In recent years with the development of large sewerage systems in most cities, sewerage setting ponds have become the new habitat for many native water fresh water birds in Australia. In fact, several rare species can be found in these seldom visited places, such as these Blue-billed Ducks. In some cities lovely nature reserves and picnic areas have been established around the waters from sewerage ponds, creating a tourist attraction and recreation areas for families and birders. Laratinga Wetlands Centre in the Adelaide Hills SA is a great example of how local councils have produced award winning facilities using sewerage ponds as a feature. Settling ponds do not stink, but are full of nutrients which assist the growth of water weeds which the ducks eat. If you are a birder, sewerage settling ponds are excellent places to check for water birds.
It is a birders delight to spot this extremely elusive bird, and even more delightful to capture clear images of it. The above male and female Blue-billed duck were taken from some distance. My wife would walk around the pond and they would swim away from her but closer to me ‘ducked down’ (excuse the pun) behind the tall grass. I stand up and photograph when they are close enough. Many Australasian Grebe are also present.
The Blue-billed Duck is accompanied by the Pink-eared Duck, another not so common fresh water duck. This bird filters the water with its unusual beak to extract minute water creatures as well as insects. It is able to let the water pass through the beak, only capturing the minute food particles.
There are many other ducks including Pacific Black and Hardheads. Below pairs of Hardheads are seen with the male having the white eye ring.
In my early birding days, from a distance the Hardhead could mistaken for a Blue-billed Duck. More so the female Blue-billed Duck with that of the female Musk Duck. Notice how low the Blue-billed Duck lies in the water.
Australasian Grebe is another elusive bird, which appear in the middle of lakes and sewerage ponds, keeping well away from humans. This pair show breeding plumage.
Have a wonderful week! Autumn has finally arrived!
Remember this Passover that: The Son of God became the Son of Man so that we the sons of men may become sons of God.