Pied Heron

Pied Heron, Adelaide Zoo

Pied Herons are found in the northern parts of Australia, from far north Western Australia through coastal Northern Territory and coastal Queensland. I haven’t had the delight of birding in this part of Australia yet, so I have to rely on zoo collections to get photos of this beautiful species. It is also found in Papua New Guinea and parts of Indonesia.

The preferred habitats of Pied Herons include rivers, mangroves, wetlands, mud flats, lakes and lagoons.

UPDATE: you can now buy the above image on various items, including coffee mugs – just click here. This site also has many other items for sale, including shirts, aprons, placemats, keyrings and much more. Many feature bird photos first shown here on Trevor’s Birding.

Pied Heron, Adelaide Zoo

Buff-banded Rail

Buff-banded Rail, walk-through aviary at Adelaide Zoo

The Buff-banded Rail is normally a reasonably shy bird, preferring to skulk around in dense vegetation on the margins of rivers, lakes, dams, wetlands and swamps. On a few occasions, however, I have managed good views and excellent photos of this species where they are very accustomed to people being around. The bird in the photo above was a captive bird, taken while visiting one of the walk-through aviaries at Adelaide Zoo.

On another occasion I was surprised and delighted to see one wandering around my feet in a picnic ground in the Lower Glenelg River National Park in far south western Victoria. That was before I had a good digital camera, so no photos of that one. More recently I managed several excellent photos of this species while visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. The photo below shows one shot of this bird which casually strolled along the path in front of us. This section of the gardens is visited by thousands of people daily, so it was not at all concerned by my camera and its flash. It had been eating some melting chocolate that had fallen from someone’s ice-cream. I hope this was not a regular part of its diet!

Further reading:

Buff-banded Rail, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Australian Pelicans at Adelaide Zoo

Australian Pelican, Adelaide Zoo

The Australian Pelican is found throughout Australia where there is suitable habitat. They prefer large expanses of waters such as lakes, reservoirs, swamps, wetlands and rivers. The water can be fresh, brackish or saline.  They are found in both coastal and inland areas where there is suitable habitat.

They tend to be highly nomadic and will respond to flooding. For example, Lake Eyre in northern South Australia fills occasionally from Queensland floods, and this will stimulate the migration of hundreds and even thousands of birds. During these events they can breed in their thousands, dispersing across Australia when the waters recede and the lake becomes a dry salt lake again.

These captive birds at Adelaide Zoo are a good subject for practising one’s photographic skills.

Further Reading:

Australian Pelican, Adelaide Zoo

Australian Pelican, Adelaide Zoo

Laratinga Wetlands, Mt Barker, South Australia

Laratinga Wetland, Mt Barker, South Australia

Over recent days I’ve featured some of the birds that can be seen at the Laratinga Wetland. This area has become one of my favourite birding spots. This wetland is situated on the eastern edge of Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, about a half hour drive from the city centre. It is a similar distance from my home.

The wetland area was established in 1999 to treat waste water from the growing town. The wetland was established, along with the planting of many local species of plants until now it is an excellent educational and recreational facility. The treated water is used for irrigation nearby. Walking tracks surround each of the ponds and these are used daily by hundreds of walkers, cyclists and birders. The tracks are linked to the town centre by a walking trail. Several hides cater for birders and there are numerous vantage points for viewing the birdlife, including some seats for the weary.

I have included below a photo of an interpretive sign which includes maps of the ponds. Click on the image to enlarge.

Laratinga Wetland, Mt Barker, South Australia

Laratinga Wetland, Mt Barker, South Australia

Coots and Moorhens, Laratinga Wetlands

Dusky Moorhen, Laratinga Wetlands

The Laratinga Wetlands at Mt Barker in the Mt Lofty Ranges usually have a large number of Eurasian Coots and a moderate number of Dusky Moorhens. On my recent visit the numbers were reversed. There were a few Coots, but they were far outnumbered by the Dusky Moorhens which seemed to be everywhere.

It was also interesting to note that there were many juvenile moorhens getting about in the lagoons. The high rainfall of the latter part of last year may well have triggered a very productive breeding season.

Related articles:

Eurasian Coots, Laratinga Wetlands