Ospreys Are Back!

Osprey Nesting

Osprey Nesting

After a bit of a lull in activity, there’s suddenly lots of action around.  The best news is that the ospreys have nested again, in the same place as last time.  Most of last year’s nest had been blown away by storms so I wondered whether they’d choose somewhere else.  The nest already looks more robust than last year, so hopefully it might hold together better for them.  I don’t know how many eggs, if any, there are yet.  I’ll be back to take some more pictures next week.  Let’s hope they’re as successful as last year.

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo

A couple of months ago I saw a red-tailed black-cockatoo for the first time, but I couldn’t put a photo up because I didn’t have my camera with me at the time.  Then a couple of weeks ago, I saw a pair.  I watched them fairly close to for several minutes.  Getting a photo isn’t easy as they feed so high up and there are always twigs in the way.  Then I managed to get this shot when he took off, I was so pleased.

Breakfast time

Breakfast time

What a delight getting up has been this week.  This lovely tree is flowering. I open my curtains in the morning and see the rainbow lorikeets feeding, such a treat.

Grey Currawong

Grey Currawong

This is one of those birds that I’d never heard of until I saw it.  In fact, when I saw it I just assumed it was a magpie and didn’t notice it.  It was only when it squawked that I realised it was something different – a very strange sound.  So I got a picture (just), and looked it up when I got home.  I was camping at a place called Wave Rock at the time which is spectacular itself.  I know this is a bird blog but I’ll finish with a picture of the rock for anyone who’s never heard of it.

Wave Rock

Wave Rock

 

Birds Eye View

Osprey

Osprey     Getting a Birds Eye View

I haven’t posted for a few weeks because I haven’t been out very much, because of the rubbish weather.  It’s good for the region because it had been so dry for so long, and the birds don’t care, but I like the big blue sky and hope we get better weather soon.

The good news is that I see the ospreys regularly now, so I’m hoping that in a month or so they might nest again nearby.  The one above was less than a kilometre from the marina, on a fishing trip.

White-Winged Fairy-Wrens

White-Winged Fairy-Wrens

While I was trying to get a photo of the osprey, the fairy-wrens very kindly came to me.  The male’s breeding plumage is almost complete, but not quite.

Splendid Fairy-Wren

Splendid Fairy-Wren

I went to Yanchep National Park and the splendid Fairy-Wren was also putting on a show.

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

 

The water birds were out in force, including this spoonbill.  The spoonbill didn’t appear to be making a nest, but didn’t seem to want to give up his stick either.

 

 

 

Ducklings

Ducklings

 

 

It’s always a treat to see ducklings, and this mother had 15 tiny ducklings to care for.  I don’t know when they’d hatched but it must have been very recently.

 

Australian Shelducks

Australian Shelducks

 

 

The shelducks seemed happy to make the most of the break in the rain to sit and sun themselves on the rocks.

 

 

Pelican
Pelican

 

 

The pelican also seems to be happy to get the sun on his back for a while.  It’s raining again at the moment, fingers crossed for some sunshine and dry days next week.

 

Spring is in the Air

Black-Tailed Native-Hen

Black-Tailed Native-Hen

Spring is in the air again and the birds are back in huge numbers, many of them getting ready to breed.  Over 40 black-tailed native-hens were feeding on the lawns last time I went to Yanchep, and they aren’t nearly as shy now as they seemed a year ago.

Scarlet Robin

Scarlet Robin

 

 

This scarlet robin was eating a grub in the tree in front of me – the first time I’d ever seen one.

 

 

 

Scarlet Robin (female)

Scarlet Robin (female)

 

 

 

And here’s his partner, watching from a nearby branch.

 

 

Australian Shelduck

Australian Shelduck

 

This male Australian shelduck has his work cut out protecting 10 ducklings.  His partner was there too (out of shot) and he devoted a lot of time to chasing several ducks away from his family.  It hasn’t rained anywhere much as it should this winter but at least the lakes are full enough for the birds to swim now.

Pink-eared Duck

Pink-eared Duck

 

This pair of pink-eared ducks was at Herdsman Lake and managed to stay nearby for long enough for me to get a picture this time.

 

 

 

 

Little Corella

Little Corella

 

 

The winter rains have also allowed the grass to grow.  This corella wasn’t content with just plucking at the grass or roots, it set about digging a hole too.

 

 

The rains may not have filled the lakes, but they are looking much better than they did a month ago.

Loch McNess - Yanchep

Loch McNess – Yanchep

 

 

 

Heron

White-Faced Heron

White-Faced Heron

I see at least one heron on most of my walks by lakes and rivers and, until now, they’ve all been white-faced herons.  The one above was one of several at Heirisson Island.

White-faced Heron at Lake Joondalup

White-faced Heron at Lake Joondalup

 

 

This one perched on the board-walk at Lake Joondalup for ages, watching me while I watched him.

 

 

 

White-Necked Heron in Moore River

White-Necked Heron in Moore River

 

 

It’s annoyed me for ages that my husband and son saw this white-necked heron while they were out kayaking, but I had never seen one.  They aren’t as common as white-faced ones.

 

 

White-Necked Heron

White-Necked Heron

 

This weekend I was lucky enough to see 2 of them at a place I’d never visited before – Pipidinny swamp.

At Pipidinny Swamp

At Pipidinny Swamp

 

 

They seem much more shy than their white-faced cousins, and they’re quite a bit bigger.  They both flew off before I’d even seen them.  Luckily this one landed and let me creep close enough to get a photo.

 

When I looked on the Birdlife Australia sightings page, it turned out that lots of these Australian birds had arrived and been seen in the area recently.  It would be great if they could hang around for long enough for me to see them again and maybe get some pictures from a little closer.

Flying away

Flying away

Winter has Arrived

Wanderer Butterfly

Wanderer Butterfly

It took me a while to get used to the reversal of seasons having moved hemispheres, to think of July as winter and Christmas as being in summer, but I’m getting used to it now.  What I didn’t allow for was that not everything swapped with it.  For instance, I looked for lambs in spring, in September. Wrong.  And butterflies in summer. Wrong again.  A lot of what happens in spring in the UK actually happens in autumn or winter here.  In the summer, it’s so dry that food is sparse.  There aren’t many flowers and the grass dies off.  When it starts to cool down and then rain in autumn, the wildlife springs into action.

Lake Joondalup

Lake Joondalup

It’s started to rain regularly now.  Not much so far, but enough to cover most of Lake Joondalup.  And with it, many of the water-birds have returned.  Hundreds of ducks, along with shovelers and grebes were resting in the middle of the lake.

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

A spoonbill and a heron were making the most of the rain too.  They went into hiding with the arrival of several dogs playing, but I managed to get one picture of the spoonbill just in time.

Elegant Parrot Pair

Elegant Parrot Pair

The pair of elegant parrots were perching near to where I saw them a couple of weeks ago, in Franklin park.  I’m hoping that maybe they’ll hang around to breed there.  I also hope that one day they might sit a little bit closer to the fence so that I can get a clearer look.

There are some fairly spectacular spider webs around too at the moment.  This one was in Franklin Park.  I think it’s an orb-weaver (based on 5 minutes on google images), but I could be wrong.

Golden Orb-weaver (probably!)

Golden Orb-weaver (probably!)

 

We Need RAIN!

 

Where's the rain? Dried up Yanchep

Where’s the rain? Dried up Yanchep

We could really do with some rain now.  We’ve had just 44mm this year so far, and most of that was in a couple of heavy downpours.  The lakes at Yanchep and Joondalup have all but dried up and the water birds have taken the huff.  A lot of them have simply upped sticks and gone south closer to Perth where the lakes are still watery.

Herdsman Lake

Herdsman Lake

So this week I took my bike down to Herdsman and cycled there one morning, and found all the missing birds.

Daft Spoonbill

Daft Spoonbill

 

 

The biggest treat was finding this spoonbill.  I’ve seen them before, but this is the first time I’ve been close enough to get a good picture.  I didn’t realise until now just quite how daft they look.

 

Male Hardhead

Male Hardhead

 

 

New bird!  I also saw this – a hardhead.  I’d never even heard of one before but there were several there.

 

 

Egret by the road

Egret by the road

 

One of the stranger sights was this egret walking along the edge of the cycle path – right next to the dual carriage-way.

I counted over 20 glossy ibis together, along with several teals.  Thanks to the people at Birdlife Australia we managed to get the teals identified as grey ones.  There’s a picture of the teals and ibis at the bottom.

 

 

Kookaburra

Kookaburra

 

 

There were plenty of very Australian birds out too.  Kookaburra, black swan and willie-wagtail all out and about.

 

 

Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

 

I’ll have to learn to pay more attention to the ‘Caution – Snake Habitat’ signs.  Fortunately my friend managed to say ‘watch it – snake’ before I stood on the tiger snake.  I wasn’t in the rough grass.  It was just in the very short , mown, green lawn by the visitor centre.  And it was barely even visible as it slithered away, managing to stay under the grass somehow.

 

The clouds have been gathering for a couple of weeks now, and the humidity has been up at over 90% for a lot of the time, so maybe the rain will arrive soon.  And maybe a few more of the birds will return.

Glossy Ibis and Grey Teal

Glossy Ibis and Grey Teal

Night Heron

Night Heron in Flight

Night Heron in Flight

Last week’s post ended with a fairly rubbish picture of a night heron.  They’re still around here at the moment and I’ve seen them a couple of times since.

Night Heron

Night Heron

Sometimes, the first one or two to arrive sit and wait for the others on this aerial before heading to the water.
night heron tree

 

Perching Tree

Perching Tree

night heron 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landing in this tree at dusk, they look like they’re getting ready to roost. They aren’t, they’re preparing for fishing.  Do I have any photos of that? No, because by then it’s too dark for me to get a photo of anything at that distance, so you’ll just have to imagine.

3 Flying

3 Flying

Seabirds

Pacific Gull and Little Black Cormorant

Pacific Gull and Little Black Cormorant

Marina

Marina

 

Today the weather was perfect for an early start in the kayaks, so we had a trip around the marina and along the coast.  There were plenty of seabirds around.  Because we were on the water, I only had my little camera, so not very good for distance shots of birds.

Young Osprey

Young Osprey

 

 

The best thing this morning was seeing one of the young ospreys for the first time since they left hte nest a few weeks ago.

 

 

Osprey Mum

Osprey Mum

 

 

Mum kept a close eye from a nearby lookout – you can see her on the aerial on the roof.

 

 

Osprey nest

Osprey nest

 

 

 

Here’s a view of the nest from on the water.  You get a good view of the sculpture that it was built in.

 

Fishing Practice

Fishing Practice

 

 

 

 

And here the youngster is perched on a mast, looking closely for fish.

osprey call  Click on ‘osprey call’ and hopefully you’ll be able to see and hear it.  The young osprey was constantly calling to Mum during its training session.

Crested Terns

Crested Terns

 

 

There were several families of crested terns by the boats.

 

 

 

Female Darter

Female Darter

 

 

 

There was a family of Australasian Darters out.   This is the female.

 

 

Young Darter

Young Darter

 

 

 

 

Young darter.

 

Night Heron

Night Heron

 

 

 

I’ve also seen several night herons by the marina this week.  This is the best picture I’ve managed.  The problem is that I see them when it’s dark.  They are too far away to use a flash, so all the pictures were a bit dark and blurry.  Hopefully I’ll get a better one before they leave the area.

Pied cormorants

Pied cormorants

Little Egret

Little Egret Fishing

Little Egret Fishing

This week little egrets have been visiting Lake Joondalup – the first time I’ve seen them there.  I’ve seen one or two in the distance since I’ve been in Oz, but this was the first time I’ve seen them fairly close to.

Little Egret

Little Egret

 

Maybe they’re here because so many lakes have now dried up after the long summer.  I counted 15 great egrets too.  So, how do you tell the difference between them?  Obviously the ‘great’ is bigger than the ‘little’, but that’s not much use if they aren’t standing conveniently together.  The best way is the beak colour.  The great egret has a yellow beak, the little egret has a beak which is mainly black with a bit of yellow at the top where it meets the eyes.

 

Little Egret

Little Egret

 

They have an interesting fishing technique.  Their ‘Great’ cousins stand dead still, watching the water, then dive their heads in when they see their food.  The lillte egrets do a very graceful ‘dance’ over the water.  little hops and flaps, and tapping the water surface with their feet.

 

Little Egrets at Lake Joondalup

Little Egrets at Lake Joondalup

Unfortunately, they don’t do a very good job of posing.  Firstly, they stand on the side of the lake which guarantees that the sun is behind them, so nearly all photos are in silhouette.  Secondly, they like to wade to the areas which are hidden from the path by trees.  I know they’re there, but can’t get to them.  This picture was taken from quite a distance from the wooden walkway, but there was no way of getting nearer – very frustrating.

 

Little Egrets

Little Egrets

 

About Tern

Fishing Tern

Fishing Tern

You’ve no idea how long it’s possible to spend thinking up bad tern puns (taking terns, one good tern deserves another etc etc.)  If you know much about terns please feel free to help me identify the mystery tern and correct any that I’ve mistaken in this post, because many look so similar.

Feeding time

Feeding time

 

These pictures were taken a couple of weeks ago on Penguin Island.  The majority of the terns there are crested terns.  The most amazing and chaotic site and sight was on the far side of the island, where I found a nursery.  Literally hundreds of crested tern chicks scuttling around in what looked like a herd.

 

Tern Coming in to land

Tern Coming in to land

 

 

The adults were flying in with fish in their beaks and then flying over the nursery looking for their young.  All the chicks were shouting at once.

 

 

 

Fish Stealing

Fish Stealing

 

 

The other adults, including plenty of gulls, would try and steal the fish before the parent found its young.Those that managed to get a fish as far as the ground were then surrounded by birds all wanting to have a share.

 

Dinner time

Dinner time

 

This youngster had managed to catch his own lunch.

 

 

 

 

Bridled Tern

Bridled Tern

 

 

There were also plenty of bridled terns, with a horizontal black line across the eye.  Not very shy and would let me get really close.

 

 

Fairy Tern

Fairy Tern

 

 

This one’s a fairy tern, much smaller than the crested terns. I only saw a couple of them compared to hundreds of crested terns.

 

Mystery Tern

Mystery Tern

 

 

And here’s my mystery tern.  Red coloured beak, but dark legs. Caspian Tern? Should have black on its beak.  Lesser Crested Tern?  Doesn’t live in that area acording to my book.  Roseate Tern? Should have red legs then to match its beak.  Arctic tern?  Wrong coloured legs and shouldn’t land on Penguin Island.  So, my best guess is Caspian Tern, but hopefully someone will be able to identify it for certain.

Tern nusery

Tern nusery