by Long-billed Corella


Yellow-rumped Thornbill