And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Plight of Australian Birds

It's a sad story, one that is probably echoed in many places of the world, but one that is happening in Australia without many people even knowing about it. Unfortunately, I have seen it first hand in the Gascoyne and Murchison areas of Western Australia.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bar-tailed Godwit

This is a short video of one very hungry Bar-tailed Godwit feeding in some very deep soft mud.

These waders make a huge journey to arrive from the north to Perth for our southern summer. They make the longest known non-stop flight of any bird and also the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal, having been recorded to fly 11,680 kilometres (7,258 mi) along a route from Alaska to New Zealand.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rufous Treecreeper

A short video of Rufous Treecreepers (Climacteris rufa) filmed in Wandoo woodland east of Perth.

Australiasian Treecreepers belong to the family Climacteridae. The Australasian Treecreepers are a small family composed of 7 species in two genera (Cormobates, Climacteris). One species inhabits the mountains of New Guinea (Papuan Treecreeper Cormobates placens) and the rest are restricted to Australia. As the name suggests, this group fills the "creeper" niche in Australasia, working up the main trunks and branches of Australian woodlands.

Treecreepers forage for insects and other small creatures living on and under the bark of trees, mostly eucalypts, though several species also hunt on the ground, through leaf-litter, and on fallen timber. Unlike the Holarctic treecreepers they do not use their tail for support when climbing tree trunks, only their feet.

They resemble, but are not closely related to, the Holarctic treecreepers. There is some molecular support for suggesting that their closest relatives are the large lyrebirds.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Buff-banded Rail

This is a video of a beautiful Buff-banded Rail that came out of the reeds and began feeding near the edge of Herdsman Lake in Perth. These rails can be secretive and shy, especially at some of the inland WA lakes, but also very friendly at other places and when use to people, will pick up scraps of food under picnic tables.

Herdsman Lake is a good place for these rails and birding in general. My wife and I went for a walk at the lake on Saturday and recorded 56 bird species in about 2 hours, without really birding too hard.