Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Today I learnt about dimorphism!

We Aussie blokes have noticed that sheilas look different....

I read today that this is called sexual dimorphism. Birds demonstrate this as well of course but some species demonstrate non-sexual dimorphism.

I had always been aware that the Eastern Reef Egret had dark and light forms known as morphs. Up 'till now I had only ever seen the dark morph (living down south) but this month on the Sunshine Coast I believe I have seen both.

This prompted a little exploration about how this dimorphism works with particular reference to this species. I read:

  1. Wikipedia's pages Eastern Reef Egret and sexual dimorphism
  2. Eremaea's listing for Eastern Reef Egret
  3. Birdlife Australia re Eastern Reef Egret
  4. Same for Birds in Backyards

Eastern Reef Egret (Egretta sacra) Dark morph, Noosa Heads headland

Eastern Reef Egret, light morph, Caloundra

This photo from Thailand hosted by Wikipedia at their Eastern Reef egret page claims to have both forms in the one frame:

Birders look away (instagram warning):

Black-shouldered kite, Wedge-tailed eagle, Eastern spinebill

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's a Grey Goshawk you Spangled Drongo!

I was walking back to the hire car as birding time was nearly over at Ben Bennett Bushland Reserve in Caloundra. (I had to leave as one of my mates in the travelling group was nearly finished at the tattoo parlour and he would have ink to raise eyebrows at - this was a first in our group!) A cacophony of noisy miner and other honeyeaters awoke me from my misery (dips on scarlet honeyeater and variegated fairy-wren). The birds were clearly upset by what I hoped would be a raptor. I wasn't disappointed:

Grey goshawk (Accipiter novaehollandiae) A lifer for me!!!
Ben Bennett Bushland Reserve, Sunshine Coast
 Examining the image at lower right I wondered if the bird was injured but on closer inspection the talons of the bird's right leg appear to be withdrawn - I'm not sure.

Other birding pleasures for this south-of-the-Murray birder included Spangled drongo, Lewin's honeyeater and Eastern yellow robin (enjoys living in Victoria as well).

Spangled drongo (Dicruris bracteatus)
Lewin's honeyeater (Meliphaga lewinii) above and in flight while hawking for a feed (below)

Eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australia)
A few shots showing the locale ...

Birders look away (not for the purists) ...

(a few of the above images with filters applied a la Instagram)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunshine Coast Ospreys

Over the last four years I have enjoyed an annual trip with friends to Caloundra for a few days in May. Among the many highlights are opportunities to renew acquaintances with the local ospreys.

Osprey (Pandion heliaetus), Noosa Heads National Park 

In the photos above the bird was perched on the bare branch seen at lower right. He patrolled this coastline around the Boilingpot Lookout, Noosa Heads National Park
Now we are back closer the accommodation and the Kings Beach ospreys are even more obliging with one bird regularly perching at the Surf Club. His favoured lookout was on some street art ...... featuring birds!

A fellow Victorian admires the view (allowed this close only after the author was satisfied he had enough snaps!)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Angry Birds - White-browed scrubwrens

With their furrowed brows these angry little guys must seem truly terrible to their prey! I enjoyed these views of a small group at Blackburn Lake this week.

White-browed scrubwren (Sericornis frontalis)

"Go ahead! Make my day!"

Making like a robin


Spotted something

In for the kill!
 Also at the lake this week....

Distant view of Common bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)

Australasian grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)

Red wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata) sporting a magnificent yellow blush

Crimson rosella (Platycerus elegans)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A hollow feeling!

This productive nesting tree hollow at suburban Blackburn Lake Sanctuary has been closely watched. It is only 2.5 metres off the ground alongside one of the broad, well-tended walking trails. I imagine it has been home to many hatchlings including the young of this rainbow lorikeet.

Rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus heamatodus) 22 January 2012

Now it is no more, or at least has been redeveloped! This is the hollow I had been watching for evidence of Sacred kingfisher breeding. I hope I was barking up the wrong tree!

The same hollow (lower central), 8 May 2012

I am curious to know what this black substance might be

On a separate note, those familiar with the sanctuary may be interested to know that a small section (about 5% would be my estimate) has had a fuel reduction burn this autumn.

Monday, May 7, 2012

At the bird-feeder today....

Things have been very gloomy in Melbourne in recent weeks with heavy cloud and daily showers. Today however there was some colour to be enjoyed at the in-laws' bird-feeder.

Rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus heamatodus), Mitcham

What was that? Did you see something Reg?
I was watching some grazing Wood ducks one day & noticed one was looking at the sky in this manner - it had spotted a distant raptor!

Naah, it was nothin'

Rainbows on Rainbows - I'd not noticed the upper leg colouring before.

Often known as a Mudlark in Victoria, the Magpie-lark makes it's nest on a horizontal limb with plant matter held together by mud

Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) Male

Also well known by the name Peewee (or Murray Magpie apparently if you're a Crow eater)

This Noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala) wondered if it was missing out