Crested Pigeons up close
Last weekend we had a few days away in our caravan. It was only a short break of three nights. Hardly time to settle in and enjoy the lovely beachside caravan park at Kingston Park on the southern edge of Adelaide, South Australia. We stayed in the beautiful Brighton Caravan Park, a most welcoming and well set out and well-maintained park. I wrote about this area after a similar visit last year. You can read about that visit here and here and here.
This caravan park is an easy 90-minute drive from our home. We had the delight of sharing the weekend there with six other couples. Over the weekend all the ladies went to a nearby convention while the men sat around chatting, solving the world’s problems and enjoying the magnificent view over one of Adelaide’s premier beaches. There are so many great beaches near to Adelaide that it is hard to choose one over another.
One of the delights of staying in a seaside caravan park is the birding. On Sunday afternoon, several couples went off exploring, another couple went to a birthday party and my wife and I were left alone to fend for ourselves. We both had books to read and we enjoyed the solitude in such a wonderful, peaceful setting. It was a warm day so we sought out the shady side of our van to read, and to enjoy our lunch.
As we were eating, a small flock of Crested Pigeons flew in and landed a few metres from where we were sitting. They were attracted to the dripping tap near our caravan. Some of them even sat in the pool of water on the slab of concrete around the tap. The birds were only about four metres from where we sat quietly, watching them and admiring the colours on their plumage – more about that in another post in a few days’ time.
I had my camera at the ready, so I was able to take quite a series of close-up photos of the pigeons sunbathing, drinking and generally enjoying themselves in front of us. They were obviously very comfortable with us sitting only a few steps away. I guess that there are people around every day, so they become quite tame. This is a species I have found very easy to approach in most locations.
Over the coming days, I will feature more photos of the birds who came to visit our caravan site.
Peaceful Doves in our garden
I have written about Peaceful Doves on a number of occasions on this site; check out the articles I have linked to in the ‘Further Reading’ section below. I must admit that I love seeing and hearing this small dove in the Australian bush. They are aptly named and their gentle call is so part of the Australian environment, especially in the drier parts of the country.
Over the 30 plus years, we have lived in our present home, I have recorded this species on quite a few occasions. In the last year or so their visits have become far more regular. In fact, at present, we probably hear or see them on most days of the week. It is still too early to call this a resident species, but it must be close to that. Late last year we are fairly sure that they could also now be added to the list of birds observed breeding on our five-acre block of land. Although we saw them mating, we never found a nest.
More recently – perhaps over the last two months, we have often seen two or three birds come to our bird baths. Then on one occasion we had at least six birds present. I would like to think that this sighting included the successful breeding outcome, and that this little flock is actually one family of birds.
On other occasions, we have only one bird visiting the bird baths for a drink. On one of those occasions I took the bracket of photos shown in today’s post. All of these photos are of the same bird. Although I like this series of shots, the bird in question refused to turn around and face my camera. Some days the birds cooperate, and on other days they just do as they please. That’s the delight – and the frustration – of nature photography.
Eurasian Collared Dove in the Sahara
On another of my sites (Trevor’s Travels) I have been writing about a tour of Morocco I undertook several years ago. I have, in recent days, finally got around to posting some of the many photos taken on that trip, along with detailed descriptions of what we did and saw. While looking at the photos I found some quite acceptable bird photos.Whenever I could get photos of the local birds, I took them. Identifying them has taken quite a while
Whenever I could get photos of the local birds, I took them. Identifying them has taken quite a while, mainly because I am not very familiar with the birds of Morocco. Over the coming days, I plan to post a few of these photos, along with some information about them.
During our tour, my family and I went on a camel ride into the Sahara Desert. This was at the locality known as Merzouga in the eastern part of the country. I must say that the desert is spectacular; I’ve shared many of the photos on my travel site. We rode the camels into the desert on Christmas Eve, staying in a Berber tent in the desert overnight. It was an unforgettable experience. I saw a few birds on the camels ride, but the moving back of such an animal is far from being an ideal photography platform. In fact, all my bird photos taken on the camel ride were too blurry and unidentifiable. Camel riding is also very uncomfortable! Enough said.
The next morning we rode (with more discomfort) through more spectacular sun dunes, deep red in the early morning sun. We ate a late breakfast at one of the local hotels. It was while having breakfast that I saw several species new to me.
The first one, featured today, was the Eurasian Collared Dove. This lovely dove is found extensively throughout Europe, Asia and has been introduced into North America. It is also found in the northern edges of Africa, including Morocco.
- Eurasian Collared Dove – the excellent article on this species on Wikipedia.
- Plants in the Sahara Desert
- Common Redstart, Volubilis, Morocco
- Grey Heron, Meknes, Morocco
- White Storks in Morocco
Topsy the Crested Pigeon
Over recent weeks my wife and I have been intrigued by one of our resident Crested Pigeons – shown in the photos on today’s post. We suspect that she is a female because another pigeon was displaying to her recently. We have given her the name “Topsy” because she has some extra-long feathers making up her crest. I am not sure what has caused this slight aberration, but it certainly makes her stand out from the other pigeons in our garden.
Like all of the Crested Pigeons and Spotted Turtledoves resident in our garden and on our five-acre block, “Topsy” comes frequently to our bird baths for a drink. Today, while I was having a cuppa after lunch she came once again. She spent a few minutes on a nearby branch preening before flying down for a drink. She then flew down to the ground and sat down in the sunshine. She immediately lifted up one wing and held it with the underparts exposed to the warm sun. “Topsy” then stood up, changed position and raised the other wing in the same manner.
While I haven’t seen this sunbathing behaviour in many species I have observed it in Spotted Turtledoves, Red wattlebirds, Noisy Miners and Australian Magpies. It is surprising that there is very little mention of this behaviour in the literature, but this article on the Australian Birdlife site gives the topic a good coverage. The article suggests that this sunbathing behaviour could be aimed at ridding the birds of unwanted lice.
- Sunny side up – the article I referred to above
- An Australian Magpie sunning itself – this is an old post written some years ago. It shows a series of 10 photos of a magpie sunning itself.
Birds in the heat
Here in South Australia we are experiencing our hottest summer on record. I won’t bore you with the details, but just say that we have had far too many days in the 40s (45C is equal to 113F). During such heatwaves – which can last for several days – our bird population suffers terribly. On these days the resident birds in our garden really appreciate the various bird baths we have placed in suitable locations.
Even on a warm day we get a constant parade of birds visiting the various bird baths in our garden. Our sun room overlooks several of them and this affords me an ideal location to take photos of them. Some birds still visit the water even on quite cold days – but we haven’t had many of those lately.
Probably the most common visitors would have to be the honeyeater species, including:
- Red Wattlebirds,
- White-plumed honeyeaters,
- New Holland Honeyeaters,
- Brown-headed Honeyeaters
- Singing Honeyeaters
- Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters
Other regular visitors include:
- Australian Magpies
- White-winged Choughs
- Grey Currawong
- Australian Magpie Larks
- Crested Pigeons
- Spotted Turtledove
- Striated Pardalote
- Spotted Pardalote
- House Sparrow
- Common Starling
- Common Blackbird