Friday, July 22, 2016

Masters of camouflage




Can spot these Tawny Frogmouths in the banksia tree?




The cropped image below shows them more clearly



 


They are masters of camouflage and during the day will perch quietly in a tree, unless disturbed.

The Tawny Frogmouth may look like an owl, but it is more closely related to the nightjar. Although they are nocturnal, like the owl, their feet are smaller and they do not have the curved talons of the owl.

Tawnies are found across Australia.
These photos were taken in the south west of Western Australia, but we do see Tawnies in Perth as well. Photos taken by Peter Wiese, reproduced here with permission.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Osprey nests around Perth and the Swan River




Birdlife Western Australia is interested in knowing about osprey nests around the Swan River and at other spots along the Perth coast.
 
Known osprey nest sites around the Swan River are: 

1. Salter Point, Mt Henry, Aquinas
2. Claremont Peppermint Grove, Devil’s Elbow
3. Old Swan Brewery, Riverside Drive
4. Radio mast, Garrett Road Bridge, Ascot Waters
5. Ron Courtney Island, Garvey Park, Ascot
6. Alfred Cove
7. Pelican Point, Nedlands
8. Comer Street overpass, Como

If you know of any other sites please contact Marcus Singor at msingor at bigpond.com

Here are photos of a nest I found on top of a mobile phone tower at Whitford Nodes Beach Park, north of Hillarys Boat Harbour. 



The telltale signs that there are ospreys around are the sticks and of course you can see the osprey in the top photo.

Eggs are generally laid from mid August to late October. Incubation takes 36 days and the nestling period around 50 days.

Ospreys were nesting at this site last year too. I will be keeping an eye on this nest over the next few months

Saturday, July 16, 2016

All puffed up, Singing honeyeater

In April 2016 in Perth, still hot. A singing honeyeater enjoys a bath.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Variegated fairywrens in suburban Perth garden



I'm catching up on posting about some exciting new sightings.

On an extremely hot day in March 2016, my eye was attracted to some movement in one of the outdoor birdbaths. Imagine my surprise when my focus of the binoculars revealed a pair of variegated fairywrens.

quickly reached for my brand new Panasonic Lumix DMC Z200 and these photos of the male were  taken through the glass window.




At this time of year the birds are in eclipse non- breeding plumage and the male has just a bare suggestion of azure blue around the head, blue tail and chestnut shoulder patch.

You can see the normal breeding plumage of the male in the photos of Graham Chapman

The birds stayed around for about 20 minutes, jumping in and out of the water, and haven't been seen since.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Anna's hummingbird



Anna's hummingbird is one of the glorious little hummingbirds commonly found along the west coast of North America. The adult male has a distinctive rosy coloured gorge and crown. The females are plainer, a bronze-green.

According to Audubon the species has expanded its range in recent years, probably helped along by flowers and feeders in suburban gardens; it nests as far north as British Columbia and as far east as Arizona.

These photos of Anna's hummingbird, taken in the Russian River valley of California by Peter Wiese, are published here with permission.







Anna's is more vocal than most hummingbirds and researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have discovered that the beeps, chirps and whistles made by some hummingbirds are made by the birds' tail feathers.

A New Scientist video shows the hummingbird using its tail, somewhat like a wind instrument, to create a loud chirping sound.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

More Central Park birds



More Central Park birds from my trip to New York in April 2016, trying out my new camera.

Central Park is a great place for birds and according to New York City Audubon more than 280 bird species have been recorded there, and of those 192 are regular visitors.
 
A Northern cardinal (below)



Same bird in the shade with its tail in the frame. (below)







White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) is above. This bird has a beautiful call, said to sound like "old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody", or, if you are Canadian like me, it's "oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada".




House Sparrow. I know these birds are as common as muck in New York and elsewhere, but here in the isolated city of Perth we never see them. They are an introduced species in all the east coast cities ofAustralia, but have not made it west yet.



American robin. These are common and they breed in Central Park.

They are nothing at all like the Australian robins, or indeed the European robins. They are quite large (24cm) and not really a robin, but a migratory songbird of the thrush family.