When I was a small child I had to walk by myself about a mile along a country road to get to school.
"It's not fair!" I blurted out, with the truculence of a five year old.
"You'll be all right," said my mother who remembered that when she had been my age she had had to drive a horse and sulky six miles to reach her school.
But I was not convinced.
Perhaps the biggest hazard on the way to school were the magpies and it was not I who bore the brunt of their attacks, but my little brother (at least he was little then).
About a hundred metres down the road from our house stood a couple of big old gum trees that were a favourite nesting site for magpies. And they were fierce! On one occasion they hit the back my brother's...
A strange thing happened during our trip to Barrington Tops. We had just set up our tents on the banks of the Barrington River, and were standing under Pete's tarpaulin discussing the possibility of making a cup of tea, when a whole flock of tiny birds settled on the fireplace a couple of metres away, seemingly undisturbed by our presence. I moved back to grab my camera and Laura moved forward to get hers from her tent, but as quickly as they had come the whole flock departed.
"Don't worry", Laura assured me. "They will come back." But they didn't - at least not while I was there.
We watched the flock wheeling and diving high above our heads in pursuit of insects and identified them as fairy martins from the white patch on...
Both occur in dense forests along the east coast of Australia, but only the bassian thrush is found south of Sydney. In northern NSW, and along the QLD coast, where both species occur together the russet-tail is more of a lowland bird, while the bassian inhabits the high forests.
According to Michael Morcombe’s “Field Guide to Australian Birds” the bassian is found above 500 metres, and the russet-tail below 750 metres...
During our recent camping trip to Koreelah NP, in May, we were greeted by wrens that hovered around our campsite, but of which species?
It is easy to tell the difference between the species of fairy-wrens if you see an adult male in his brightly coloured breeding plumage, but how about during winter, and what about the juveniles and females with no male nearby?
Here are photos taken else-where of male fairy-wrens in breeding plumage.
Joe did take a photo of an adult male Variegated Fairy-wren (Malurus lamberti) over near the waterfall a hundred metres or more away, at Koreelah while we were there, but was the group of wrens that foraged around our campsite the same species, or were they Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cya...
Part 1, on the distinguishing features of females and juveniles can be found here.
Part 3 on the wrens at Koreelah can be found here.
For male fairy-wrens the changes in plumage colour are much more complex than for the females.
Juvenile males initially look just like the females. The first thing to change is the tail colour. Wikipedia says that young male superb fairy-wrens "usually develop a blue tail before their first winter".
And then they begin to acquire a dark beak. The photo on the left shows a young male superb wren with blue in its tail, and dark colouring at the tip of its bill while the rest of its bill is still orange. It also still retains the orange-coloured eye-ring and lores.
This is Part 1 of a three-part series of articles. You can find Part 2, The young males here, and Part 3, The fairy-wrens at Koreelah here
Like all hobbies as you delve further into bird watching and photography, it becomes more and more complex. The more you know, the more you realize there is still to learn.
When you start out, you think it is just a simple matter of learning what the species looks like and you have it all sewn up. Then you find that males and females of a species often have different appearances and that complicates things. Then the juveniles can be different again, and the fledged chicks can be different to the juveniles, and then you discover breeding and non-breeding plumage, and I am not even going...
Silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis) are tiny birds, a little more than 10cm in length and are easy to recognize by the white ring around their eyes.
They are constantly moving, so although they are relatively common at the places that we visit it has been difficult to take good photos of them. But at Bunya Mountains NP there were thousands of them. They were much more common than we had ever seen them anywhere else before. But they were still difficult to photograph!
In the early morning of our first full day of camping at the Westcott campsite I went for a stroll along the path in the sunny west-facing, clearing near the camping ground and encountered a large migratory flock that had paused to feed. The trees surrou...
On the second day of our Lamington trip we came across a strange phenomenon on the forest floor beside one of the paths through the rainforest. Something really was behaving like a mad thing.
It appeared to be performing a crazy dance, but was moving so fast that it was just a blur. It was only by looking at my photos later that I was able to identify it as a crane fly.
My photos in sequence showed the long-legged fly in flight, then very briefly touching the end of its abdomen to the ground, then flying up again. It repeated this process over and over again. I have to assume that it was laying eggs in the leaf litter, and that every descent to the ground meant another egg was deposited.
We saw Red-necked Pademelons (Thylogale thetis) everywhere at O'Reilly's. They were in the visitors' areas, around the camp-site and in the forest. Some were out foraging even during the day. But they really appeared in great numbers at dusk, particularly in the paddock below the motel area.
They clearly had lost much of their fear of people.
These delightful, chunky, small wallabies are found on the the edges of dense forests along the east coast of NSW and southern Queensland. They like to forage in clearings and are less common within the forest.
A couple of the red-necked pademelons that we saw (see the photos above and below) were chewing on sedges and fallen leaves.
Walking along one of the paths through the rainforest we came across a little Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) that was bathing in a tiny pocket of water no bigger than a teacup, in a little well formed from a scar on the trunk of a small tree where a branch had fallen off at some time in the past.
It was quite amusing to watch........
......as it flew backwards and forwards......
its perch and
the little reservoir.....
.......pausing to look around every now and then.
Then after a couple of minutes, it was all over. It was time to get back to the all-important duty of foraging for food.