GALAH (Cacatua roseicapilia)

This year, every time I think about giving up Photography (due to deteriorating health, eyesight and being more housebound), I have a great hour or two outdoors and manage to capture some new images to share.

Yesterday was one such day.

I walked extra slowly to the local medical centre for my appointment and passed the small park, (which is merely a grassy area about the size of a soccer field), under brilliant blue winter skies and a smattering of fluffy white clouds rushing across the blue expanse.   The wind was actually very fierce indeed.

While brilliant warm early afternoon sunshine makes for a lovely walk for some folk in mid-winter, it is not necessarily great for the amateur photographer.   It’s almost impossible for me to see well through the viewfinder in that bright glare, but I did have my lightweight Sony ‘mirrorless’ camera in a bag over my shoulder ‘just in case‘ anyway.

Depending on the weather after my appointment, I had thought about catching a bus down to the river and a walk around the Maribyrnong Wetlands pond.  The bus stop is about 20 feet from the pond so it is one of the few wetlands, or nature reserves, really close to public transport (and my home).

To my delight, (and I had allowed a whole hour to do the 10 minute walk 😀 ), I spied 12-15 Galahs grazing on my side of the stretch of grass.   Last time I’d seen them in mid June, I didn’t have a camera with me.

 

This time I stood still for a while and gradually crept up to where they had their heads down, greedily pecking away at the low rich green grass surface.

Every time one of the richly coloured pink and grey birds lifted their head and casually glanced my way, I stood stock-still as a tree trunk.

I’m good at that.

I TRIED TO GET A SHOT OF THE FLOCK AS 2 MORE LANDED, BUT MISSED THE SHOT AND CHOPPED THEIR LANDING OFF IN THE UPPER LEFT OF THE IMAGE. DID I TELL YOU THE LIGHT WAS BRILLIANT AND I COULDN’T SEE THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER VERY WELL?

Then I’d take another step or two and stand perfectly still again. I eventually managed to get to about 10 feet away from their grazing patch.

Great flocks of Galahs are very common in the countryside in Australia and found even far inland where there are vast plains and low-lying scrub or desert.

ALL OF A SUDDEN, AND WITHOUT ANY WARNING THEY ALL TOOK OFF AND OF COURSE I MISSED THAT SHOT TOO.

They’re a large and very distinctive cockatoo with back and tail pale grey with darker wingtips, neck and underparts a striking pale pink.   In some light, it’s more a bright pink as you can see in my images.

The immature birds have a greyer breast.

Gregarious, often noisey and usually feeding territorially, their voice is a distinctive high-pitched ‘chee chee’ screech.

I think they’re beautiful and being an urban dweller in a suburb west of Melbourne city, I rarely see them in my area, just in that one spot on a small field of grass.   I love to watch them down on the ground or flying round in ever increasing circles looking for another patch to graze on when disturbed.

They may be common as mud in the countryside, but to me, they’re a Treat!

THE FLOCK LANDED ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FIELD AND I DECIDED TO JUST KEEP WALKING AS MY APPOINTMENT TIME HAD NEARLY ARRIVED AND I WOULD BE LATE IF I DETOURED FURTHER.

I’ll have to do another post (of the water birds at the pond) later as I have to go out for another appointment today, this time via taxi, but as it’s sunny at the moment (despite the forecast rain), I might just take the camera outdoors again……….‘just in case’ 🙂

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BLACK-NECKED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus)

BLACK-NECKED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus)

The Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) is huge, often known as Jabiru.

The adult is unmistakable, with white body contrasting black flight feathers, back and tail, and iridescent purplish neck and head.  The black beak is massive.  The legs are long and bright red, although the colour seems to vary in my old photo folder.   Seems to be more of an orange colour, but I suppose that is the Auto White Balance setting I used back in the day I shot these photos.   A couple of the images in this post seem to be on a warmer White Balance Setting (as you’ll notice).

BLACK-NECKED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus)

Eyes are dark in the male and yellow in the female.  The immature bird is brown above paling to whitish below, beak and legs grey.  Apparently the voice has deep booms with the beak clappering and to be honest, I can’t remember this sound from my many Zoo visits, (where the images below were made in the enormous Great Aviary).

I’ve never seen it in the wild, with it being found predominantly in the far north, or far north-eastern, areas of Australia.  But in re-booting my nature blog and starting a proper bird index of the 101 (errr……probably more like 110) bird species I’ve photographed in parks, nature reserves, Royal Botanic Gardens and Melbourne Zoo, its forms part of the list.

I think I’m up to about 40 birds I’ve shared and listed in the right-hand column of this page, so there are quite a few more species to share from my archives in future posts.

I found it a little difficult to find a really sharply focused image in my old iPhoto folder this morning, so I’ve uploaded an array of images hoping that some of them will be clear enough to see some of the feather colours and details.

Twice I’ve seen what I presume is a mating display (?) or aggressive display (?) between 2 of these stunning birds, but not being familiar with the movie/video features of my camera didn’t know how to capture it.

It was well worth seeing 🙂

 

BUFF-BANDED RAIL (Gallirallus philippensis)

I’ve never seen a Buff-banded Rail, (or any other Rail for that matter), in the wild, but viewing it in The Great Aviary at Melbourne Zoo reveals it might be hard to see in long grass anyway.

It looks similar (to me) to the Lewin’s Rail (Rallus pectorals) in my Photographic Field Guide Birds in Australia (by Jim Flegg), but the Lewin’s Rail seems to have a longer beak.  I do so hope I’ve got the identification of the bird in this post, correct.

This bird is found locally in Newells Paddock Nature Reserve, only a bus/walk away from my home, so hopefully, when I get back to nature walks, I’ll have an opportunity to search for it.

In the meantime, here’s a few old images from the zoo made 4-5 years ago.

Buff-Banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis)

It’s a medium-large Rail with a distinctive white head (ehrrrrr…..in most of my shots it looks brown 🙂 ), stout sharp brownish beak, dark crowns, prominent white supercilious over chestnut cheeks, and grey throat.

It rarely flies and has long grey legs.  These images were made from an overhead boardwalk in the Aviary which is about 15 feet above the ground, so most images were made from that angle/height.

This bird is mostly active at dusk and I’ve seen it only rarely on my many zoo visits in the past.  I suspect this is partly due to its excellent camouflage (as much as my zoo visits were during early afternoon).

Found in many of the coastal areas of Australia, apparently it squeaks, clicks, croaks and has a raucous bray – not like my usual local bird life who bring sweet music to my ears regularly each day now, with the Superb Fairy-wren having the cutest song in the cooler mornings.

Of course we’re in to Summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

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My days seem so busy with health matters in recent months, I haven’t had much time to devote to my blog(s) and Photography, but then I was trying to reduce my computer time anyway.

I’ve downsized my balcony garden (and not replaced my much-used herbs and other green veggies in anticipation of surgery and not being able to water the garden) – the garden was getting too big anyway.  I’ll replant and redesign next Spring. I had to re-arrange several pieces of furniture in my tiny studio-style apartment yesterday and today, (to allow a tradesman with a ladder to measure & quote for window UV film next week), and a host of Spring cleaning tasks I don’t normally do.

I did a massive cleanup of the bird poop on my balcony which I had neglected.  Had to rearrange some kitchen cupboard contents as it’s too painful to twist at the moment.  We had a dust storm in Melbourne  last week, and dust has got into the most surprising of places indoors, necessitating extra housework too.

Melbourne’s weather is predictably UN-predictable and who knows whether it will be hot or cold for Christmas/New Year.

Gosh, it might even snow as it did in August 1849, July 1882 and 1951, OR a tornado (like February 1918) or other freaks storms as in February 2005.  I think the whole world’s weather patterns have been extreme to say the least. 

In the meantime, it’s still mainly images from my archives that you’ll see on my nature blog.

Bird images are the easiest as they are well filed in my old iPhoto library.  Flowers a little less so.  But each time I view the old photo folders I do a tiny bit of culling, re-editing and re-filing, so it has been a useful exercise.