Archive for November, 2008

White-faced Heron visits for a swim

White-faced Heron in our swimming pool

White-faced Heron in our swimming pool

Yesterday we were delighted to have a special visitor to our swimming pool. Mind you – it would have been rather cold going for a swim. Winter seems to have returned after some very hot weather. Summer is officially just over a week away, yet we have had several days in the mid teens.

White-faced Heron in our swimming pool

White-faced Heron in our swimming pool

This White-faced Heron wasn’t after a swim though. He was keeping a sharp eye on the frogs in our pool. Yes – you read that correctly. I’ve neglected the swimming pool for so long that the frogs have moved in. At least it’s getting some use.

The water level is down a metre too, and will take quite a deal of water to get it back to normal levels. Despite the current water restrictions, I feel okay about doing this. I haven’t added any water for several years now, relying only on rainwater from part of our roof.

White-faced Heron in our swimming pool

White-faced Heron in our swimming pool

From memory, this is only the second time a White-faced Heron has landed in our garden in over 25 years. It’s about time the Little Pied Cormorant paid a visit.

You can enlarge the photos by clicking on the images.

Two days to go to help the flamingo

Have you put in a bid yet for the painting of the flamingo?

This special auction has – as I write this – exactly two days to run.

All proceeds from this auction on Ebay will go towards helping the flamingo recently bashed at the Adelaide Zoo.

UPDATE: The auction has now ended.

Artist moved by flamingo’s plight

I recently had a media release from an Australian artist concerned about the plight of the flamingo that was recently bashed at the Adelaide Zoo. Here is what he said:

Artist moved by flamingo’s plight
Australian artist auctions work for bashed bird

In an effort to raise money and awareness for the half-blind, 70-something-year-old greater flamingo that was attacked at Adelaide Zoo at the end of last month, Australian artist Patrick Christie is auctioning the number one print of his most recent work, PINK. Christie’s hand-embossed, limited-edition giclee print features three flamingos.

All proceeds from the auction will go to Adelaide Zoo to benefit the greater flamingo in its recovery and care. Those wishing to bid on the unframed H75cmxH50cm pen and ink on paper print can do so on eBay from 12noon AEST on Friday 14 November 2008. The auction closes 10 days later. The numbered print is hand embossed, signed, and finished with an original detail of a hand drawn flamingo by the artist. Bidders can now view the print on the artist’s website at until the end of the auction period.

The attack on Greater 1, as the flamingo is known, occurred on the afternoon of 29 October and nearly killed the bird, according to its handlers. Four youths, aged 17 to 19, were later charged with animal cruelty and remanded to appear in court. Greater 1 suffered serious injury to the beak and head, causing blood to seep into his airway, as well as concussion.

Christie was putting final touches on PINK, his pen and ink drawing of three flamingos, when he heard the first report of the attack on Greater 1. He felt moved to take action to help the bird and raise awareness about responsible interactions with animals.

“The needless pain and grief suffered by Greater 1, and those animals and carers close to him, is very disheartening. As citizens of our natural world, we all have the duty to ensure we interact with every animal in an appropriate and responsible manner. It’s about respecting life. Teaching children to handle all animals with care. Gently stepping in when we see or hear of any animal being mistreated,” said Christie.

Greater 1, the flamingo, continues his rehabilitation at Adelaide Zoo.

“Greater 1 is on the road to recovery,” said Adelaide Zoo CEO Dr Chris West. “Initially losing weight and not eating, the keepers at Adelaide Zoo closely monitored him, concerned with his loss of weight. Over the last few days he has started to eat regularly, again preening himself and appearing comfortable back in his home with his friend the Chilean Flamingo,” said Dr West.

Media Enquiries:

Christopher Totten
Patrick Christie Ink
Communications Manager
Mobile: 0405 990 646

The auction on Ebay is underway with some very generous bids so far. If you wish to bid on this auction please go to the relevant web page. You have until 24th November 2008.

UPDATE: The auction has now finished.

Happy Bird-day to me

Happy Birthday to me.

Yep – another year has rolled around. Another digit notched up on the calendar. I didn’t treat myself to a few hours of birding today, but I did have a great lunch with my family.

I managed to get in about an hour of casual birding yesterday afternoon. My daughter took me to see a play in Adelaide (Ying Tong: a walk with the Goons). On our way home we detoured to Belair National Park about twenty minutes south of the city. We had a very pleasant hour with some lovely nibbles and a cuppa.

I didn’t take all that much notice of the bird life and wasn’t suitably attired to go crashing through the undergrowth. Far too many people around too; it’s a popular park being so close to the city.

We used one of the tables next to Playford Lake which is near the entrance. On the lake there were quite a few Pacific Black Ducks, Australian Wood Ducks, Eurasian Coot and Dusky Moorhens. An Australian Magpie sang for his afternoon tea but that was not coming from our table. (The cheese was too nice to throw away.) I was certain it was imitating a Kookaburra at one stage. Oh, yes, I saw several Laughing Kookaburras, plenty of hopeful Noisy Miners near or table (they didn’t get any cheese either) and a constant chorus of Striated Pardalotes chirping in the trees all around. Several Galahs flew overhead and several small groups of Adelaide Rosellas zipped through the trees.

The only highlight of the hour was a sighting of two – dare I say pair? – of Rainbow Lorikeets going in and out of a tree hollow. I wonder if it was a nest?

Rainbow Lorikeet, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Rainbow Lorikeet, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

The Most Dangerous Bird in the World

Southern Cassowary, Adelaide Zoo

Southern Cassowary, Adelaide Zoo

Most Australians have a healthy respect for our dangerous animals – things like our spiders, snakes, sharks and so on. Even many visitors are warned before entering Australia about the dangers lurking around every corner.

What most people do not realise is that we also have what is considered by many to be the world’s most dangerous bird.

The Southern Cassowary of Papua New Guinea and northern Queensland has caused at least one death. Its sharp claws are razor sharp, it has a propensity to attack with little provocation and is very large. An adult can be from 1.5m – 1.8m (5 – 6 feet) in height so we are not dealing with a little bush bird. For comparison, an Emu is slightly taller (1.5 – 2m) and the Ostrich slightly taller again (1.75 – 2.75m)

There is a very interesting and quite long article about the Southern Cassowary on the Smithsonian website here. It poses the question: ‘Should Cassowaries be fed or feared?’ Personally, if one walked into my garden I’d excitedly photograph it from every window of the house with a view of the visitor, and then ring the local zoo to come and collect it. When it comes to hungry cassowaries I think I’d be wary and just a bit of a chicken. (I will not apologise for those awful puns!)

Related article: