Friday, July 27, 2012

Birds of Katherine town

We have arrived at Katherine, Northern Territory. These are a few of the birds that greeted us. I particularly enjoyed watching this group of Grey-crowned babblers as they fussed over nesting material.

Black kites seem to be everywhere, apparently constantly on the wing, looking for a potential feed. They seemed to be number up to 20 birds at times if there are "good pickings".

These tiny birds are were easily photographed on arrival at Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park.

Peaceful dove

Monday, July 23, 2012

Alice Springs Zebra Finch

A lovely welcome to Central Australia from these Zebra Finch which are everywhere at present. These are not great photos but I'm just enjoying seeing thediffering birds from home. There weren't any finches close to the sparrowhawk pictured below!

Collared sparrowhawk

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wedge-tailed eagle, Raptor Domain

I was clearing some old holiday video footage from a 2011 trip to Kangaroo Island and enjoyed watching again this orphaned 20 year-old Wedge-tailed eagle called Jedda. The place is Kangaroo Island's Raptor Domain where there is a daily interactive bird and flight "experience".

A link to a 2 minute YouTube video of Jedda's show can be found below.
Other birds seen on the day we attended Raptor Domain feature in this earlier blog post.
Raptor Domain's website can be seen here:

Monday, July 16, 2012

At the feeder this week

This bird feeder was a present for Hannah's 11th birthday present a year ago and she has continued to show an interest. Amongst the introduced riffraff (Common myna in particular) we do receive some gorgeous visitors. This week we have had daily visits from Eastern rosellas.

Eastern rosella (Platycercus eximius)

This Crimson rosella (Platycercus elegans) was intent on playing hide and seek!
Another introduced species - Spotted turtledove (Spilopelia chinensis)
Although Spotted turtle-doves are out of control in Melbourne there is hopes that the smaller population in remote Alice Springs can be controlled.  This NT government fact sheet helps interested locals identify the birds and trap them! This blog post from Central Australia birding guru (one of them!) Chris Watson shows some of the strike force in action!

Friday, July 13, 2012


People have a lot of fun with collective nouns for birds. I would prefer to say that this is a picture of a skein (skayn) of ibis. I suspect I would be howled down on two counts:
  1. When used as a collective noun the word skein seems most commonly applied to geese or ducks in flight.
  2. I suspect that the correct plural of ibis is ibises.
So this is a probably a picture of a flock of ibises. When they land they would become a colony.

Photographed from the car at 100kmh (yeeees .....passenger seat!) on the South Gippsland Hwy at Bass last Saturday evening. About 250 Straw-necked ibis(es) heading south west (in the direction of Phillip lsland I imagine). There may be a few white ibis thrown in.

But I still think skein of ibis sounds better!

Monday, July 9, 2012



We spotted and photographed this Buff-banded rail from the car as our family arrived at Silverleaves on the weekend. They do appear to be regulars here - we see them from time to time.

Buff-banded rail, Silverleaves, Phillip Island


I went back to see to see if I could get some better shots and all I found was this:

Buff-banded rail, suspected road kill (the concrete is the shoulder of the road)

I don't really think it is the same bird (a little cold and stiff) but it was still pretty disheartening. Rails hold a special little place in our birding sphere. It was a long time before we ever saw one and since then we have always been excited to spot them again!

I find it hard to fathom how this occurred as the road is a 40km/h pedestrian-shared space. My only guess is that there were vehicles moving both ways and in evading one vehicle the bird has moved into the path of another. It is a narrow road and cars have to move to the side to pass each other.

Google StreetView, Honeysuckle Ave, Silverleaves. The grassed area is currently a lake!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Temporary wetland at Silverleaves

Some low-lying land at Silverleaves has been an instant wetland for several weeks now and can be a hive of activity. Purple swamphen in particular are quite active with much strutting, posturing and aggression yesterday. However this fellow was simply contemplating something good to eat (or possibly just stunned at the silliness of his own reflection!).

The strut
I had never before noticed the exaggerated tail display seen above and below

Chestnut teal in particular are enjoying the new pond

There's something for everyone (Willie wagtail) 
Willie wagtail

Brown thornbill and grey fantail were also active (below)