Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 209 - Shoveler

You can get yourself into all kinds of trouble if you start talking about what bird is your favourite - and if I had to wade into the pool of troubled water, the Shoveler would be very near the top of my list.

The Shoveler or Northern Shoveler depending on mood and geographic location is a splendid duck with a huge beak (or bill!) that never fails to bring a smile to my face.  They sit low in the water, and this sunken look and that huge beak make them easy to spot, even at a distance. Lucky this bird, which was seen from the Loons Hide on Orkney, was not too distant.

The Shoveler (Anas clypeata) is wide spread in the Northern Hemisphere - and we have a similar species in Australia, which, one day, I hope will feature in WBW.

I am struggling with comments at present.  I'll keep posting until the fog clears - with a priority for WBW.  Cheers SM.

Click the blue button and off you go.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Burwick Church, Orkney

Another really busy week - so here are a few images of Burwick Church on South Ronaldsay, Orkney.  I wonder what the average congregation is?

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

Friday, 22 July 2016

Hot Air

Inspired by politicians of all persuasions - hot air drifting on the wind, with little real control and a good deal of expense.  And I am sure, from up there everything looks fine and dandy!

You can find more sky shots at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 208 - Grey Shrike-Thrush

Back on home turf for this weeks WBW.

I think everyone has birds that they have trouble seeing - or in this case photographing.  I have struggled (with no good reason) to get anything resembling decent pictures of Grey Shrike-Thrush.  This is not because it is rare, or lives in the depths of a dark and dismal swamps with not light, its just that I did not seem to get decent pictures of this species.

So, when I was out for a morning wander at The Prom a couple of weeks ago I was pleased to encounter this bird.  I think it may have been looking for food from me, as it was hopping around a BBQ area.  I had to disappoint it!

The Grey Shrike-Thrush (Colluricincla harmonica) is about 22-26 cm long and its behaviour (at least on the ground) reminds me of a Song Thrush or a Blackbird.  The common name is a great example of one that makes no real sense, as the bird in neither Shrike nor Thrush.  However, in this case I can see the similarity to Thrushes, and the "shrike" bit comes from the birds powerful beak.  The 'harmonica' part of the formal name refers to the birds musical ability - which is very high.  I always think of the word 'silver' when I hear their ringing call.

One of the reasons I like this bird is that it manages to be magnificent without being colourful.

You may not be surprised to find out that you can join in with WBW by clicking on the blue button below!  SM

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Eastern Grey Kangaroo - Wilsons Promontory

One of the reasons I love going to The Prom in the winter is that the wildlife seems to be a bit more visible - and humans are often few and far between.  Thats the kind of place I like.

I took a later afternoon / early evening drive while I was down there and happened upon the group of young Eastern Grey Kangaroos.  They were rather obliging!

Not too many places in the world this could be really!

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

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 207 - Lapwing

This week continues the theme of birds that rely on damp grasslands for breeding.  As a kid I would have called these birds Peewits and they were a (reasonably) common sight on ploughed fields and on the permanent grasslands on the Mendips.  Today, they are not so abundant.

Technically I think these birds are now called Northern Lapwings, and enjoy a double barrelled scientific name - Vanellus vanellus.

You may not be surprised to find out that these pictures were taken on Orkney in Scotland.

You may also not be surprised to find out that you can join in with WBW by clicking on the blue button below!  SM  (As ever I an dreadfully behind with comments.)

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Black Wallaby / Swamp Wallaby

A slice of pure Australiana this week - these are Black Wallabys, or as I was introduced to them Swamp Wallabys.

These are a solitary wallaby that I tend to see the rear of more often than the front - they are a wee bit shy and tend to bounce off at the slightest sound.  The first set of shot show how effective a car can be as a hide (blind) when photographing wildlife.  The first three pictures were taken at Wilsons Prom.

I think that the second animal has become used to people as it was loitering near the edge of a woodland carpark near Kinglake.  In fact, this second animal may be unwell, as it had a large growth on the right side of its face (which I have chosen not to show).

I also suspect that this large dark animal may be source of many of the 'big cat' reports the surface from time to time in Victoria.

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

Friday, 8 July 2016

More Orkney Skies

Ah the joy of the first day back at work after a break.  By mid-morning I had lost all hope of ever seeing the sky again!  Oh well, there is always the next trip to look forward to, and the one after that to plan!

And there are always photographs as well.

These are some more Orkney skies.  They were all taken near Maeshowe on the mainland island.  As you can see, the place was descending into traffic chaos!

Maeshowe is a Neolithic chambered cairn and passage grave. It was probably built around 2800 BCE.  When you stand inside it, you get help but wonder what the term 'primitive society' really means - it also tends to make me think that much of what I thought I knew about the Stone Age is wrong!  Off to the bookshop I go!

You can find more sky shots at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 206 - Fulmar

For me, the Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) is the archetypal cliff-top bird.  As a kid I nerd saw birds like Puffins or Razorbills - but I do have clear memories of seeing Fulmar.   I can never see them now without thinking of the phrase 'I can't bend my wings' as I see their wonderful 'stiff-winged' flight as being the easiest way of separating them from gulls.

These pictures were all taken at or around Marwick Head on the Mainland Island of Orkney.  The birds are related to Albatros and are part of the 'tube nose' group of birds.  You can see the tube noses in some of these pictures.

Compared to some of my recent posts, this bird is doing reasonably well, and is expanding its breeding range.

You can join in with WBW by clicking on the blue button below.  SM

Monday, 4 July 2016

A week at The Prom

Wilsons Promontory is the southern most part of the state of Victoria - it sticks out into Bass Straight, pointing at Tasmania - the largest remaining part of a land bridge that once connect the mainland to the southern state.  Whenever I go to the Prom, I am struck by the though that people were once able to walk to Tasmania, and that this land bridge has flooded during this history of Australia's occupation.  Climate Change anybody?

We had a mix of weather - and this produced a mix of pictures.

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