I love seeing woodswallows here at home and anywhere on my travels. All the various species present in Australia have a distinctive call that attracts my attention skywards. More often than not I hear them overhead before I see them. In many cases they are so high up to be almost invisible. At other times the flock – which can number from a dozen or so up to the hundreds – can be soaring just a few metres overhead. When a few individuals settle on some handy nearby dead branch I can sometimes get a few photos of these beautiful birds.
On a recent visit to Adelaide Zoo I was able to get up quite close to several White-browed Woodswallows in one of their aviaries. Despite the wire netting I was still able to get a reasonable few photos of them, albeit a little fuzzy.
White-browed Woodswallows can be found throughout Australia (except Cape York and Tasmania) but can be seasonal in their movements. Large flocks can form and move quickly from one area to another, sometimes in response to drought or rainfall.
The Gouldian Finch of northern Australia is one of our more spectacularly coloured bird species. Sadly, it is one species I have yet to see in its natural environment. (The photo above was taken through the wire netting of an aviary at the Adelaide Zoo.)
Gouldian Finches are unusual in that their heads are usually black, but about a quarter of them are red with a few being yellow. Both males and females show this colour variation.
Finches are very popular cage birds both here and overseas. The Gouldians are much prized aviary birds, probably due to their stunning colours.
Being predominantly seed eaters, Gouldian Finches are found in grasslands, open scrublands and spinifex country. Due to disease and seasonal burning of their habitats, this species has endangered status.
This afternoon my wife and I accompanied our 19 month old grandson and our son on a visit to Chatswood on the Sydney North Shore area. The Chatswood CBD is an easy twenty minute walk from his home. We found a good spot to have a delicious lunch and later did some shopping.
It was dark when we left on the homeward walk. My attention was drawn to an extremely noisy group of birds calling just outside the doors of one of the shopping precincts. In three medium sized street trees there must have been several hundred birds, all calling raucously as they settled down to roost. In the little light coming from the shops I was able to determine that they were Rainbow Lorikeets. I can’t ever recall seeing so many together in such a small area.
Earlier on when heading for Chatswood we saw two Rainbow Lorikeets feeding near the footpath. I regretted not having my camera with me. I would have got some excellent shots. You’ll have to put up with photos taken elsewhere some time ago.
Royal Spoonbills are found throughout much of Australia where there is suitable habitat. They are absent from the drier inland areas and are rare in southern Western Australia. They are sometimes seen in the company of our other species of spoonbill, the Yellow-billed Spoonbill.
Their preferred habitat includes shallow waters, both coastal and inland, estuaries, edges of lakes, dams and wetlands, tidal mudflats and irrigated pastures. Their nest is a shallow platform of sticks, often over water and often in association with other waterbirds such as cormorants. During breeding the adults have a conspicuous plume of white feathers on the back of the head.
The photo above was taken in a walk through aviary at the Adelaide Zoo, South Australia.
The Straw-necked Ibis is a very common bird in the Murray Bridge district of South Australia where I live. I have seen flocks numbering in the hundreds flying overhead, and sometimes smaller flocks land to feed in the open paddock opposite our home. On the odd occasion a few will even land on our five acre block.
It is strange then that I did not have a good close-up photo of this species to show here – until last week when I visited Adelaide Zoo and got the above shot in the walk-through aviary. That’s bird photography for you. I have photos of species I never expected to get, and none of some common species. [Sigh]
The Straw-necked Ibis is a widespread species in northern and eastern Australia and is expanding its range in Western Australia and Tasmania. Within its range it is found in freshwater and saline wetlands, tidal mudflats and swamps. It has adapted to life in pastures and other irrigated areas, lawns, ovals, public parks and gardens.