Canberra Day Nine

Today was THE BEST DAY of BIRDING EVER!!! EVER!!! So far at least, I’ll try to improve…not that seeing a greater number of species of birds is something that you really have a lot of control over, but still.

Two hours, THIRTY EIGHT different species of birds, no idea about the number of actual birds, and every single one WITHOUT MY CAMERA!! Screams and wails of horror! As a comparison, when I spent 3.5 hours in the bush at Black Mountain last Monday I got 19 species! I got ready for a bike ride this morning, kicking my week off to a good start. I headed off around the central loop of Lake Burley Griffin planning to go around the eastern loop as well, and the birds just kept appearing one after the other after the other! I finished my ride but never again am I going without my camera! Canberra is certainly living up to it’s birding potential! 38 different types of birds and quite a few that I’ve seen only a couple of times if that: Golden Whistler, Black Faced Cuckoo-Shrike, Tree Martin…I wish I could show you, but I can’t.

So I’ll settle for this adorable family of Wood Ducks! 11 ducklings with their parents and another pair of ducks; could they be any cuter? And to all of my Wheel Women friends: no one was hurt in the photographing of these ducks! No crashes, no injuries, all parties went their separate ways happy and unharmed!

P.s. I went to Floriade today, photos to follow, and an even cuter event happened! So I’m changing my photo 🙂

[Note: but you’ll notice that I’ve snuck in the original photo as the header…]

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Tiny little baby Purple Swamphens (AKA Maori hens) which must be pretty recently hatched! But despite their fluffiness and having 3 toes instead of webbed feet, they are great swimmers!

Feathery Friday #5

This is a continuation of a series about our road trip.

11th July 2015

Last chance before heading home, so it was wetlands today, always the best option. Jerrabomberra Wetlands, and I highly recommend them!

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View from the bird hide

Had a remarkable experience with a fox! It came out of the bushes while I was standing still and we both just looked at each other and it wasn’t bothered so it ambled away! I got a few shots in, and wow, what a happening!

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In terms of water birds, there were a lot of grebes that I haven’t classified yet, several types of ducks (Pacific Black, Australasian Shoveller, Pink eared, Chestnut Teal) plus swans, coots, swamphens, and moorhens.

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Likely Hoary headed Grebes

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Australasian Shovellers

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Pink eared duck, Chestnut Teal

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Eurasian Coot

I had great views of forest birds: Red Browed Finches, loads of Superb Fairy Wrens, some White Plumed Honeyeaters, a White browed Scrubwren, a Brown Thornbill and Blackbird, plus yet more Yellow Rumped Thornbill…a couple of days ago I’d never seen these birds and now they’re everywhere!!!

Red-browed Finches - don't they look like someone had an accident with the red lipstick?

Flying female Superb Fairy Wren, an oops photo but still looks cool

Brown Thornbill, too dark but perfectly still; a miracle!

White plumed Honeyeater

Then an amazing raptor encounter with a hovering Black Shouldered Kite, then in the car and on the way home.

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There were plenty more raptors on the freeway hovering, cruising, diving but it’s almost never worth stopping, because they are hyper sensitive and fly off before you can stop the car!

Swan Bay

Yesterday morning we took a walk around Swan Bay in Queenscliff. The morning had been pretty chilly and there was still a brisk wind off the water as we headed off around the waterside walking track.

The upside of a chilly morning is the clear sunny day that follows; perfect for bird watching and taking photos and just being out and about!

I didn’t see quite as many birds as I had hoped, however a lot of birds were far over on little islands of sea grass or tidal mud so although they were there, we didn’t get a good look.

I really need to look into getting a pair of more powerful binoculars. I already know mine are terrible, but just need to get out and look for my next pair; they would make a huge difference!

Pair of Crimson Rosellas walking the spouting of a nearby house

Pair of Crimson Rosellas walking the spouting of a nearby house

Beautiful duck in the wetlands: Pacific Black, Australian Shoveler or Australian Grey Teal??

Beautiful duck in the wetlands: Pacific Black, Australasian Shoveler or Australian Grey Teal??

Australian White Ibis poking around in the shallows

Australian White Ibis poking around in the shallows

White-faced Heron in the Swan Bay

White-faced Heron in the Swan Bay

Australian Pied Oystercatcher amongst the sea grass

Australian Pied Oystercatcher amongst the sea grass

Stunning Crimson Rosella in the bushes

Stunning Crimson Rosella in the bushes

Beautiful crimson and light blue colours of the Crimson Rosella

Beautiful crimson and light blue colours of the Crimson Rosella

Group of male and female Chestnut Teal ducks in the sea grass

Group of male and female Chestnut Teal ducks in the sea grass

Fabulous blue male Superb Fairy-wren on the path in front of us

Fabulous blue male Superb Fairy-wren on the path in front of us

Pretty female Superb Fairy-wren edging out of the bushes next to the path

Pretty female Superb Fairy-wren edging out of the bushes next to the path

New Holland Honeyeaters thronging through these yellow bushes

New Holland Honeyeaters thronging through these yellow bushes

New Holland Honeyeater dangling down into a flower

New Holland Honeyeater dangling down into a flower

Immature New Holland Honeyeater preening on a branch

Immature New Holland Honeyeater preening on a branch

Group of Little Pied Cormorants drying off on the shore

Group of Little Pied Cormorants drying off on the shore

Royal Spoonbills swishing their bills for dinner

Royal Spoonbills swishing their bills for dinner

Another yellow bush, another New Holland Honeyeater

Another yellow bush, another New Holland Honeyeater

Caught in mid twirl: New Holland Honeyeater dancing around

Caught in mid twirl: New Holland Honeyeater dancing around

Australian Magpie in the grass

Australian Magpie in the grass

Group of Australian Grey Teal ducks resting on Swan Bay

Group of Australian Grey Teal ducks resting on Swan Bay

Blackburn Lake Santuary

A great day out today with my hubby at the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary. A good friend recommended this park for bird watching and wow, it was amazing! We saw more birds than I can show here, so many little flitting miniature birds all over the place. A lovely older lady was there bird watching and pointed out a few for us, most notably the grey fantail which was awesome to watch, dancing and fanning its tail feathers.

What a beautiful place, and I feel so glad that it has been preserved down through the many years of development of Melbourne to be a sanctuary not only for birds and animals but for people to enjoy the unspoiled bush and to see these creatures in their native environment.

We will absolutely be going back! Thanks for the recommendation, Jeanette! We spent a happy day spotting birds all over the place and thoroughly enjoying the clear weather, sunshine and crisp autumn day. Couldn’t have been better!!

Despite my tiredness and slowness and dragging of feet there is always something magical about catching a glimpse of each bird for the first time, hearing the call and tracking it down, or suddenly coming across it in the path, or spotting it high up in the tree! It really gets me going and speeds me on for a few minutes, gives me a burst of energy for a little while and distracts my brain completely from anything else going on in it. I smile, I laugh, I exclaim and all of that is positive feedback to my brain that things are going well! I’m sure it must do something for my serotonin levels.

Photo credit is split about half and half with me and my hubby; can’t take full credit!

For the bird watchers among my readers, please take a look at the little bird third from the bottom below the duck – I need some help identifying this one, can’t quite decide based on my guide book. Thanks in advance!!

flowering blossoms, gum tree, eucalyptus, eastern spinebill

Fabulous flitting Male Eastern Spinebill amonst the flowering gum blossoms

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Male Eastern Spinebill in the blossoms with throat on show

rainbow lorikeet, taking flight

Gorgeous Rainbow Lorikeet taking flight

grey fantail, tail feather

Grey fantail showing off its tail feathers – hard to catch so blurry picture!

spotted turtle-dove

Beautiful Spotted Turtle-Dove

purple swamphen

Blueish Purple Swamphen stalking the log

dusky moorhen, rushes

Dusky Moorhen in the rushes

laughing kookaburra, eating, branch

Laughing kookaburra sitting on a branch eating something gross!

black raven, little raven, australian raven

Glossy black Raven – either Little Raven or Australian Raven

rainbow lorikeet, yellow chest

An unusual Rainbow Lorikeet with a bright yellow chest

Australian Magpie

Pair of Australian Magpies fighting to be fed bread by hand

beautiful caramel and silver grey duck

Beautiful duck with caramel colouring and silver grey top feathers

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Help wanted – not quite sure what this bird is??

[Addition: a very kind reader has given us the answer to our question!! The bird above is the White-browed Scrubwren, most likely the south-eastern form. Thank you very much!!]

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Red Wattlebird as seen from underneath

pacific black ducks

Pacific Black Ducks through the morning mist

eucalypt tree, new growth

Fallen eucalyptus tree shooting new trees

pink flowering gum blossoms

Pink flowering gum blossoms

Ducks, ducks, ducks

All my life I’ve been interested in ducks. Then one birthday I got a batch of ducklings and a new era began. I watered my ducks, fed them, took them for walks, supervised sitting mothers, disposed of rotten eggs, shooed them into their pen at night, shooed them into the channel for swims and watched over the baby ducklings like a mother.

I kept muscovy ducks and khaki campbell ducks. When I left home for the city to study I had to leave them behind and eventually they dwindled down to zero. But I still want to keep them again one day. And I’m always looking out for ducks wherever I go.

Luckily where I live now there is a park with lots of ducks. Pacific black ducks, Australian wood ducks and one Australian grey teal duck.

Pacific black duck

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Pacific black duck down by the river

Australian wood duck

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Male and female pair of Australian wood ducks

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My favourite flying sequence of Autralian wood ducks on the lake!

Australian grey teal

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Australian grey teal duck at the zoo

These are the common types of ducks that you’re likely to see around all about.

Then there are some really cool types of ducks, that you have to put effort into looking for. Luckily for me, a bunch of them make their home in the Japanese garden at the zoo and I was able to see them yesterday and grab a few snaps.

Australian shelduck

australian shelduck, pair, zoo, grass, lake

Australian shelduck male and female pair

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Pair of Australian shelducks, female in front

Chestnut teal

chestnut teal, grass, lake

Male chestnut teals

 Hardhead duck

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Male hardhead duck

Plumed whistling duck

whistling ducks, grass, sun

Pair of plumed whistling ducks at the zoo

Lots of fun! There’s another type of duck that we used to go for drives and look for when I was a kid in the winter; the mountain duck. I can’t find it in my field guide so I’ll have to do some more research and find out exactly what type of duck it was.

I’ll get back to you!!