A high rise bird apartment
From time to time I see some amazing, interesting or even bizarre things where birds are concerned. At first glance, today’s photos could fall into that category. Masked Lapwings (plovers) are usually found on grassy areas – lawns, ovals and roadside verges. What is this one doing on the roof of the Australian Reptile Park (near Sydney)?
Oddly enough, this is quite common behaviour with this species. In fact, they often prefer to nest up on the roof of a house, shed, office or factory in some situations. How the little hatchlings survive the drop onto the ground amazes me; they must be quite tough little balls of fluff. Perhaps all that downy fluff helps them to bounce like a tennis ball.
When you think about it, nesting on a roof is a better survival strategy than nesting on the ground like they usually do. Not only does this help minimise the threat from cats and dogs, it generally does away with interfering people and their mowers.
In this case however, it is the one safe place to nest away from the hundreds of visitors to the park every day – that’s a lot of shoes tramping around on every available bit of grass. Eggs don’t take kindly to stomping feet.
This is not what I wanted
The Major Mitchell Cockatoo has to be one of Australia’s most beautiful birds. I also do not yet have a great photo of this species. The individual shown in today’s photo was in one of the aviaries at the Australian Reptile Park, near Sydney. Just seconds before I took this photo it had its crest up. I waited and waited, but it didn’t lift the crest again and we had to move on.
I think I will have to camp out on the farm where I grew up. That is where I last saw this species in the wild, but I was too slow with my camera before they flew off. You can see several other photos of captive birds here.
The photo below I took of two cockatoos during the Bird Show at Taronga Park Zoo some years ago. These are trained birds, not wild ones.
At last – an Eastern Yellow Robin
At last – a series of photos of the Eastern Yellow Robin. It is a relatively common bird in its range. Trouble is, I have never spent much time in its preferred range. Having to travel great distances to see some bird species can be a pain at times, but when you see that elusive bird, or get a good photo of one that has eluded your lens up until that time, it becomes a special moment.
I have seen this species in many places over the years, but so far haven’t managed a photo – even a reasonable shot. Those shown today on this post are not brilliant, but they are a start. Now the goal is to improve on these photos.
The Eastern Yellow Robin is found throughout eastern Australia, from Queensland through New South Wales and southern Victoria and into south-eastern South Australia. Its close relative, the Western Yellow Robin is found in southern Western Australia and western South Australia. It has been well over 30 years since our last trip to WA. We must rectify that soon.
Today’s photos were taken in the grounds of the Australian Reptile Park. The robin was a wild bird and not part of their aviary collection.
Further reading about robins:
What are you staring at?
I think that the title of this post says it all.
The quizzical look this male Eclectus parrot is giving me speaks volumes.
If only we could tell what he was thinking.
The photo was taken at the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford, north of Sydney.
Red-browed finches playing coy
Last month my family and I visited the Australian Reptile Park north of Sydney. As well as a great collection of reptiles the park also boasts a good collection of birds in aviaries. I have featured some of these over recent posts and have still a few more to add in the coming days.
The setting of the park near the town of Gosford is in the heart of forested areas of the Blue Mountains (part of the Great Dividing Range in eastern Australia). Because of its location the natural birdlife is quite prolific. Some of the wild birds take advantage of the food provided for some of the animals, including the caged birds.
The Red-browed finch featured in today’s photos is one such species. They were able to fly in and out through the wire of the aviary holding much larger parrots. This gave them easy access to the seed trays. It might have been easy for the birds, but taking their photo was not easy for me; I had to avoid getting the wire in the photo. Shooting through the wire of an aviary is always a challenge.
On this occasion there was an added challenge to getting these birds in focus: the finches were a little coy and keep just out of view behind the parrot feeding tray. I’m not sure if they were just a little shy, or that the parrots had spilled all the best seeds out of the tray.