Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rainbow Lorikeets

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) are the most common birds around my yard.  On most mornings I see and hear small flocks of 10 or more birds flying over and some of them stop off in my grevillea trees for a while.  However, for the last two or three weeks there have been huge flocks flying over.  Some flocks were too fast and too big for me even to estimate numbers but the smaller flocks were not less than 50 birds.  Only a very few birds stopped right in my yard but the big pine tree next door was a good place for big flocks to stop for a short rest.  This little video was taken around sunrise the other morning.  Just listen to that noise!

This is a Rainbow Lorikeet in my grevillea tree.

This tree was in a friend's yard and the birds were enjoying the berries as a change from nectar.

There has been a heavier than normal flowering of the Paperbark Trees (Melaleuca quinquenervia) over the last few weeks and I think this must have brought more Rainbow Lorikeets than normal around my yard.  Paperbark trees grow up to 25M in height and are common both around the edges of the bay and also through the Wallum heathland.  The trees have a bark which peels like sheets of soft paper.  The flowers are creamy white.  Unfortunately, I realized when I started writing this post that I didn't have good photos of just Paperbark Trees.  This photo from my archives shows a Figbird - rather than a Lorikeet - in a Paperbark tree taken some time ago. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crested Terns.

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

I went out to Inskip Point the other day but stopped first at Bullock Point.  This is south of Inskip and across Pelican Bay.  I was looking almost directly into the sun and Inskip Point was almost indistinguishable from Fraser Island directly behind it.  The only thing which really showed where the Point was were the glints of sunlight from the vehicles and the Barge out at the Point. ( All photos enlarge when clicked on. Then you can see the vehicles !)

There were very few shorebirds or sea-birds around that day.  The most interesting were a small group of Crested Terns (Sterna bergii) roosting at the edge of the water.  Crested Terns stay in this area all year round. The migratory terns have left for the northern hemisphere some time ago. I always think that Crested Terns look really 'scruffy' when they are out of breeding plumage and moulting all their feathers.  Their color is patchy and of course that crest on their heads is mostly gone.

The very white bird behind the Crested Terns is a Silver Gull.

The bird in the center of the photo is a young Tern.  It still has its juvenile plumage and was still making begging noises at one of the adults.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

White-cheeked Honeyeaters

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

I stopped at the Seary's creek picnic area the other day.  It was a lovely warm afternoon and there were a couple of people swimming in the creek.  They said that there was a little bird nesting down close to the water on the far side of the creek. It was a great place for photos but none of the ones I took that afternoon were what I had hoped for.  However, it was worth an extra trip there the next day and this time I took my big lens and a good steady tripod.
Seary's Creek comes out of the Great Sandy National Park and eventually flows out into the bay.  The picnic area is about half way between Cooloola Cove and Rainbow Beach and has tables set out under the trees and a well-made board walk along a portion of the creek.  Like all the other streams that come out of this area the water is deeply stained with tannin from the vegetation in and around the creek.  With the sunlight on the water it is a deep red color.  However, with the light behind you it can also reflect the deep blue of the sky.

This photo shows the blue of the water and the bird's nest in the middle of the photo low down between the two trees.  It was well hidden in among the low growing bushes and reeds.

(I need to put a reminder here that I live in SE Queensland, Australia and  right now it is late autumn/early winter.  Night time temperatures have been around 10 degrees Celcius and day time temperatures about 25 degrees C.  This converts to 50 - 77 Fahrenheit.  Since living here I have had to remember that many or most of the bush birds breed and nest at this time of the year and NOT in the heat of spring/summer!)
The birds were White-cheeked Honeyeaters (Phylidonyris nigra).  When we first got there one of the adults was sitting on the nest but after a while it flew off and both adults started bringing in food to the young ones.  In the second photo the young birds show as just a blob of white in the bottom  of the nest.

The sun shining directly on the bird's feathers made the dark colors look more brown than black.  Both birds came in and perched on one of the branches above the nest before hopping quickly down to the nest itself.  At times they had a very good careful look over the creek to where I was standing.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

White-faced Heron

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

The light was beautiful down at the bay the other morning.  This photo was taken very close to where the last photo in the previous post was taken - but in such different light.

I saw a total of 4 Little Egrets...

...but didn't manage to get close to any of them.

I was almost back to the parking place again when I saw another bird standing very still in the water.

It flew off also but perched up in a tree close by and I could see it was a White-faced heron (Ardea novaehollandiae).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Light On The Bay

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

I enjoy walking along the bay down from the Mullens picnic area.  It's closer to my home than any other area of the bay and there is also a sandy edge for when the tide is well in.  I take more photos there than anywhere else because when I am there first thing in the morning the light is constantly changing.  Changing light changes one's perceptions of everything else as well.
This Little Egret was walking almost directly between me and the rising sun but only a minute later it had walked around me and looked quite different. 

This group of Pelicans were almost in silhouette when I first saw them. 

When they moved further along the bay their colors became visible. 

They were moving in what looked like a stately line along the bay but they must have been driving fish ahead of them because every now and again there would be splashes and flutters from part of the line as some of the birds competed to catch fish. 
 I think the most magical time on the bay is when rain showers are passing through.  Passing clouds change the sense of distance and objects on the far side of the bay are veiled.  This is the only time when I have not yet taken photos which catch the magic I see.  I keep trying!  These last two photos are the only ones I have done a little post processing on.