Saturday, January 31, 2015

White Browed Scrubwren

The weather in Sydney is bright and sunny today, but the week has been overcast with continuous rains. Despite the rain, we went to the blue mountains and at the the higher altitude, the visibility was very poor. May be even less than 500 meters. A very bad weather for birding I thought, that is until a few White browed Scrubwren's (Sericornis frontalis ) came hopping, to me. They were foraging of-course , but to my surprise they were unperturbed, by my presence. The birds quite rapidly jumped from perch to perch, bush to bush and it was only because of their incessant chirps that I could locate them easily. Hoping the sunny weather we had today persists atleast, when we go birding. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spotted Dove

Bad weather which restricted me to balcony birding, introduced me to a very familiar bird- the Spotted dove ( Spilopelia chinensis). A very common Indian bird, it was present here too. It apparently is more or less an invasive species in Australia now and was introduced hered in the 1860's . It has since replaced many local dove species. One behavioral difference I noticed between the Indian and the Australian dove was its boldness. The Indian spotted dove, I find is very shy and extremely wary of human presence. The one's in the Australian neighborhood were quite friendly and bold and did not mind approaching me closely.  In Asia, the bird prefers, farmlands and scrub-land, whereas in Australia it is more or less and Urban bird (probably because lack of proper food).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Australian Raven

It has been raining since we arrived at Sydney. Not an ideal weather for birding, so we are stuck to birding from the balcony. The ever present urban bird, the crow, was the first to get my attention. Their stunning white iris, caught my eye. Never had I seen a raven/crow with white iris!
Well, it turns out that at least five of the Aussie crows/ raven's have white iris. The biggest confusion though comes, when identifying the Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides ), which looks very similar to the Australian Crow / Torresian crow.
One of the very sure shot way of identifying the raven is by its call. The below video shows the call of a raven.

The raven has an arrr arrrr arrrrrrrrrrrrrr call. The last arrrrrrrr is long and stretches to its lung capacity (sounds like a constipating human).
The crow sounds very different from it- more like uk uk.
The raven also has a much more glossy, bluish black feathers and longer feathers around its neck.
Now among Ravens there are more species and hopefully in coming days, I will meet them all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nosiy Miner

For the next few weeks, my post will feature, wildlife not from India, not from Asia, in fact not from the Northern hemisphere itself; I will be posting from Australia. Just like Sir Joseph Banks, who was fascinated by the amazing wildlife down under, I was thrilled at seeing many new birds on the very first day of our arrival here (Me and my wife). Well, I will start with the noisy of the lot, aptly called 'Noisy Miner' (Manorina melanocephala) a bird of the honeyeater family. The bird, certainly kept me interested with its range of calls and I hope to record some of its lovely range of calls in the days to come. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Ashy Drongo

It was a delightful morning today, we had a new winter visitor. An Ashy Drongo; (Dicrurus leucophaeus) a bird that migrates from the Himalayas to the subcontinent for winter, a distance of more than 2000 kilometers.
The bird looks very similar to a resident bird, the Black Drongo . On field, the Ashy can be easily distinguished from the Black by a white spot carried by the black drongo, located between the eye and the beak. Moreover, the Ashy drongo has crimson eyes, which can be quite striking.
A large number of drongos congregate in places where fire is set, to dried up grass. They catch insects, that try to escape from these fires. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Asian Koel

Above a Female Immature Asian Koel.

Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) -Male. Our garden has three trays, refilled with fresh water every day, where small birds come to quench thirst and for a quick shower. Today, we had two over sized birds- two Asian Koels. The first one an Immature female and another a male. At first the birds were extremely circumspect of the new watering hole it found, but slowly they made itself comfortable and spent a good ten minutes enjoying at the water bath.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Blythe's Reed Warbler

I was woken up this morning, by the cry of an unusual bird. It was a single harsh "tchuk" repeated a regular intervals. When I went out to locate the bird, I was delighted to see a new visitor in our garden. It was hopping in an out of some thickly grown tree covers but rarely venturing out in the open. I managed to get a few photographs of of the bird when it momentarily came on the ground to pickup something it dropped.
The bird was a Blythe's Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum). The bird breeds north of Quetta and is a winter visitor to the subcontinent. The bird is similar to the paddy-field Warbler and in the field, the easiest way to single out the one is in its behaviour. The paddyfield Warbler prefers wet or marshy fields, while the Blythe's Reed Warbler stays away from water and forages among heavy bushes.