Archive for the 'Ducks Geese and Swans' Category

Pink-eared Duck in Dubbo

Pink-eared Duck, Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo

Pink-eared Duck, Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo

One of the lovely features of the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales, is the large artificial lake next to the visitor centre. I think it is wonderful that visitors can come to this part of the zoo without paying the entrance fee. This is particularly valuable to casual passers-by who do not have the time to spend a whole day in the zoo. (Two days are recommended to see everything and entrance fees are valid for two days.)

It is also great for local people who just want to have a picnic on the grassed area next to this lake. From the picnic area visitors get a good view of two exhibits: one with monkeys and another with lemurs. I will post photos of the lemurs in a few days.

The artificial lake featured in today’s post had a good range of water birds present. I am assuming that all of these birds are actually wild birds, and not a part of the zoo’s collection; a bonus add-on, if you like.

Featured in today’s photos is a Pink-eared duck, also known as a Zebra Duck because of the striped effect of the feathers. This species is a fairly common one in most of eastern Australia and much of Western Australia. It is rare in Tasmania and mostly absent from the drier interior. It is a highly nomadic species.

 

Pink-eared Duck, Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo

Pink-eared Duck, Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo

 

Australasian Shoveler at Dubbo Zoo

Australasian Shoveler (male)

Australasian Shoveller (male)

On our visit last year to Dubbo Zoo in western New South Wales  (Western Plains Zoo) we stopped to have lunch by a wetland next to the road which takes one through the zoo. On this swamp there were a few ducks, other waterbirds and many White Ibis, some nesting.

Two of the ducks in particular took my attention – a male and female Australasian Shoveler (also called Southern Shoveler). This is a species I have not seen very often and I only have a handful of photos worth showing here.

The Australasian Shoveler is found throughout the eastern parts of Australia, and is also present in south west Western Australia and in Tasmania. They are nomadic according to seasonal conditions and the presence of water. Their preferred habitats include lakes and other large bodies of water, either fresh or saline, swamps, wetlands, sewage ponds and flood waters.

While I concede that I haven’t observed this species on many occasions, in my experience they tend to be found singly, in pairs or small flocks, but never in great numbers. I stand to be corrected on this if I am wrong. This is also a rather timid species and is not easy to approach for photography. With the large number of daily visitors to the Dubbo Zoo is guess these birds have become used to people with cameras. I was able to get to within about 20 metres for these photos.

Further reading:

Australasian Shoveler (female left, male right)

Australasian Shoveler (female left, male right)

Australasian Shoveler (female left, male right)

Australasian Shoveler (female left, male right)

Southern Shoveller, Laratinga Wetlands

Southern Shoveller (male left and female right)

Southern Shoveller (male left and female right)

Several months ago now I visited the Laratinga Wetlands for the morning. I have written a number of articles here over recent weeks about that visit, showing photos of the birds seen in most of those articles. These wetlands consist of about a dozen artificial ponds on the eastern edge of Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. This are about a half hour drive south-east of Adelaide, as well as just over a half hour drive west from my home in Murray Bridge. The ponds are actually the sewage works and storm water drainage for the town of Mt Barker. The purified water is later recycled for irrigation on nearby farms.

The wetlands are a wonderful haven for water birds, including ducks, cormorants, ibis, swamphens, coots, grebes, plovers, egrets, herons, reed-warblers and more. The surrounding landscaped picnic areas are also a haven for many bush birds such as honeyeaters, parrots, lorikeets, wrens, pigeons, bronzewings, hawks, kites, falcons, flycatchers and more.

On this most recent visit I took several photos of a male and female Southern Shoveller. Several of these photos are marred by branches or twigs in the way and the only reasonable one is that shown above. Also known as the Australasian Shoveller, this duck is found in suitable habitat throughout the eastern half of Australia, including Tasmania as well as south western parts of Western Australia. It is a species I have not seen all that often, and on those few occasions I have seen it, I usually only see a couple or a small group, never in large numbers.

I have included another photo below. This is of an eclipse plumage bird and was taken last year in one of the wetland areas of  the Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo, New South Wales.

Further reading:

Southern Shoveller (eclipse plumage)

Southern Shoveller (eclipse plumage)

Australian Wood Ducks Laratinga Wetlands

Australian Wood Duck, Laratinga Wetlands

Australian Wood Duck, Laratinga Wetlands

The Australian Wood Duck is one of the more common duck species here in Australia. Wherever there are bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, rivers, dams, swamps and wetlands one can often see pairs or small flocks of this species. On many occasions the number can be many dozens up to loose flocks of hundreds if the habitat is suitable.

This species is not restricted to water however. They will also be found far from water, feeding on pastures, grasslands, sports fields and parks. They can be found throughout much of Australia except the extreme drier regions in central Australia.

In the photo below, the female is on the left while the male is on the right. A Purple Swamphen can be seen in the background. The photos were taken at the Laratinga Wetlands near Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.

Further reading:

Australian Wood Duck, Laratinga Wetlands

Australian Wood Ducks, Laratinga Wetlands

Cruising Grey Teals, Laratinga Wetlands

Grey Teal, Laratinga Wetlands, Mt Barker

Grey Teal, Laratinga Wetlands, Mt Barker

A few days ago I featured a Pacific Black Duck I saw at the Laratinga Wetlands in Mt Barker.

Today it is the turn of another common species, the Grey Teal.

This great birding site is just over half an hour’s drive from my home in Murray Bridge here in South Australia. I don’t get to visit often enough. I know of birders who visit this place almost every day. The birding is usually very good with many opportunities for bird photography.

The ponds making up these wetlands have wide tracks along their edges and many locals and visitors use these tracks on a daily basis for walking, cycling and jogging. The adjacent picnic grounds are also very well set out and maintained.

On a recent visit I took these photos of some Grey Teal cruising along across one of the ponds. Many birders and photographers probably overlook this common species. It can be found in many parts of Australia wherever bodies of water exist.

I have seen lakes where there were thousands of these ducks. Just because they are common does not mean that they cannot be photographic. I like the photo above, but the one below is something special, in my opinion. The photo has only been cropped a little and has not been enhanced in any other way.

For more photos and further reading about the birds of Laratinga, click here.

Good birding.

Trevor

Grey Teal, Laratinga Wetlands, Mt Barker

Grey Teal, Laratinga Wetlands, Mt Barker