A mystery bird at Mannum

Mystery bird - is it a female Brown Songlark?

On my recent birding trip to Mannum (South Australia) I photographed this mystery bird.

I’m not at all certain what it is. The closest I can come to a reasonable ID is a female Brown Songlark. The colour is right, the markings feasible and size – about the size of a reedwarbler – is also about right. It was about 40 metres from the edge of the Murray River and didn’t give any calls.

Over to my readers for help.

Mystery bird - is it a female Brown Songlark?

Mystery bird - is it a female Brown Songlark?

Flying Black Kite, Mannum

Black Kite over the Murray River, Mannum, South Australia

A skill I admire in nature photographers is getting great still photos of moving birds or animals. It’s something I am still very much a novice at and will need to practise much more to get it right.

While this photo of a Black Kite soaring over the Murray River at Mannum taken a few weeks ago is not brilliant, I’m still quite pleased with it. Mind you, it has had a little treatment on my computer to enhance certain elements.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Australasian Grebe, Mannum, South Australia

Australasian Grebe, Mannum, South Australia

Grebes are not easy to photograph – well, that’s my experience, anyway. They are either too far away way out in the middle of a body of water, or they dive under the water as soon as you have them in focus.

Oh, the joys of nature photography!

Still, I should be pleased that his Australasian Grebe cruised around on the Murray River at Mannum a few weeks ago long enough for me to get some shots. It wasn’t all that interested in diving and it was close into shore. Sometimes the birds either enjoy being photographed – or the take pity on me!

Mmmm…having a closer look at the photos now I can’t help wondering if I’ve actually taken shots of two different birds. The one above looks different compared with the one below. (My memory is good enough to remember that the two shots below were a few seconds apart; the top photo was taken six minutes earlier according to the digital properties of the photo.)

Australasian Grebe, Mannum, South Australia

Australasian Grebe, Mannum, South Australia

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

Birding around Mannum, South Australia part 4

Murray River at Mannum, South Australia

Over recent days I have been sharing some photos and my experiences on a birding trip to Mannum a few weeks ago. This river town is about 20 minutes by car from my home. The afternoon was a classically beautiful Sunday afternoon in spring. To add to the wonderful weather the birding was also good.

I know that Silver Gulls are a very common bird here in Australia, but I do enjoy photographing them. The bird in the photo below was particularly photogenic, but I had to be quick with the camera as it was on the move. I’ve also included a few other photos taken on the same day.


Silver Gull, Murray River, Mannum, South Australia

Silver Gulls, Murray River, Mannum, South Australia

Silver Gulls, Mannum, South Australia

Silver Gulls, Murray River, Mannum, South Australia