I’ve never been able to tell the difference between a Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos) and a Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) as I’ve never seen them together to observe that the Little Pied Cormorant is a fair bit smaller.  A bird watcher on last Friday’s walk gave me the clue. A Pied Cormorant’s beak is hooked at the tip. Apparently they’re both seen along this river, together with the Little Black Cormorant and the Great Cormorant (also black, but larger).  The image above is definitely the Little Pied Cormorant.

I saw the Pied Cormorant on a rock near the bank of the river approximately here (just before I go under the bridge to reach Newell’s Paddock Wetlands and Nature Reserve)

I don’t why these Cormorants try to hide from me, because my ‘distance’ glasses, which I use all the time now, give me excellent vision for spotting birds at a long distance. It’s close-up that I have a problem. Note: my reading glasses which were pretty useless anyway, kept breaking at the hinge of the side frame.  After the 4th time (and the 4th lot of $70 to fix them), I gave up.  Wish I could still wear my old multi-focal contact lenses – they would have been perfect for photography. 

 

I wasn’t going to share this photo of the Great Egret in the Wetlands because it was so far away and I was having trouble holding my heavy long telephoto lens still (after my long walk along the river path to get to the Wetlands).  You can’t see much feather detail.  But soon after this shot the Park Ranger came up to chat and I never ended up getting my tripod out of its bag.  But the Park Ranger did mention another gate along the fence on the other side of the Wetlands, so I’ll check it out next visit as for the most part, I was looking into the sun trying to photograph birds on this downriver side of the Wetlands.

Not ideal at all.

 

AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCKS (Chenonetta jubata) – male in the foreground with the brown head and female (with the stripe above and below the eye) in the background.

On the way to Newell’s Paddock (via the river cycling/walking path) last Friday, I came across a pair of Australian Wood Ducks (Chenonetta jubata) dozing in the sun on a tiny jetty.  I walked up behind them quite close and fully expected them to fly away, but they didn’t.

Both opened and closed their eyes from time to time to keep an eye on me.

Then I slowly walked up to about 3 feet behind them.  They were one very tame couple.

Absolutely amazing and I felt really honoured to be allowed to observe them so closely.

By the way, the image below shows what superb weather Melbourne is having at the moment.  Even Melbourne’s ever present wind has died down in recent days.  The Park Ranger I was talking to in Newell’s Paddock Conservation and Wetlands Reserve was telling me we are going to have a very dry winter here in Melbourne.  This does not bode well for the flora and fauna, either now or next Summer.

 But for the time being, at least its great outdoor walking weather for me.