It is that unusual time of year again where the seasons are changing, and so are some of our bird species. In Australia most of our birds are permanent territorial birds, but there is a certain amount of migration that takes place, especially with our migratory waders which are leaving for the upper reaches of the northern hemisphere during the next few weeks to breed. As we can see above, this male is already donning his breeding plumage is almost fully colored for breeding before taking his 16,000 km flight to Alaska with his family. We won’t see him again till next Spring, when he with his kind, will return on a 16,000 km direct flight non-stop for 8 days across the pacific Ocean, from Alaska to Australia. The world’s most endurant bird. I love seeing these little guys before they leave with their orange appearance. You can see them with the family which do not show breeding plumage. Yes, this is the little flock I features some weeks ago on my favorite wader beach. I was thankful for half a day to get out and about from my very busy life.
The passerine migrants will be on their way up the top of Australia and into New Guinea and south east Asia, these include the Dollarbird, the Bulbuls, the cuckoos and the Bee-eaters. I drove around to my other viewing place which is more secluded behind the mangroves and was delighted to find one Eastern Curlew and a Whimbrel, quite uncommon in our parts. These birds will take flight also for the north in the coming weeks. A couple of Australian Pelicans rested on the shore with a Masked lapwing, these birds will be staying through winter.
The Silver Gull is a permanent beach resident here, and an immature gull (note the brown dappled plumage) watched the strange Godwit creatures walk past, while its parent flew past.
As I walked around the waterfront toward Botany Bay hoping for a double bonus afternoon, I saw this beautiful pair of Pied Oystercatcher walking the shoreline. These birds are now classified as endangered in NSW due to their drop in numbers because their breeding places on human occupied beaches are interfering with their breeding patterns. The problem with 4×4 cars is that men like to drive them on beaches, which makes the shore and sea bird breeding areas more access able than ever before. Even when signs warn to take care or not enter sensitive areas, they continue to do so.
With this changing season comes a special treat which occurs each year in Cook Park, Botany Bay. So I walked around to the large grove of unusual pine trees, where last year I blogged the feast of the Cockatoos and Corella as they fed on the pine cones, extracting the seed. Yes! they were there as predicted, which gave me great delight photographing their wild behaviour as Sulphur-crested and Yellow-tail Black Cockatoo along with Little Corella competed for cones. Bird everywhere flying and calling. Cones and pieces of them falling like rain from the trees. One cone landed on my camera, and thankfully it did not damage it.
If you look to the Yellow-tails above you can tell the males apart from the female by the red eye-ring. Notice how the Cockatoo, as with others in the parrot family, can hold, grasp and manipulate the food in one claw and bring it to its mouth while standing on the other leg. This is a unique feature of these birds. The above birds are all flockbirds and were present in their groups. When an alarm went up up from the corellas, the whole place was overcome by the sound of squawking and wing movement for several minutes.
It was a perfect birding afternoon, so I topped it off with an icecream and made my way home, knowing that each season brings its own, and like the cycle of the earth around the sun, so the birds cycle and move around in predictable habitat changes. In most cases they follow their food, and seek breeding places that provide warmth, safety from predators and close nearby fresh water and food suitable for their young. It is important for us humans to see that our life has seasons also, maybe not quite as predictable and cyclic as the birds, but nevertheless, we need to appreciate this fact of life, or fall foul to depression and disappointment. Many of you will have seen this clip I made some time ago but I feel it is appropriate to finish this post with it.
Have an extraordinary wonderful weekend!
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