Now that’s an interesting hairdo

Pied Heron, Adelaide Zoo

When I look at the photos I am posting today I cannot but help being amused. That’s one very interesting hairdo. I’m not sure if one can draw that conclusion, however, seeing birds have feathers, not hair.

Still, the arrangement of the feathers on this Pied Heron amuses me and I hope my readers also have a little chuckle.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or two.

The bird featured in today’s photos is a part of the collection of birds in a walk through aviary in the Adelaide Zoo here in South Australia.

Pied Heron, Adelaide Zoo

Pied Heron, Adelaide Zoo

Pied Heron, Adelaide Zoo

Happy birthday

White-faced Heron, Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens, NSW

To all my regular readers I’m sorry there has been quite a delay since my last post here. I’ve been busy finishing off the academic year and getting snowed under a little with all the end of semester marking. Nearly there.

I ignored the assignments waiting for my attention today because it’s my birthday.

I had a relaxing day, didn’t pressure myself in any way, enjoyed the lovely spring sunshine and gentle breeze. The highlight of the day was chatting via Skype with my grandchildren in Sydney. Precious times. Nearly went out birding, but didn’t in the end.

Instead of showing a photo taken today, I looked through my photo album to share one not seen here before. The shot above was taken a few weeks ago on our way back from Sydney. It shows a very obliging White-faced Heron feeding on one of the grassy areas in the beautiful Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens.

Birding around Mannum, South Australia part 3

Murray River at Mannum, South Australia

A few weeks ago I spent an enjoyable afternoon birding in and around Mannum, about 20 minutes drive north of home. It was a beautiful spring day with bright clear sky, a gentle breeze and plenty of birds. I sat for a while in the Mary Ann Reserve on the river front, watching and photographing the birds on, over and near the Murray River.

I was rather puzzled by the behaviour of several species of birds in and over the water. Several Little Pied Cormorants and Little Black Cormorants were swimming around in the one spot about 30 metres out into the water. I can only assume they were fishing but I didn’t actually see one catch a fish. Over head several White-necked Herons and one Great Egret flew around low over the water sometimes almost landing and snapping at the cormorants in the water. A Silver Gull even joined in, harassing the heron as they flew (see photo below).

Great Egret, White-necked Heron, Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants

White-necked Heron being harassed by a Silver Gull

Bogey bird

The White-necked Heron was an interesting sighting for me. It’s been one of my bogey birds over the last 25 years. I went from 1987 to 2001 without seeing a single one of them. Then only one – with another 6 year wait to see another one! Unbelievable. In fact in more than 35 years of birding I’ve only ever seen this species about 20 times. Then on this day at Mannum I saw 4 all flying around in close proximity. Unreal.

Birds along the Murrumbidgee River, Balranald

Darter, Balranald, NSW

Sydney Trip June 2011

On our journey home from visiting family in Sydney earlier this year we stopped for a lunch break at Balranald in far western NSW. After a few minutes in the local tourist information centre we drove down to the picnic area on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River (see photo below). While having lunch I made a modest list of birds seen and managed several interesting photos.

The Darter (shown above) was drying its wings after swimming in the river. This species is widespread along our waterways in Australia without being in large numbers anywhere. White-faced Herons, like the one shown below, are both widespread and common. This one looked like it wasn’t enjoying the cold weather. It seemed to be huddling up and trying to warm up in the weak sunshine.

White-faced Heron, Balranald, NSW

Murrumbidgee River, Balranald

Tubbo Station, central New South Wales

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

On the second day of our return trip from Sydney we drove through Tubbo Station country near Darlington Point which is between Narrandera and Hay in the Riverina region of New South Wales. This large merino sheep station extends over nearly 19,000 hectares in size and runs over 10,000 sheep plus cattle. It also has extensive irrigation areas.

As we were driving along I jotted down a list of birds seen as we travelled the highway through the station. This is not the ideal birding experience and I would love to have stopped a few times but we had plenty of ground to cover on the day. While my wife was driving I made the following list of birds seen:

Australian Raven
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie Lark
Yellow Rosella
Spotted Harrier
White-necked Heron
White-faced Heron
Australian Wood Duck
Laughing Kookaburra

It’s not a big list but it has some interesting species in it. We saw very few Apostlebirds on our trip so it was good to see them feeding on the roadside. Yellow Rosellas, a sub-species of the Crimson Rosella, is always a delight to observe. Spotted Harriers are wonderfully majestic birds as the soar over the paddocks and the herons were obviously taking advantage of the fact that there were many irrigation channels in the area.

Probably the highlight for me was seeing three White-necked Herons flying together. This species has been something of a bogey bird for me. Although widespread and common in my home territory, I have observed this species on only a handful of occasions over the last two decades.

The photo below was taken only a few days ago at Mannum in South Australia.

White-necked Heron being harassed by a Silver Gull