Superb Fairy Wren

Superb Fairy Wren

 

These birds were photographed at the edge of what I like to refer to as the superb Fairy Wrens’ habitat, in central Queensland. The male with the blue marking is quite ruffled by the hot winds.

fairywren_female

These little birds are quick when they move they even sing in bright musical trills. They are delicate and beautiful. They live in in family groups. These groups have more than 100 birds. This group was small, about twenty, birds living in the reeds and weeds (see the female) as the edge of a   water hole. This male took a vantage point to have a look around.

 

fairywren_male

By Amanda Jackson

 

Say Hi to Willy Wagtail

Say “Hi” to Willy Wagtail

This fellow and a few of his friends were caught in a summer shower but seemed to be very happy and posed for me!

Happy Willy Wagtail

 

I would love him to show his tail fan.

This lovely little bird (about 20 cm) makes me feel very happy.

They flit around and sing a musical song.

Though they also have a scolding voice and an alarm call if they need them.

Their tail fans beautifully and when they land or stand they fan their tail and sway or wag it as if they think their tail is lovely too.

Everything about them is energetic and fun.

Willie Wagtails are found throughout Australia’s mainland and parts of Tasmania.

 

 

willywagtail

Cheers

By Amanda Jackson

 

 

Flock of Little Corellas

Flock of Little Corella’s

In the Australian bush there is every chance you will be buzzed by a flock of birds.

Many species are noisy and sociable.

Pretty much like Australia’s people!

flockofcorellas

This is a flock of Little Corella’s that came upon my Canadian friend and me while we were walking.

 

pairofcorellas

 

You can see from the close up shot that they were looking right at us – I think they were enjoying screeching at us flying low and wheeling around and around until they headed off again.

I have traveled in Canada and found our birds were noisy by comparison to their Canadian cousins.

Little Corella’s like living inland from the coast.

They have yellow under wings and tail and a short crest on their head which is white.

They are 36 to 39 cm in size.

People sometimes confuse them for Sulfur Crested Cockatoos but these are a bigger bird, have a large yellow crest on their head  and their style of flight is quite different.

Cheers

Amanda


 

Pale headed Rosella

This beautiful bird is called a Pale Headed Rosella

There are two races: one with more yellow around the neck and chest (adscitus) and the other without (palliceps).

That’s why I call this one very pale.

Palliceps live in central southern Queensland.

They are about 30 cm in size.

Pale headed Rosella’s are part of the family “White Cheeked Rosella”.

Other white cheeked Rosella’s live in the northern and eastern areas of Australia.

 

paleheadedRosella
Photo by Amanda

 

All the best

Amanda

Goo-goor-gaga: The Laughing Kookaburra

Kookaburra call the sky people to light the great fire that illuminates and warms the earth by day….

As the morning star fades Kookaburra laughs his loudest to wake the sleeping for sunrise…..

The Kookaburras call sounds like a laugh – like their native name “Goo Goor Gaga”. For many aboriginal people it is taboo, given the function to start the day, to mimic the Kookaburras call.

The Laughing Kookaburra is found throughout the eastern states and southern Western Australia. There is a similar species called a Blue Winged Kookaburra which as the name suggests has more blue in its plumage.

The Laughing Kookaburra is the largest of the Kingfishers. They are territorial and nest in tree hollow in open woodlands and forest.

Female Laughing Kookabura
Female Laughing Kookabura

You will notice in my photos, that the Kookaburras beak is large the top bill is black and the lower bill is bone coloured.

The head is light coloured with brown marks and a brown stripe from the eye. The wings are brown with a blue mottle. In this image you can see the rufus barring of the tail.

Males often have blue on the rump. So this bird is probably female. Female’s heads are more buff and their rump is brown.

Kookaburras live in family groups. Kookaburra young are not forced to leave their parents territory on maturity. The territorial space is used to meet the needs of young adults (called auxiliaries) and breeding pairs before breeding season. The family group works together to protect offspring, raise offspring and defend territorial boundaries. The auxiliaries do not have a breeding territory or breed while they are in the auxiliary role (usually 4 years). These living circumstances help keep reproduction rates low. Research has shown the auxiliaries provide about 30% of incubation and brooding time, and 60 percent of the food for the hatchlings.

Kookaburras favour a diet of insects and invertibrates. They also eat snakes, lizards, rodents, and occasionally small birds. When a small a snake or lizard is caught the Kookaburra holds its catch in its beak to shake and beat the catch against a tree branch until it is dead.

e

This female Kookaburra above was observed catching a 15 cm snake and flying to this branch where she killed and ate the snake. She noticed me observing at a distance but allowed me to advance slowly until I was about 10 meters away. She then flew to another perch at a more comfortable distance. She again allowed me to advance slowly to 10 meters. She surveyed the area regularly and eventually flew to a high perch.

I was amazed to discover Kookaburra may live for 20 years. Because the population turnover is slow the birth rate is very low. Kookaburras form permanent pairs. This pair of Kookaburra were perched very high with quite a few people, bicycles and dogs passing by underneath without disturbing them.

A Breeding Pair
A Breeding Pair

Notice the blue rump on the male in this photo below.

The male has a blue rump
The male has a blue rump

Kookaburras are one of my favorite birds. I hope you enjoy them to.

By Amanda Jackson

‘Old Man’ Emu

Australian Story tellers like to refer to Emu as Old Man Emu!

Something about the emu does seem old and wise. Emu’s are large standing birds up to 2 meters and with feathers that are brown and droop down they blend well into the grassland.

"Old Man" Emu
“Old Man” Emu

Emu’s habitat covers much of the Australian continent. Emus make a distinctive deep drumming sound. The male cares for the nest and hatchlings which stay with him for some time. Hatchlings have dark brown to black body stripes. As the hatchings grow these markings fade into the same colouring as their parents as you can see in the photo below.

Emu with large chicks
Emu with large chicks

This male bird was trying to conceal himself from me in an old bush (see the picture below). A Male has blue colouring from side of head down the neck. Female’s head are black. Both of the emus in my pictures are male. Click on the picture and it will enlarge so you can see more detail and the blue marking.

Emu looking for cover
Emu looking for cover

Emus may be solitary in a small group or a large flock. One day I hope to seeing a flock of these birds running.

 

By Amanda Jackson

What type of Bird am I ?

What type of Bird am I?

These photographs were taken on the barge ride between River Heads (the mainland) and K’Gari (Fraser Island) in Queensland, Australia. This barge ride take about an hour.

Fraser Island vehicle barges and passenger ferry services run daily from River Heads, south of Hervey Bay to World Heritage-listed K’Gari (Fraser Island).

 

What type of Tern am I?

I am a Tern! So what type of Tern am I?

 

Tern
Tern

The two pieced tail – these are called ‘tail streamers’

It is difficult to identify the species of tern without being able to see the back view or all of their features like leg colour. These bird were flying the entire time I was observing them.

Terns that are are regularly recorded in this locality where these birds were sighted include the Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Roseate Tern, White-fronted tern and Black-naped Tern.

However the birds we sighted had an orange/yellow bill and all the previously listed species have a black bill.

The Fairy Tern is not usually found in Wide Bay Queensland. This bird is distinguished from similar birds by its rounded belly, orange yellow bill, a white forehead in early breeding with the speckled black head marking not reaching the bill. These features match the birds sighted. This species breeds August to January. This specimen was sighted in late July so early breeding markings would be developing at that time

The Lesser-crested Tern is also called the tern of the tropics. It was believed to range north (or above) the Tropic of Capricorn. However it is now accepted in bird field guildes that there habitat extends further south to the area these birds were seen and further south to Brisbane. The features of the Lesser Crested Tern matches the birds seen particularly the speckled crown if the birds were non-breeding. Their head markings differ when breeding. The Lesser-crested Tern breeds September to December in the east and south of its range where there specimens were sighted. In late July Lesser-crested Terns at that location would have non-breeding plumage.

Therefore the identification can only be decided by leg colour.The Fairy tern has yellow legs and the Lesser-crested Tern has black legs. Unfortunately the legs cannot be seen. So I went back to the photos to see if there was a clear leg shot anywhere …..

THEY ARE BLACK LEGS
THERE THEY ARE – BLACK LEGS!

I cannot wait to visit that area again in the hope of seeing these birds again.

Cheers Amanda

Head markings are important for identification
Lesser Crested Tern: Head markings are important for identification.

Red Winged Parrot

Red Winged Parrot

Just a few short weeks ago I caught this male red-winged parrot on camera near Roma Queensland. I had not seen this bird before!

A brilliant coloured bird

The males have a brilliant light greed head, neck and underparts and bottle green back, wings and tail. Can you see his orange bill?

Male Red-Winged Parrot
Male Red-Winged Parrot (front view)

The males also have a deep blue lower back and rump as well as a large scarlet shoulder patch.

A beautifully coloured bird
A beautifully coloured bird

Females and juvenile Red-Winged Parrots are a uniform mid-green colour with a dash of colour shown via a small scarlet shoulder patch.

Habitat

These birds live in the sub-tropical northern regions of Australia and also the semi-arid regions of Queensland and New South Wales.

I spotted this bird in a semi-arid region of Queensland.

Flight

These birds have a strong, fast and rocking style of flight. He was certainly hard to photograph in flight – here is my best shot.

Male Red-Winged Parrot in flight
Male Red-Winged Parrot in flight

I would love to hear what you think of this parrot or your own favourite Parrot.

best wishes

Amanda