Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lake Alford

Whenever I go to town shopping I try to find a few extra minutes to visit Lake Alford and see what birds are around. Birds that live on ponds in the middle of the city act quite differently from ones that live with fewer people and more open spaces around. I find it a bit frustrating to have a pond full of water birds so used to people feeding them that they immediately come rushing over in the expectation of some scraps of food. But - - there are birds there I don't normally see out here on the bay - and - there are occasionally some very nice ones!
The water on some of the ponds is kept well circulated and open.

Other parts of the ponds are almost covered with water plants and water lilies.

The star of the show for me this time was a single 'chick' of which a pair of Black Swans was being very protective.

A lot of Cattle Egrets were nesting in the trees on one of the islands. They made interesting photos if I could just find one to keep still and visible out of the foliage. This is their breeding plumage.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kayaking Again!

Carpe Diem - Seize the Moment!
Last week started with heavy rain and wind. I watched the weather charts for each day and each morning looked at the clouds and waited to see the first breezes in the tree tops! Finally there was one morning that looked possible! - Not perfect! - but possible! I loaded the kayak on the roof racks of the car. I heaved a sigh of relief that all the "doom sayers" who keep asking if I can still lift the kayak up are not right!! I scurried around looking for gear that hadn't been used for more than 6 months! Down at the bay the water looked beautiful! Horrors!! Where was the kayak paddle? It is really lucky I only live about 5 minutes away!
When I finally started paddling out towards the airport roost I was intrigued to look down into the water and discover it was tea colored. All that heavy rain a couple of days ago had flushed out all the water in all the little creeks. Creek water around here is always colored by the vegetation that hangs over and into the water. Usually the bay water reflects the blue of the sky but this morning the water was a deeper color with hints of maroon. This photo is taken looking south from the roost. Little mangrove trees are beginning to thicken along the shoreline.

This photo is taken looking north along the roost and shows the foam which always happens when the salt water is mixed with too much fresh from the creeks.

It was great to see a total of 4 Red-capped Plovers. This sand bank was where I first got a good look at these little birds when I was still learning to ID shorebirds. Last year I didn't see them here. Two of them were running along the edge of the water and in and out of the foam.

A single Grey-tailed Tattler flew out of one of the mangrove trees. I wonder where the rest of the flock that usually roost there have gone? The pair of Pied Oystercatchers were still there. Keeping them company on that end of the sand spit were a number of Pacific Golden Plovers. They disappeared early for migration last year so it was good to find some back this year.
This photo shows the Pied Oystercatchers, one Pacific Golden Plover and one Red-capped Plover right in the front.

One of the Pacific Golden Plovers showed a few black spots - remnants of the black breeding plumage. There were also a few with juvenile plumage.
 The wind had been picking up all the time I had been watching the birds. After so much time away from kayaking I was not as steady getting into the kayak as I would like to be. Fortunately I could drag the kayak over the little sand spit and into the lagoon behind it where the water was nice and still. I need to get out on the kayak more often - and maybe I need to do some strengthening exercises for unused muscles as well!

For more photos of our world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds vist Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Around the Yard

I thought by now that I would have some new photos of the Bay and shorebirds - but sometimes good tides and weather just don't cooperate! First there was day-long drizzle - then - yesterday we had very heavy rain - early on there was 2 inches (50mm) in 2 hours then steady rain for the rest of the day! So I must put up with yard birds again. I realize these have some interest for an overseas birder - but I really really want to be out on my kayak on the bay!
Early summer and the jasmine that I planted against the fence is in heavy flower. I wish I could find a way to waft some of the perfume along the www!!!

The other afternoon I heard and saw a Figbird (Sphecotheres viridus)  high in one of the trees in my backyard.

When I looked closely at what I was photographing it was different from others I had previously photographed. A young male bird is colored like a female. The male bird has a bright red patch of skin around the eye and the female is brown around the eye and streaked color on the front. Here are photos of both that I took some time ago.
Male Figbird

Female Figbird

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Birds - Plants and Avian

This is the flower of the Strelitzia Nicolai which is commonly called the Bird of Paradise flower. The more common variety is the Strelitzia Reginae which has a yellow/orange flower. This Strelitzia Nicolai is a very vigorous plant and grows from 4-6 meters tall. The Blue-faced Honeyeaters are often around the flowers so I am guessing that it has lots of nectar.

Early morning and late afternoon are the noisiest times for birds around my place and of course the noisiest birds are all the parrots. It is common to see 20-30 of these white Sulphur-crested Cockatoos flying over. Sometimes they settle down for a while in my tallest trees. The other night there were 5 birds in the tree. Another 20 or so birds had flown over.  The ones in the tree were roosting quietly and looking all around.

Except - that is for this one! It looked like showing off to me! The other birds ignored its antics but it kept watching me and my camera!

This looked like a final attempt to catch my interest!!

I know this is anthropomorphism and serious birders don't indulge in this kind of thinking! But - now and again it is almost irresistible!!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday