The Plover Family: Next Generation

I am so used to the squawking and shrieking of the Masked Lapwings (plovers) who like to feed in my driveway that I don’t pay too much attention to the noise most of the time. At this time of year, I do check on them occasionally because I know they usually produce their chicks in late winter. It seems to be a family tradition that when the babies are old enough they are brought to my garden to be shown their territory. I wasn’t able to photograph last years chicks but I did see them a couple of times.

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, I was sitting in the lounge and I thought that they were making a lot more noise than usual. It occurred to me that it might mean they had new chicks so I went to have a look out of the kitchen window. There were Mr & Mrs Plover both standing in the middle of the drive looking at me and squawking their heads off. I looked around and sure enough, there was a chick fossicking around in the grass nearby. They usually have more than one and after observing them for a short time I believe there are two. It was a chilly afternoon and mum went to sit on the grass where I think she was sheltering one under her wings. Later on, the other one crept in as well.

I had time to get my camera and put the 100-300 mm zoom lens on to take some pictures. They are not great because of being taken through the glass but if I had opened the window they would have been off as fast as the babies could be made to walk.

I think that these chicks are younger than the ones I photographed last time, they are quite small. It was quite funny to see mum and dad so close to the house and looking towards the window. Were they warning me off or announcing the new arrivals so that I would see them I wonder?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 3 Items or the Number 3

Threes

This week I decided to use (mostly) pictures of birds. I was looking through my archive searching the number three and found I had pictures of three ducks and three goldfinches so I decided to see if I had any other groups of three birds. I admit to cheating a bit with the Galahs.

Three pigeons in the city.
Three finches feeding
Three ducks who wandered into my garden.
Australian birds mug.

Garden Visitors: European Goldfinches

For some reason, birds seem to really like my driveway. I see more birds out there than I do in the back garden where there are more trees and plants.

I happened to glance out the kitchen window on Saturday afternoon and to my surprise, a flock of birds were hopping around in the drive. I dropped what I was doing and hurried to get the camera and fit the long lens.

European Goldfinches in my driveway.

I didn’t want to open the window and scare them away so I just shot through the glass. I took a lot of photos hoping that I’d get some good ones.

They are European Goldfinches, described in my bird book as a feral species found around towns, farms and settlements in Australia. They gather in large flocks in autumn and winter and feed on seeds.  They are quite common, I’ve seen them in the garden before but never a whole flock.

Goldfinches eating seeds in my driveway.

Some of them even hopped closer and started to search for seeds right in front of the window. They stayed quite a while before something startled them and they all took off.

Further Reading:

http://www.australianbushbirds.info/infc/carduelis_carduelis.html

https://www.animalwised.com/how-to-tell-a-male-from-a-female-goldfinch-195.html

Garden Visitors: White-Faced Heron

This heron has been visiting for the past few days.

Recently I spotted a large bird on the piece of land between my house and the power sub-station next door. The first time I only caught a glimpse as he/she flew away but I was fairly sure that it was a heron of some type.

The bird has returned a couple of times but it was only today when I went outside to check the meter box that I spotted it again casually walking along the perimeter fence. This is the same area favoured by my noisy plover neighbours, it seems to be some kind of bird highway. Anyway, this time I thought I might have time to run and get the camera although I knew that I had to reinsert the memory card as well. By the time I had done that the heron was roughly opposite my kitchen window where I have taken bird photos before.

Heron taking a stroll.

I took two or three photos. They are not great because the bird doesn’t stand out that well against the surroundings. I decided to take a chance and run for my long lens as my standard zoom lens is only 18-50mm. I thought that at worst the bird might be gone when I got back but luckily it wasn’t so I had time to take a couple more where you can see it a bit more clearly.

A White-Faced Heron. March 2019, Port Huon, Tasmania

Naomi recently gave me a book about Tasmanian birds so once it had disappeared behind the garage I hurried to get it. There are two types of heron found in Tasmania. This one appears to be a White-Faced Heron. The book says that it is a common, small heron about 66-69cm with a white face and throat and yellow legs. I’m unsure if this is a male or female. They are found all around Australia and make their homes in wetlands, such as the margins of swamps, dams and lakes and in other estuarine areas. Although my house is not right by the water the Kermandie River is just across the street. It’s a narrow stream here, quite shallow and reedy. It flows into the Huon River at Port Huon, a couple of kilometres down the road from me so this bird is not far out of its habitat.

This little corridor between me and the substation seems to be quite popular with the larger birds. I’m not really sure what the attraction is but it’s nice to get a chance to observe them. I’ll be looking for more opportunities to photograph the heron in future.

RDP Saturday: Bird

Birds of a Feather

I was quite pleased to see that today’s prompt was about birds as I already had a draft on the subject. So here, as they say, is one I prepared earlier.

I’ve often mentioned how much I enjoy the birds that visit my garden. I think that I’m quite lucky that as I live in the country we get a wide variety of birds although not all of them visit me. Some prefer the tall gum trees of adjacent properties and some I spot just flying past. I am always trying to photograph them but rarely succeed. Here are a few of my attempts.

Of the garden visitors of course the most common are the sparrows, starlings, swallows and honeyeaters. I have a soft spot for sparrows although some consider them vermin.

Not sure what this is . A Welcome Swallow I think. They like to nest in my garage.

A common sparrow.

Yellow Throated Honeyeater Looking in my back door

Less common visitors are the blue wrens and robins who only seem to be around in winter time. I have seen Zebra Finches too but I haven’t managed to photograph any of these small birds successfully.   I have also had occasional visits from a pair of Green Rosella’s and once a flock of ducks but they had escaped from a neighbour’s garden so I can’t really count them I suppose.

Green or Tasmanian Rosella

These four ducks wandered into my garden.

The plover family dynasty has adopted the plot of land adjoining my driveway and I often see them looking for food there or flying around shrieking. They are quite vocal birds.

In the neighbourhood category the crows are the ones I hear most often. Their distinctive “Caw, caw” call is easy to pick. Surprisingly I don’t see or hear magpies nearby but we do have kookaburras. They prefer the taller gum trees or perhaps a power pole to perch on. I also hear seagulls as it is not far to Port Huon where there are plenty of fish and sometimes flocks of noisy Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. Sometimes I’ll even see an eagle flying overhead.  They are too far away for me to say what kind they are.

I really should have had a longer lens.

 

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. One of a flock I saw feeding on the Queen’s Domain, Hobart.

The ones that got away.

http://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/scarlet-robin

http://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/superb-fairy-wren

http://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/zebra-finch

http://birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/laughing-kookaburra