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.
Friday, 7 March 2014
A fleeting Peregrine Falcon experience, Brown Honeyeaters in an upside down dip, and a Rufous Songlark
Papunya has turned up a nice surprise. A young Peregrine Falcon without its usual "zoom" but still fast enough and alas a little way off but some photos just the same.
I think I counted 10 Brown Honeyeaters in the shrub in the middle of a large puddle, using the shrub to launch for a dip. Some weren't as keen as others and they were quite comical, almost human-like, with some plunging in and others just getting the smallest of dips. As I watched, one of the "plungers" did something strange- they flipped over just as they hit the water so it looked like they were bathing with their head up. Here are a few shots.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
A well placed bush - photos of Rainbow Bee-eaters, Budgerigar, Brown Honeyeater and Willie Wagtail at Papunya
Near the Papunya airstrip, there is a largish ground hollow that has had water in it on the occasions work has brought me to the Community. In the middle of one of the larger pools is a shrub that provides a lovely launching place for birds wanting a drink. The Diamond Doves and Zebra Finches use it, as well as a variety of other birds including the Rainbow Bee-eater.
from the perch, it launched an assault on something in the water
The shrub, full of Zebra Finches and a few Budgerigars
In Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight's The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, under Zebra Finch entry, "Habitat - near water.....". Yesterday I came across a water truck trailer, lots of pumps and hoses and no-one in sight, except for the hundreds of Zebra Finches. I took up station close to where they were drinking and waited. Of course, one of the water tankers pulled up within a few minutes and covered me with dust! I felt sure the finches would stay away from the drinking water while the truck was there as yet another generator was fired up to fill the tanker with water from the temporary little dam they had created. The finches though were obviously more accustomed to the noise than I was and busily kept flitting into the overhanging tree, down the dead branch by the water and onto the water's edge for a drink. Ensuring the dust had settled from the arrival of the truck, I started clicking away. Here are some photos:
Refilling the water tanker
A Willie Wagtail also enjoying a drink
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
On the way to Papunya, west of Alice Springs, I watched a family of Brown Falcons, the parents giving lessons to the younger ones. An adult swooped down low and dropped something in a ditch by the side of the road. One of the younger ones came a few minutes later. It swooped in and then landed. I watched wondering what the adult had dropped. Even though my car was almost opposite the ditch, the young falcon was too intent on the morsel to worry too much about me sitting in the car. It walked along the top of the bank to start with, and then walked directly at me and down into the ditch. With the camera clicking away furiously, I paused as the falcon's head disappeared below the near bank. It popped up with nothing, then ducked again and finally came up with I think a frog. It walked back up the far side of the ditch and then turned and ate the frog in one gulp. I then flew off to a nearby tree and had a little bit of landing trouble. Silly stick got between its legs and it had a few goes at putting both feet on a branch either side of the offending branch, then repositioned via a short flight and eventually managed to settle with both feet on the one side of the offending stick. All wonderful experience for a young Brown Falcon, and fascinating to watch from a bird-watcher's point of view.
Monday, 3 March 2014
On the way back to Alice Springs from Mataranka yesterday, I saw another 3 Pheasant Coucals. I think that made 10 for the Saturday and Sunday. Considering I'd only ever seen 1 bird on a few occasions previously, to see so many in quick succession was wonderful for me. The one in the photos below was just near the Todd Memorial on the Stuart Highway just south of Dunmurra. First photo is the bird with a frog, and the other 3 photos are to show the beautiful tail and wings. Alas it was overcast and rain/showers for most of the trip until below the Devils Marbles, but the rain cleared in certain spots for a few minutes and this was one.
Before I got to the Pheasant Coucal spot, I had stopped in at Stuart's Tree at Daly Waters for a break/coffee. As I drove back onto the road, I had my windows down. Again the drizzle had stopped. Before I got to the creek bridge, I heard the distinctive call of the Australian Koel. I had heard this on the podcast of Steve Abbott's "BirdBrain" series and was in no doubt it was the same call. After searching for a little while, I spotted one of the two birds calling high up in a dead tree.
Continuing down the Stuart Highway, the clouds were beginning to get higher and the drizzle less frequent. Just before the Newcastle Creek bridge, I saw two Australian Bustards, or Bush Turkeys, about to cross the road in front of me. An adult and a juvenile, the juvenile was the more tentative, but as I had stopped for them, there was no problem crossing the road. I took some photos from inside the car, and quickly checked the camera to make sure I had the dials set correctly, then looked up, and they were gone. A chance encounter that was very brief. A bit further down the road I past another single adult that was in the ditch beside the road but I was almost level with it before it had put its head up. I have included a shot I took at the Alice Springs Desert Park recently that shows the throat shape of the Bustard I had just driven past.
Captive Bird from Alice Springs Desert Park