Yesterday we reached 47.4C. One of our bores has died and the remaining bore cannot keep up with community demand. So water has been off for much of each of the past three days. About three hours of water, morning and evening.
Our little sprinkler which has become the water source for so many birds has been dry during the hottest part of the day.
So I improvised and hung a cup of water in the tree above the sprinkler.
I was rewarded when one of the smallest (10-12cm) of the honeyeaters, the Brown, came for a drink.
Why don’t you join in and show us the bird life in your part of the world? Just leave a message here and we will come and have a look.
Found mainly in still or slow moving water, the darter spends a lot of its time drying out. It looks totally ragged just after it has settled on a rock or low tree branch.
However, after a while all the feathers settle back into place. Its shape is rather matronly with a long graceful neck attached to a rather dumpy body.
That large body is only seen when the darter is out of the water. When spotted in the water, it has a snake-like appearance with its body fully submerged. Its head slips below the water with scarcely a ripple and it often reappears just as suddenly and just as unexpectedly.
Of course, every now and then that reappearance is a little more noticeable.
The Purple Swamp Hen.
Standing in the late afternoon sun, this two foot high (50cm) swamphen caught my eye.
Perhaps he is a swamprooster.
That iridescent blue on his chest is only visible in sunlight. Then it is quite spectacular.
Reading my book of birds (Field Guide to Australian Birds; Morecombe) i find that this bird is as domineering as he looks.
“Large, colourful, common waterhen. Aggressive and bullying towards other waterbirds, kills ducklings. Has strength to pull up water reeds as food. Clumsy, leg-dangling crash-landing flight. At night often gives wild shrieks and boomings, perhaps basis of bunyip stories. Deep thudding sounds from beating wings on body. Widespread, common.”
All that means is that I no longer feel guilty looking at those delectable drumsticks!
If you decide to join Friday’s Feathers, leave a comment here so we can all visit.
I was walking through Bunbury the other day when I spotted this rare White-Flowered Pine.
These flowers are quite unusual in that they are free moving, sometimes leaving the tree for extended periods of time.
Sometimes they are called a “Corella” and are often mistaken for members of the parrot family.
Here we go, Friday’s Feathers #1
The Red Wattle Bird is a large honeyeater which eats the flowers of Eucalypts and other trees and shrubs. It is a loud and aggressive bird. Widespread right across the continent, it is a common sight.
It is not named after red wattle trees or after its overall colour which is anything but red. It is named after the red “wattles” which hang down from where its ears would be, if birds had ears.
And thereby hangs a tale.
Sweetest Daughter, aged four, decided she wanted a pet. So she picked a chook to be that pet. A “chook” is what people down there in the Northern Hemisphere call a “hen”, a supplier of eggs or of KFC meals. Anyway daughter chose to train her pet. She spent over an hour trying to get it to “sit” or to “lie down”. Eventually she lost patience and, from a height of about six inches above this poor bird’s head she screamed, “YOU STUPID CHOOK!!!” As the terrified chook flattened itself onto the ground, Sweetest Daughter innocently looked up and asked, “Mum, do chooks have ears?”
Anyhoodles, back to the Red Wattle Bird. This one was seen in Bunbury, I had set up to shoot it sitting silhouetted against the sky, but as so often happens with birds, it moved as I was pressing the shutter.
I’m starting a new series today. Maybe it will become a meme.
Some of you may have noticed that I enjoy taking and posting photographs of birds.
If anyone wants to join me, they are welcome. Just put the picture above into your post (or as a link in your sidebar) and add a comment to this week’s Friday’s Feathers here so that other featherers can visit your entry.
Your entry can as simple as a bird all by itself, or it can have information about where the photo was taken and you can even add ornithological notes.
On a recent trip along the Swan River I spotted this Spoonbill.
It was looking at me with a quizzical expression on its face.
Then he remembered he had an appointment.
And, somewhat like the White Rabbit, he was running late.
Smelly; an awkward word to photograph. I went through my files, finding many sweet smelling flowers. Perfumed but not smelly.
Until I came across something from my outback journeys.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that, as one of the protagonists of The Poisonwood Bible, discovered, “The death of something living is the price of our own survival, and we pay it again and again. We have no choice. It is the one solemn promise every life on earth is born and bound to keep.“
Unpleasant as this picture may be to some, it is a reminder of the source of our Big Macs and our Hot Dogs. We eat dead animals and dead plants. Being human we disguise the smell of death with spices and marinades and cooking.
In Australia, kangaroos have not adapted well to roads. Many die after losing arguments with road trains.
But those messy deaths have led to an increase in the population of the Great Southern Land’s largest Raptor, the Wedge Tailed Eagle.
Without them, driving in Australia’s outback would become VERY smelly.
A honeymooning couple had purchased a talking parrot and taken it to their room, where much to the groom’s annoyance, the bird kept up a running commentary on their love making.
Finally the groom threw a large towel over the cage and threatened to give the parrot to the zoo if he didn’t quit it.
The next morning, packing to return home, the couple couldn’t close a large suitcase. The groom said, “Darling, you get on top and I’ll try.” That didn’t work.
Figuring they needed more weight on the lid, she said, “Sweetheart, you get on top and I’ll try.” Still no success.
So, he said, “Look. Let’s both get on top.”
At that point the parrot pulled away the towel with his beak and said: “Zoo or no zoo. I just gotta see this.”
Wed 26 Sept, 2007
THE third hatchling of the year for Frodocam stars, peregrine falcons Frodo and Frieda, hatched high above Brisbane this afternoon
The white, fluffy chick hatched about 2pm on the falcons’ penthouse ledge above the Brisbane River.
The previous hatchling arrived about 6am today.
Frodo and Frieda now begin the task of keeping food up to the ravenous chicks.
Watch Frodocam as the chicks grow – fast!
We should also be able to collect some (gory) video of the falcons feeding their young, mostly on feral pigeons hunted in their inner-city territory.
This will be the fourth clutch of chicks raised on webcam by this family. It could well be the eighth clutch raised in this nest by this pair.
This pied oyster catcher was busy feeding on shellfish when I worried him by getting too close.
He flew off the sand bar at Point Walter in high dudgeon.
Please ignore the human pollution which is just out of focus!
Not being a great concert-goer, I do not have a lot of Human Music photos.
What I do have are a lot of photos of Nature’s own special musicians.
Australia has many Honey-eaters and most of them make fairly tuneless noises.
This one is the “Singing Honey-eater” and has a melodious five note song. Definitely musical.
Caught here in full song.
When life sends lemons, it is always best to make lemonade.
Unable to photograph the eclipse on Tuesday night, I still found this Red Wattlebird. At around 35cm (16 inches) it is one of our larger honey eaters. The Red Wattle is that little bit of red skin hanging down below the eye.
Having been extremely busy been collecting small sticks and fluffy seeds for nest-building there was no way it stay still for me.
Finally, as the twilight faded into night it stopped for a moment and I was able to catch it with a flash.