Archive for the 'Ducks Geese and Swans' Category

Christmas Greetings

Family of Pacific Black Ducks, Clare, South Australia

Christmas greetings to all of my regular readers – and to those visiting for the very first time. Christmas in Australia is usually a special time of family gatherings, some people travelling long distances to be with family.

This Christmas we had the delight of having all of our little family together, something of a rarity as my son lives interstate. It was delight to see our two lovely grand children excitedly opening their gifts.

Because I was distracted by playing with my grand children, I didn’t get out to do any birding today. A few weeks ago, however, I took the above photo of a family of Pacific Black Ducks on the lake next to the golf course in Clare in the mid-north of South Australia.

Cape Barren Geese

Cape Barren Geese near Murray Bridge

Earlier this year we went for a drive to Wellington on the River Murray. This small town is about a half hour drive from our home. After visiting the Pangarinda Arboretum we drove to Monarto Conservation Park. On the way I stopped to take a few photos of the local population of Cape Barren Geese near the shores of Lake Alexandrina. The geese feed on the pastures of local dairies in the area.

Cape Barren Geese near Murray Bridge

Two strange ducks at Mannum

Pacific Black Ducks - but with orange bills?

Over recent days I’ve been sharing about bird sightings on a trip to Mannum on the Murray River recently. While I was sitting in Mary Ann Reserve watching the birds on and near the river these two Pacific Black Ducks swam past. I took the photo without noticing the orange tips on their bills.

It was only when I enlarged the image on my computer that I noticed the orange. That’s not normal in this species. The only explanation I can offer is that they have hybridised with Mallards at some stage. There are feral populations of Mallards in the region. Mallards are an introduced species and feral groups exist where they have been released or have escaped from farms or back yards.

I’d be interested in readers’ comments on this little mystery.

Meanwhile, I took the following photo just before leaving to go home. These two Pacific Black Ducks had been sitting on the grass alongside me while I photographed all the other birds shown here recently. They didn’t seem at all concerned that I was only about 2 metres away.

Pacific Black Ducks, Mannum, South Australia

Muscovy Duck, Lameroo

Muscovy Duck nesting at Lake Roberts, Lameroo

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

Over the coming few weeks I will intersperse my usual sightings around home with a series of trip reports when we went to visit family in Sydney in June earlier this year. I’ve been both busy and unwell so these reports are a little overdue. Never mind; I’m much better now and getting back into adding regular postings here.

On the first day of our trip we drove from home in Murray Bridge to Lameroo in eastern South Australia. We stopped for a cuppa and morning tea at Lake Roberts on the eastern edge of Lameroo, a farming community in the Murray Mallee region. I always like stopping here as you never know what birds are around.

This time I observed a Muscovy Duck near the edge of the lake and it seems it was sitting on a nest (see photo above). This is an introduced species in Australia and there are only a few feral populations away from farmyards. It is commonly kept on farms and in backyards as pets and are edible and are sometimes kept as meat birds. You can find out more about keeping them as pets by clicking here.

Cape Barren Goose, Adelaide Zoo

Cape Barren Goose, Adelaide Zoo

The Cape Barren Goose breeds on islands in Bass Strait Tasmania, as well as some islands in South Australia and Western Australia. In spring and summer large flocks disperse onto the mainland where they feed on grasslands and irrigated pastures.

While the total population is possibly no more than ten thousand, they can be locally present in large loose flocks. For example, about a twenty minute drive south of where I live I have seen a flock of about 500 feeding in one irrigated paddock. Only a few days ago I saw about 50 in the same area.

The bird shown in the photo above is of a captive bird at the Adelaide Zoo.