A Migratory Shorebird

The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata) is a small to medium wader, with a body length from 17cm to 22cm. It has a wingspan of 36 to 44 centimetres and weighs in at 65 grams. These small birds breed in northern Siberia, then before the harsh Arctic winter sets in, migrate to spend time in the Australian summer. They mostly end up in south-east Australia.

During the non-breeding season, most of the world’s population of the Sharp-tailed Sandpipers occur in Australia.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
(Calidris acuminata)

The above photo was taken at the end of October. It was my first sighting of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper for this approaching summer. I only observed the one bird at this time.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata)

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata)

 

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
(Calidris acuminata)

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
(Calidris acuminata)

This morning, I returned to Lake Colac and was pleasantly surprised to see that the numbers of the Sharp-tailed Sandpipers had increased. There were about 12 or 13 birds feeding on this short section of shoreline – about 50 metres in length.

These waders will depart the non-breeding grounds of Australia in April next year. They will be one of the first waders to leave.

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Spotted Pardalote

At 8 – 10cms in length, the Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) is one of Australia’s smallest birds. Over the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to take many photographs of this beautiful bird.

Spotted Pardalote

Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus)

The male bird is easily identified by its bright colours and white spots. So far, I have only seen the female fleetingly. She did not sit still long enough for a photo. The female Spotted Pardalote has yellow spots.

Spotted PardaloteSpotted Pardalote

The Spotted Pardalote is also called the Diamond Bird or Jewellery Bird.

Spotted PardaloteSpotted Pardalote

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Breeding Season

I have a pair of Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) resident in my backyard. Over the past few weeks, I have taken a series of photographs of the transformation of the male bird as he changes into his breeding colours.

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Male Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)

The above photo shows the male bird in eclipse plumage. Other than his brighter blue tail and his black bill, for the winter he looks much like his female mate.

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Female Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)

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Start of the moult – Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)

Within a few days of my first photo, the start of the moult was evident.

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Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus)

As the days go by, his breeding colours become more evident.

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Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus)

In this photo the moult is complete. He proudly wears his full breeding colours.

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Nature at Agnes Water

Recently I spent a few days at Agnes Water in Central Queensland. Agnes Water is a coastal town just south of the Tropic of Capricorn, so it is an ideal place to escape the harsh winter of my part of Australia.

The following photos are just a few of the species I encountered in the natural world of Agnes Water.

 

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Australian Monitor Lizard – commonly known as a Goanna

Our holiday accommodation faced east, and was high up on a hill, so watching the sunrise each morning was a delight.

 

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Sunrise at Agnes Water

This Australasian Figbird (Sphecotheres vieilloti) was enjoying her breakfast in a nearby, well, fig tree.

 

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Australasian Figbird
Sphecotheres vieilloti

As I stood on the veranda, waiting to see which birds would appear, my attention was drawn to this Brown House Spider (Steatoda sp) backlit by the early morning sun.

 

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Brown House Spider
Steatoda sp

 

 

When I saw this Grevillea in a local park, I knew it would not be long before one of the many Blue-faced Honeyeaters (Entomyzon cyanotis) appeared.

 

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Grevillea

 

 

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Blue-faced Honeyeater 
Entomyzon cyanotis

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Backyard Birds

Of all the birds that visit my backyard, the Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans) would outnumber them all. During our recent bouts of bad weather, I have kept myself amused by pointing my lens towards these birds as they came to feed. It was a good opportunity to highlight the birds in their different plumages at different stages of immaturity.

Crimson Rosella

Adult Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

Crimson Rosella

Adult Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

Crimson Rosella

Immature Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

In the above photo, this Juvenile/Immature Crimson Rosella was intent on protecting his place in the queue to gain access to the feeding bowl.

Crimson Rosella

Immature Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

Crimson Rosella

Immature Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

Crimson Rosella

Immature Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

Crimson Rosella

Immature Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

Crimson Rosella

Immature Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

This pair of birds at the feeding bowl are almost, but not quite, at the same stage of immaturity.

Crimson Rosella

Immature Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

Crimson Rosella

Immature Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

The above Crimson Rosella is almost at full adult plumage.

Crimson Rosella

Adult Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

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Pied Cormorants

A pair of Pied Cormorants (Phalacrocorax varius) were basking in the sunshine at  Jawbone Reserve on a chilly winter’s day.

 

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Pied Cormorants
(Phalacrocorax varius)

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Paisley Challis Wetlands

The Paisley Challis Wetlands is one of five significant sites in Hobsons Bay that provide important habitat for a large number of migratory and resident shorebirds.

Created in 2003, by restructuring the Paisley and Challis stormwater drains to form a series of wetland tidal ponds. These ponds with reeds filter out the urban pollutants to provide valuable habitat for local flora and fauna.

 

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Tidal filtration pool – Supporting spoonbills and other waterbirds

 

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Royal Spoonbills roosting
(Platalea regia)

 

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Paisley Drain

 

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Paisley Drain – View from the footbridge

 

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Plaque

 

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White-faced Heron 
(Egretta novaehollandiae)
Paisley-Challis Wetlands

The White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) was well hidden behind that bush (above photo). I only saw it when it moved his head and, out of the corner of my eye, noticed its white face.

 

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White-faced Heron
(Egretta novaehollandiae)
With its catch at the Paisley-Challis Wetlands

 

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White-faced Heron
(Egretta novaehollandiae)
Enjoying its catch at the Paisley-Challis Wetlands

 

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A pair of Royal Spoonbills 
(Platalea regia) – in a tidal filtration pool

 

Pacific Black Duck

Pacific Black Ducks
(Anas superciliosa)
swimming in the Paisley Drain, Paisley Challis Wetlands

 

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Sign

 

 

 

Please Note:
I am the copyright holder of all photographs that appear on this blog. These images are protected by copyright laws and all rights are reserved. To purchase a print please contact me by leaving a comment below with your order and contact details. I will then get back to you.