Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 231 - Rainbow Bee-eater

Seeing Bee-eaters at any time is a real treat, and when I was out and about around Darwin we saw them most days.  This species is the Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus), and it is the only species of Bee-eater found in Australia.  This bird has a distinctive 'triangular' shape in flight, which makes it easy to identify when flying.

The bird in this post was hunting for insects on the edge of Yellow Water in Kakadu.  Watching this bird in wonderful evening light made it look even better than normal - although I am sure that the insects would disagree.  This bird was actively hunting and would return to one of two branches to eat what it had caught.  This Bee-eater was not being true to form by catching and eating a dragonfly.  The bird would smack the (large) insects it caught on the branch it was sitting a number of times before swallowing them.  As you can see, the head of this rather unfortunate dragonfly has become detached from its body before it is eaten!

Well, this is the last WBW for 2016 - so lets make an effort to make as big as possible!  Pass on the link, encourage friends and relative to visit and link up and lets see how it goes.  As ever, click the blue button to join in!  All Welcome.  Here's to 2017 and the possibility of hope!  SM

Tuesday, 27 December 2016


Hope you all had a relaxed Christmas.  I know somebody who did!

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 230 - Rufous Owl

This week must be the closest I have come to not being able to post a WBW!  Running a four day workshop in Indonesia, dealing with jet-lag and the (almost enjoyable) demands of a family Christmas almost flooded the banks of my possibility this week.  But here I am - 1 hour and 40 minutes out from Wednesday, setting up a post knowing full well that I have not replied to any comments from last week!

Christmas should be a time for tolerance, and maybe thats what I need!

So, now that the begging is over I will introduce this week's bird.  These are  Rufous Owls (Ninox rufa) and the picture were taken in the botanic garden in Darwin.  There are two birds in this post - the  bird doing the 'wing yoga' behind the leaves is a different bird to the one sitting in the open.  This species of bird is only found in the north of Australia - and this was the last new bird I saw on my trip 'up north'.  It was a remarkable way to end a week of birding.

This bird is abut 45 to 50 cm long, and is to say the least impressive.

As you can see, the second bird was a little more cooperative than the the first!

I like to wish all WBWers a happy time over the next weeks - in the coming year(s) I suspect that the natural world is going to need all the advocates it can find.

So, click the blue button and off you go - and with luck I'll be able to find the time to visit you all and reply to the backlog of comments!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 229 - Brolga

This is a bird that I have wanted to photograph for a while - the Brolga. The Brolga (Grus rubicunda) is a crane in the same genus as the Sandhill Crane and the Common Crane.

These birds - which I assume were a pair - we feeding on the banks of Yellow Water in Kakadu. This species of bird is famous for its mating dance - and I'd love to see that as well. These bird stand over 1m tall and can have a wing span of greater than 2m.

These birds can be found across northern Australia and down the east of the country.

Now it's over to you - click on the blue button and off you go!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

On the Low Down / The sound of Summer

I found this Green Grocer, a type of cicada, walking about outside our house this week.  These insects are capable of making a very sound noise - and a certain well known web based encyclopaedia claims that they are the loudest insects in the world.  Thankfully this guy was taking a break from its ear splitting routine.

After a few shots, it became clear that the only way I was going to get a decent shot was to lie flat on my stomach in front of it!

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Evening on Yellow Waters

A cruise on Yellow Water in Kakadu National Park is a justifiably famous activity.  Still waters, moon, sky colours, magpie geese.  Remarkable.

You can find more skies at Sky Watch Friday.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 228 - White-Bellied Sea-Eagle

The busiest of busy times is upon us!  This weeks WBW will be necessarily brief.

This is a White-Bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and for once the scientific name means the same thing as its common name.  Oh, the wonderful symmetry of it all!

This bird - which has a wing span of about 2m - was sitting in a dead tree on the banks of Yellow Water in Kakadu National Park.  It refused to do much other than open and close its eyes as we watched it.  According to one of my guide books, in flight this bird has the 'look of a huge butterfly' - I have to say that would be an impressive butterfly!

This species of eagle is found all over Australia except for the interior - which of course does not have any sea!

Later on the same evening I found this bird (or its mate) in a rather scenic pose on a different dead tree.  I rather like the sunset images I was able to take.

Now it's over to you - click on the blue button and off you go!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Magnetic Termite Mounds

These are Magnetic Termite Mounds.  The remarkable thing about these mounds is that they line up (more or less) with magnetic north.  The thin axis of the mound points North/ South, which means the flat sides face east and west.

It is thought that this helps with the temperature regulation of the mounds - in the hottest part of the day, when the sun is to the North or South of the mounds, only a thin section is presented to the sun.  In the cooler parts of the day - dawn and dusk - the mounds collect sunlight on a wide face.  Simple, but elegant.

These mounds are at a well know location in the Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Blue, White and bit of Orange

I suppose this is a sky - but it's also a Cattle Egret!

This picture was taken on Yellow Water, Kakadu in the Northern Territory.

You can find more skies at Sky Watch Friday.