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Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Random Memories of Australia - Part 9

     More fabulous birds from Australia!

Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis)

     I remember well the first time I saw this bird, strutting across a field in suburban Sydney, NSW. We were passing through a highly developed residential area, and the field appeared to be the last  undeveloped tract of land, soon to go under the bulldozer no doubt.


    The range of many birds is shrinking as humans gobble up their living space and this sighting provided a graphic illustration of this trend.
     There were no further sightings in NSW but we were fortunate to meet up with this species again in Victoria.


     Breeding Straw-necked Ibises take advantage of the rainy season to assure a reliable supply of water, essential for successful breeding.


     The principal diet of Straw-necked Ibis comprises a wide variety of larger insects such as locusts, grasshoppers, crickets and beetles, supplemented by small lizards and crayfish. Unlike the more common Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca), a true opportunist, Straw-necked Ibis is not known to feed at garbage dumps and rubbish tips.

Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles)

     This is a very common species that we saw almost every day in a variety of locations, from our front lawn to parks, on beaches, estuaries and on rocky shores.


     It is unmistakable due to its large size, black head and outrageous yellow wattles around the eyes. Masked Lapwing tolerates humans well, but if you get too close to its young it will fly at you, screaming all the while. If you look closely at the bird's left wing you will see a spur, present on both wings, a vestige of primitive fighting apparatus.


    It feeds in typical plover fashion, taking a wide range of insects, earthworms and small invertebrates.


     I do not have a great picture of its young, but the following will show you how appealing they are.


     When danger threatens, the chick, in response to a specific call from its parent, flattens itself against the ground, and as long as it remains motionless is virtually invisible to a would-be predator.

Red-kneed Dotterel (Charadrius cinctus)

     I was elated when we saw this species at the Western Treatment Plant in Werribee, VIC, that most iconic of Australia's birding locations. (Thank you Stewart Monckton for a fabulous day there).


     It is a visually appealing species, a freshwater specialist and, unusual among plovers, it builds a substantial nest. Furthermore, it feeds uncharacteristically while wading in water, frequently submerging its head, and is not reluctant to swim.


     It has an unusually upright stance, or even with protruding breast facing downwards, a posture which sets it apart from other plovers.


     We only saw this species on one occasion, but it was a very cooperative bird and permitted us the time to study it well. 
     It is clearly impossible to select high points during a trip which contained nothing else, but this encounter for me had a distinct upper level of excitement to it. If COVID eases up on us all and permits travel to Australia next year, I will be looking for it again, of that you may be sure!

Red-necked Avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae)

     An avocet at any time is enigmatic, verging on exotic, so to encounter a new species is the stuff of high drama!


     The curved, upsweeping bill gives an air of bravado and devil-may-care to an avocet, a definite hint of panache, combined with elegance I might add.


     An avocet feeds by swinging its bill from side to side through the water, locating small shrimp, fish or insects by touch and clamping down on them on impact.


     It is not hesitant to swim, resembling a small duck.


     Red-necked Avocets are generally found in flocks, sometimes comprising several thousand birds.



White-plumed Honeyeater (Ptilotula penicillata)

     In a family universally known for its beauty, White-plumed Honeyeater is perhaps one of the loveliest.


     I would love to see a skilled wildlife artist produce a canvass of this delicate, appealing bird.


     It is seldom found far from water in open forests and woodlands. River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) are its preferred tree, and its distinctive call enlivens the woodlands.


     It is not a species that we saw often so there was an added sense of joy when we did.

Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)

     We had only one sighting of this bird, but it was an extended look at it stationary and in flight, as it launched itself from a perch and returned to it. 


     This species has a marked preference for perching on dead trees in an upright stance, which is exactly how we encountered it, proving as always that knowledge of habitat improves one's success at finding birds.


     Brown Falcon has a catholic diet which includes small mammals, insects, reptiles including snakes, fish, frogs and crustaceans. It does not hesitate to take advantage of carrion and has been observed stealing food from other less agile raptors.


     
     That's all for this time. I might have enough pictures to squeeze out one more post in this series of memories of Australia!  


77 comments:

  1. Hi David.

    Beautiful Ducks and Birds will show you.
    Super beautiful.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  2. What a strange beak the avocet has! It's like a clamp!
    The Brown Falcon is also beautiful with its brown feathers!
    I thought that if I learn absolutely all the names in Latin and the variety of birds on your blog, I will become a famous ornithologist!
    You are a good teacher!

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    1. I will let you know the date for the exam!

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    2. When are you going to post the Random Memories of Australia part 10?
      Don't schedule the exam so fast!
      I must have received all the lessons about Australia ... professor David !!

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  3. Some beautiful birds there David, it's lovely to have the memories. The Lapwings we have here sound very similar in behaviour and their chicks just as cute!

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  4. Encore de beaux oiseaux, mais le poussin est vraiment trop mignon <3
    Bonne journée

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  5. Beautiful photoes David!!And what a funny Bill that avocet has!We have a bird here thats called Northern shoveler it also have a funny spoon like bill

    Nice to see your post today!

    Greetings !

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  6. They are all great shots David, and all the birds are so pretty. My favorite today must be White-plumed Honeyeater. It's a very beautiful bird.

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  7. Hello David,
    Another great post and a beautiful variety Australian birds and photos. I love all the birds you have shared. Take care, have a great day!

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  8. Great assortment of photos. I love seeing the shore birds, because they look similar to the ones here in Connecticut US. It's interesting how widespread certain species are.

    Also, I took some photos at the reservoir here, so if you get some time, can you please check my Female Mergansers post and my Possible Ring-necked Ducks post, to see if you can identify / confirm the bird types. Thanks!

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  9. Australia is Paradise both to humans and birds.
    There's a touch of elegance about the straw-necked Ibises and the red-necked Avocet.

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  10. Hari OM
    Every one another gem in your memory box! You really did well on that trip, David. YAM xx

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    1. If you get out and search, YAM, it's amazing what you can find!

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  11. Hi David,
    it's almost unbelievable how many different and interesting birds you're able to show us.
    I wonder how much time you've travelled through Australia to see and photograph all these different species. You could fill a book.

    Best regards, Corrie

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  12. Yet another great retrospective, David. I was more than a little impressed by that Masked Lapwing - what a strange (but attractive) bird!

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  13. Hi David – it’s wonderful how birds are named … the Straw-necked Ibis is one … The bright yellow masked lapwing, with its evolutionary spur, while the little one is delightful. The Red-Kneed Dotterell … and then the Red-necked Avocet – extraordinary bill.
    What a lovely name for a bird … the White-plumed Honeyeater … I hope on your next visit – you can find an art work. I heard today that the Eucalyptus tree is struggling … they didn’t know what it was … drought, disease, insect over-run …
    The Brown Falcon must have been wonderful to see, observe and watch in flight …
    Your knowledge and the photos are wonderful to read and think about – thank you … Hilary

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  14. What a rich variety in birds! The Masked Lapwing especially is a beautiful sight.

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  15. Buenas tardes amigo David, excelente viaje y muy buen inventario amigo, Australia es un paraíso donde estoy seguro que disfrutas de avistamientos espectaculares. Curiosa ave la Avoceta de cuello rojo, todo en la naturaleza tiene su justa medida.
    Gracias por mostrarnos y compartir tanta belleza.
    Un fuerte abrazo de tu amigo y compadre Juan.

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  16. Birds with a different outfit from Europe.

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  17. The Masked Lapwing is quite impressive and very pretty.

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  18. The world is filled with feathered enchantment. Thank you for featuring some of my country's contributions.

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  19. More great pictures of some wonderful birds. Love those ibises!

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  20. The straw necked ibis is so well named. And the avocet -- what a remarkable looking bird. Very handsome and I suspect one who could do some good damage with that beak! To see these birds in their native habitat had to be such a thrill.

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  21. You have the most amazing adventures! Wonderful memories, too!

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  22. I am struck by how much the Australian birds look like they evolved for the area.

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  23. Hi David,
    Fantastic birds! I love al of them! Beautifully captured as well!
    Stay save and take care
    Big hug,
    Maria

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  24. They're all beautiful and interesting.

    Love,
    Janie

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  25. Fabulous birds. Tomorrow I will be transferred to another clinic. Take care, hugs, Valerie

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  26. Wonderful shots. The avocet bill is quite unusual.

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  27. SO neat to see birds from different places and even hemispheres. Your photos are great!

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  28. Interesting and exclusive species of birds that you show us from that immense country, greetings David

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  29. The masked lapwing is well named and the avocet beak is quite something. Beautiful creatures all.

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  30. I can see why you'd like to go back to Australia!
    Fascinating post...even though I am new I can already say...as usual. :)

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  31. Una gran colección de pájaros, que he disfrutado viéndolo. Abrazos.

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  32. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog David. Your bird photography is awesome. Australia has some unusual birds, also unusual flora and fauna. A real paradise for a photographer.

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  33. Please squeeze out one more. These birds are fascinating. The masked lapwing is hard to believe.

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  34. Interesting post. I hope the birds retain their habitat. Here in USA, we breathe a sign of relief because the anti-environment folks are no longer in charge.

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  35. Good morning dear David,
    What a feast to the eyes to see all this beautiful birds. You have seen it in real. Must be fantastic. But you have beautiful photo´s of it.
    Have a wonderful day
    Marijke

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  36. Thanks for sharing photos of these wonderful birds! The curved bill of the Avocet is amazing!
    Have a wonderful day!

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  37. What beautiful species you had in front of the lens David.
    Beautiful to see, the Ibises are super beautiful.
    Greetings Tinie

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  38. Largos picos tienen ibis y la avoceta. Siempre descubrimos cuando llegamos aquí David
    Interesantes tus aves. Gracias.
    Buen jueves. Cuidaros.
    Un abrazo.

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  39. These are spectacular birds. Thank you for sharing them.

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  40. I'm familiar with ibis only in crossword puzzles, sadly. Look at those bills on the avocets! Is a treatment plant what I think it is. You did well with so many different birds whilst in Australia.

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    1. Glossy Ibis very rarely occurs in Ontario, Jocelyn, usually in the fall. White Ibis has occurred at least once, at Turkey Point, but you are unlikely to encounter ibises here with any degree of regularity. Various ibis species are widespread throughout the world, however. And yes, a treatment plant is what you think it is. Eau de sewer is perfume to a birder's nose!

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  41. Another incredible collection of images, David!

    How diverse Nature is! Your descriptions of each encounter along with fabulous photographs leaves no doubt how special Australia is.

    Again, thank you for sharing your memories!

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  42. Beautiful birds I’ve never seen and likely never will. Our American avocets are quite similar (the bill is less dramatic) but the rest would be quite a treat to add to my life list .... I can always dream!

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  43. I am enjoying seeing what we missed in Australia and as we are never likely to return... Love the little lapwing baby, cute ball of fluff. Keep well Diane

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  44. Querido amigo que curiosas y hermosas aves nos dejas hoy . Son realmente geniales. Las fotos son preciosas. Enhorabuena. Un enorme abrazo para ti y para Miriam.

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  45. You always come up with the most incredible photos of birds. I'm totally in awe.

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  46. You wrote "More fabulous birds from Australia!"

    Yippee I thought and I settled down to read and enjoy another lovely post.
    Thank you.

    All the best Jan

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  47. I never saw these kinds of birds....so beautiful.
    Red neck avocet is amazing...

    Great shots.... thank you for sharing.

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  48. Thanks David, that was a really informative post and I enjoyed learning more about those birds.

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  49. Yes, I agree... it's necessary to give the birds, the animals room in our nature around the World. By the way here on the river Lech, there are happens renaturation. And I'm very glad about.

    Thank you for sharing this interesting Post. There are so much wonderful birds. Never heard or seen before.

    Stay healthy. Have a good time.

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  50. I can't imagine that there could be more different birds in Australia than you have already shown us, but then, I know better as I have followed Stewart on Wild Bird Wednesday for years and he is forever introducing me to birds I have never even heard of. This was fun ... I love the Avocets and, as I spent many years volunteering at a Raptor Rehab Facility, I have a special love for your Brown Falcon. They are indeed agile as you said and quite capable of snatching away a morsel from a larger though less agile Hawk. This was a great group of birds and I will look forward to your last Australia post next week ...

    Andrea @ From the Sol

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  51. Hello David, again so wonderful what you have seen in Australia and show us in this post. That Masked Lapwing is realy intriguing and beautyful. Also the Brown Falcon is a wonderful bird. Again the photos are amazing and a joy to watch.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  52. Hello David,

    Awesome memories of your Australia trip and the gorgeous birds you were able to see. The photos are awesome! I may never visit Australia so I am happy to see your sightings! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post.! Take care, have a happy weekend! PS, thank you for the comment on my post.

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  53. Aussie birds are colourful - Thanks for the reminder !

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  54. An absolutely delightful series David. So many amazing birds and thank you so much for sharing them.

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  55. So many special and unknown (to me) birds!

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  56. Buen avistamiento de aves. La mayoría de ellos no los he visto nada más que en fotos.

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  57. Hi David, I've been absent from blogland and what a thrill to come back and see this post. When one is feeling a bit homesick, it's surprising how the sight of a familiar bird helps. First glimpse of the ibis and I was smiling, I don't know why they always cheer me up.

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    1. Welcome back, Pauline. I am happy to hear that this post helped to cheer you up. I will look forward to your next post.

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  58. I feel like those of us who try to share our love of wildlife are at least doing a little something for them.

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  59. hello David
    Part 9 is also a pleasure to look at these pictures.
    Greetings Frank

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  60. I have been enjoying these posts, David. Not many are birds local to where I live so I'm learning a lot from your comments.

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  61. I never heard of a red necked avocet...what a stunning bird! Have a glorious week ahead & thanks so much for linking up at IRBB this week!

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  62. Incredible shots, David!

    The birds are all so BEAUTIFUL!

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  63. Fond memories and experiences you are sharing with us... Thank you!

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  64. Lovely birds David. I had never heard of an avocet, they are quite exotic with that weird bill.

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  65. You've shared some wonderful photos and I hope you'll do another one. We love the Ibis here and it's neat to see this other one! Enjoy your weekend!

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  66. I can see why you would love the honeyeater. Very pretty. Your last post of the cedar waxwings was a joy to read also.

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  67. Hi David,
    During these days travelling by plane is no option at all. A lot cheaper is the way you are visiting Australia by looking at your pictures once again. No chance of polluting the air by travelling this way.
    Refreshing your memories of travels you made in the past is a smart thing to do. When the trip was unforgettable it is worth paying attention to it once more.
    Greetings, Kees

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  68. Hello Both,
    I only wish I had been more interested in nature when I visited these shores, instead I just played Rugby, that's the reason I require a new knee. Some wonderful birds and images.
    You both stay safe.
    John

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  69. Gohhhhh .... do you just see these beautiful ibises in the wild ??? How beautiful! The lapwing is also very special. You don't see them like that with us! Really very special. Wonderful to see that little one 😍 And you have red-necked avocets !!! I have never seen them and I think these are much more beautiful than the avocets that we have in the Netherlands. I'm really going to move hahahaha ....
    The White-plumed honey-eater is also so special and beautiful to see. And finally a beautiful brown falcon! I am really (healthy) jealous !!! Beautiful pictures.
    Sweet greetings and a hug.

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