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.
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.
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.
Emus may be solitary in a small group or a large flock. One day I hope to seeing a flock of these birds running.
The photos in this post are of the Western Grey Kangaroo.
The Western Grey Kangaroo is more brown than the Eastern Grey Kangaroo which as the name suggests is grey. These kangaroo are large with paler undersides.
Their habitat range matches their name.
This species rest in the shade during the day. They eat grasses and graze from early evening through to morning hence we see them mostly at dusk each day.
This species of Kangaroo have exceptionally strong hind legs and move by a unique hopping style. Their long strong tails are essential for movement.
They live in groups and the dominant male is called a Buck whilst Juveniles are called Joeys!
The females give birth to an embryo which looks like a red jellybean. This is the same for other marsupials. The embryo travels through the mother’s fur to the pouch where it latches onto a teat. The embryo develops into a Joey and lives in the pouch for 11 months.
Even though the Joey is then too big for the pouch it will continue to suckle for another 9 months.
Kangaroo’s survive and thrive because they exhibit a number of fertility adaptations for living in a harsh environment (e.g. drought and predators) in order to maximize reproductive success. These adaptations include the ability to develop another embryo in their reproductive system while there is a Joey in the pouch; and suspend the development or birth of the embryo until living conditions are better.
I hope you enjoyed this article and couple of photos on our Iconic “Western Grey Kangaroo”
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).
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, ArcticTern, 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 …..
I cannot wait to visit that area again in the hope of seeing these birds again.
Australia is a huge continent but there is one species of Pelican which ranges the entire continent. Pelicans visit the salt lakes of central Australia when they have water and will be seen in large numbers when inland river systems are flooding. Even when there is little water a few pelican remain.
Notice the birds’ large pink bill and throat pouch. The pelican are excellent at fishing. Pelican’s legs and feet are grey.
Pelicans breed in colonies which are wide spread some are permanent and some arise by opportunity.
Several years ago we travelled to Lake Eyre in central Australia to see the water filling the salt lake and the pelican colony and other birds pouring in. Such an event is a once in a lifetime occurrence. If anyone knows how the birds know the weather conditions thousands of kilometres away and how to get to a place they have never been please let me know.
These birds are White-breasted Woodswallows clumping in the winter sun on a branch on the banks of Bungeworgorai Creek Queensland, Australia.
Clumping is the animal behaviourists’ term for cuddling behaviour in birds. These guys are really packed in together. The white chests show on the birds to the left and the white rumps on the rest. Bird watchers say these white features gleam in the sun.
See how bright their blue beaks are. Their beaks are tipped with black. Darker feathers around their eyes make them stand out. These birds are widespread in eastern Australia.
The beautiful Australian White Ibis is also known as the “Sacred Ibis” and the “Dump Chook.”
The sacred ibis
With the majesty and peacefulness of the Australian White Ibis flying against that perfect sky it is no wonder it is known as the Sacred Ibis.
How the Australian White Ibis got the name dump chook?
The influence of man has meant in some locations these birds rely on refuse dumps as a food source – and they have been given the derogatory name “Dump Chook.”
Distinctive characteristics of the Australian White Ibis
The call of this beautiful bird is a series of croaks. Notice the red naked skin which shows under the wing along to the breast. Ibis are social and will usually be with other ibis.
Where can the Australian White Ibis be found?
Australian White Ibis can be found throughout Australia except the most arid parts of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern territory.
By Amanda Jackson
The Emus feathers are bunched into a bustle of its rump. The feathers are long, thick and drooping. These feathers give the appearance of an exaggerated bounce and away when the Emu runs. Emu is a flightless bird.
The sun in this photo makes it really easy to see the emu bustle. The Emu’s plumage is dark brown to grey brown. The plumage of breeding females darkens and the feathers of their head and neck are black. The skin of emu’s head and throat is blue and this blue skin is what what can be seen distinguishing males.
PS A bustle was a framed and padded structure worn over a women’s bottom to support the style of dress in fashion in the mid to late 19th century.