Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Crested Pigeon

I see this Crested Pigeon ( Ocyphaps lophotes ) nearly every day, and I call it the bird with the punk haircut. The bird was once apparently only restricted  to the Aussie inland region but has now slowly moved to all Australian cities. The bird, spends a lot of time on this TV antenna and I have seen it ferociously hunt away other birds that occupy its perch during its absence. Quite shy of humans and it took quite many days for the bird to get used to my presence.  

Monday, February 9, 2015

Masked Lapwings

When I first saw these Lapwings- I thought, Ah! this looks like a Yellow wattled lapwing, so commonly found in India. But this is Australia- and I had a closer look again- this one looked different and indeed it was. This turns out to be a Masked Lapwing (  Vanellus miles ) which looks so similar to its Indian cousin. I saw these birds, mostly spending their time foraging on the grass looking for what looked like insects- rest of the time though was spent meditating. Lapwings, make their nests on the ground and protect their eggs by deceitfully luring the predator away. When they feel that a predator is close to their nest it lures the egg hunter away from the nest by flapping its wings on the ground, pretending to have a broken wing and distracting its predator away from its nest. So in ancient time this bird was called ' lappewinke '. This has today become a lapwing. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Australian Wood Duck

If you see any duck, in a Aussie water body, there is a good chance that it will be a Australian Wood duck ( Chenonetta jubata ). Well that is at least what I feel as of now. The first bird is a male and the lower two are Female wood ducks. The females have two white stripes over their eye. This species is also known as the Maned Duck or the Maned Goose- just for kicks.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Grey Butcherbird

In the Indian sub-continent there is the Shrike, then a near equivalent to it in Australia is a Butcherbird. Featured today is the Grey Butcherbird ( Cracticus torquatus ). Just like the shrike, this one too has the habit of impaling its prey on thorns of branches- which is also the reason, why it is called a butcher bird.  The more I see birds down under, if feel they are related in so many ways- yet so very different. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Dusky Moorhen

A moor is a marshy area generally abounding in peat. An appropriate name for a moorhen. I was presently surprised to spot a family of Dusky moorhens (Gallinula tenebrosa ) , the adult taking a little one on a exploration trip. It was a beautiful experience to see the little chick take its baby steps and trying to emulate its mother. The bird is similar to the Purple moorhen found in India and when I first saw the bird from a distance, I even blurted out calling it Purple moorhen- until I remembered that I was in another continent.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Rainbow Lorikeet

 This family seems to not only fascinate me, but keeps getting interesting as I spot more and more of their members- the Parrot family that is. Last three blog posts have been on the mostly white, but pretty looking Kokatoo's. Today's bird, the Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus ) though belonging to the parrot family is anything but white.
The bird is found  in coastal regions across northern and eastern Australia and are quite happy in the urban areas.These birds, despite their colour are monogamous and pair for life.
In the old maps, made during the 1500's, especially made by Gerard mercator had an area designated as Psitacarum Regio ( land of the parrots). Today that area roughly corresponds to south east Australia. The ancients were not wrong, this place is still Psitacarum Regio- and " I'm lovin it ."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Long billed Corella

Its raining Cockatoo's on the blog. Among a large flock of Cockatoo's that I spotted, there were a few that were looking different. Turns out to be, they were the Long-billed Corella's ( Cacatua tenuirostris). The bird looked similar to the Little Corella, featured yesterday and for a long time I thought they were the same birds. On a closer look though, the Long-billed Corella had a orange-red crescent across its upper breast and like its name suggests a longer and pointier beak than the little Corella. The upper mandible of the beak is much longer than the lower.
I have always seen these birds as pets or as performers in circuses and its amazing to see how happy and carefree they seem in the wild. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Little Corella

I was attracted this morning, by the calls of birds, that sounded like Cockatoo's.  When I rushed out to look out them, the looked a bit different from the one I had posted yesterday. These were a group of Little Corella's ( Cacatua sanguinea ) jostling over a power cable. It was sheer delight to see their antics and games, one of which was sliding down roof tops of houses, until they reached the edge and then climbing back on top again. The bird looks similar to another bird, that frequents this place- The long beaked Corella. Hopefully I will get a chance to post about it tomorrow.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

The last time I saw this bird was at a circus, when I was a young boy. It was a sheer delight to see a  Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita ) again, but this time in the wild. It so happens that there are hundreds of these lovely Cockatoo's here. Its not unusual to find a tree, filled with these delightful but noisy birds. For many people though, this bird is a pest, which nibbles on their wooden fixtures and destroys their fruits. This bird, was the part of a pair and this one was seen looking into hollow holes in tree trunks, probably looking for nesting sites.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Australian White Ibis

It was a clear and sunny Saturday, a perfect day for birding. So we decided to venture out somewhere close to look for birds. The Auburn Botanical garden provided the perfect place. The gardens are beautiful with plenty of birds and the biggest flock turned out to be that of the Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis moluccus ).  The bird resembles the black headed Ibis that we so frequently see in India, and initially I though it was the very same bird. In Australia this Ibis is now slowly turning into an urban bird, and shifting to the cities from their otherwise marsh land. During breeding seasons, the bird is known to come and snatch food from the hands of visitors. 
Visually one difference that I noticed between the black headed and white Ibis were the presence some bare patches on the back of the head and neck, in the White ibis. The Black headed Ibis has a complete black head. The birds here are quite bold and if one seems non threatening, they let you approach quite close.