This blog is to share my photographs of, and enthusiasm for, the native birds living around and passing by the base of Mount Majura, Canberra, Australia. It was inspired by the swanlings at the bottom of my street. All photographs have been taken on local walks.
Wild and free one day, a pair of Grey Teal shyly skirt the edges of the pond searching for favoured pond scum and weed. The very next day, they've joined the regular duck crowd and have developed a habit for white bread! Not to mention a dependency on the whim of when five year old neighbourhood kids choose to feed them. Could white bread really be better li'l duck? Taking a few pictures of waterbirds in the fading light today, a dude asked if I was a policeman. !?! What like undercover duck police? If that's a job, I'm applying!
To complete the Darter trilogy, here is the mature male I saw at the pond today. Compare its colouring and the feather detailing to the Darter in the earlier posts.
Other pond news is that the black ducks have flown the coop. I wonder what made them leave and whether they'll return.. and.. if they miss me? More likely they'll miss the bread constantly tossed at them and I predict they'll return for that. In the meantime some Grey Teal and Hardheads recently arrived. Take your eye off the prize for five minutes and the world shifts.
In addition to the species mentioned, I also saw both grebe species, coots, the two permanent swans and a Little Pied Cormorant. Not a bad count for a tiny suburban pond. I didn't count land birds.
Yes, more Darter pictures. Why not? It's a gorgeous bird.
At first I thought this Darter was wounded: see the last two pictures. However expert advice assures me the wound looking thing is actually a critical part of bird anatomy. It's the preen gland from which the Darter is taking an oily substance to keep its feathers in good shape. Thanks Canberra Ornithologists! Come to think of it, I have read about swans spreading oil from their preen gland and though I have watched swans preening often enough, I never stopped to think that such a gland might be visible. There's so much to learn about our beautiful birds. Also, I'd like to wish Ms Moo in Tassie a very happy birthday for today, and ... erm I hope you like Darters!
Generally I'm glued to uni assignments in any free time right now, but I snuck to the pond this morning and found what I think is a young Darter, happily engaged in a spot of fishing, followed by a lengthy wing drying procedure. Well I know the bird is a Darter. I'm just guessing it's young: it was smallish, it seemed a bit fluffy and I'm not sure if the wing feathers are fully developed. There was also a small Little Pied Cormorant at the pond as well. So cute. It seemed to have very big feet and reminded me of a puppy that hadn't yet grown into itself. Anyway here is the obliging Darter, demonstrating various yoga postures and one photo of the young cormorant with seasonally coloured background, but no feet in view sorry.
It's raining grebe 'round this joint! But what the heck is a hoary head? Is that a compliment? Especially considering how cute and fluffy this wee bird is.
This Hoary-headed Grebe was at the pond all day yesterday and I'm guessing it's an immature bird, trying to establish territory, or else taking a day out from a journey. One of the Australasian Grebe was antagonistic towards this hoary-headed newcomer and chased it many times. The Hoary-headed Grebe dived under each time and easily avoided attack. Observing their micro-battle from afar was fairly comical and I hope the swans, ducks and coots got some amusement value out of it too. Unfortunately the Hoary-headed Grebe did not come close enough for me to get a good photo. This ongoldenpond picture is probably my best one. The gold effect on the water was created by a combination of a reflection of a sculpture and the overcast weather, which makes a change from skanky brown pond. There's no oil slick. At least you can see what a fluffball the grebe is.
No tears were shed about the lost opportunity of getting a good photograph of a male Golden Whistler, although some cursing and muttering did occur. I even had a look at the camera manual afterwards to try to learn more about the peculiarities of focus on my camera and lens; such was my degree of distress! Cute bird huh? It has a nice loud whistle that I have been hearing for a while now and only just saw today and yesterday. I've seen Mrs (Golden) Whistler a few times too. She is quite the plain Jane by comparison with Mr Hotpants here, but is still a lovely looking bird.