Tag Archives: Great Egret

Feeding Frenzy

Rainfall is imminent in the next few days;   “90% chance of showers and possible thunderstorms with areas of rain” but by Jan 2nd the forecast is just “Rain. Possible storm”.   It seems like water levels in the wetlands are about to rise but while there are still lots of muddy edges and shallow ponds full of fish and crustaceans there are busy birds with full bellies.

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Great Egret trying to get a firm grip on a River Prawn.  Macrobrachium sp.

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Now in a firm hold but still quite a challenge to swallow

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Azure Kingfisher with one of many fish caught in a morning session.

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Azure Kingfisher often flies to this horizontal perch as it’s convenient to use for bashing  prey prior to consumption.

Pale-vented Bushhen

Pale-vented Bush Hen – while we did see it catch fish occasionally it was mainly hunting on or around the vegetation.  This is possibly a dragonfly nymph.

Birds all have their own particular hunting methods and it is quite amusing to watch a Great Egret with its ‘wait quietly and pounce’ method becoming annoyed at a Little Egret which tends to be rather hyperactive, stirring the water up with its feet to see what is disturbed.  This Little Egret is in breeding colours and plumage, gloriously white even though it is spending its days in the muddy shallows.

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Little Egret in the process of swallowing a fish.

Ecoproperty For Sale

After a glorious winter, the warmer weather has heralded the arrival of our ‘summer birds’.  Loud calls from Koels are particularly evident in the morning and at dusk while the chortling of Orioles is a constant in the background.  Allen recently observed 20+ Double-eyed Fig Parrots in a flock flying from one part of the property to another and today there were 60+ enjoying a fruiting Fig (Ficus benjamina).  Gould’s Bronze-Cuckoo, Brush Cuckoo and Cicadabirds have also been very vocal and Pheasant Coucal make their ‘bottle glugging’ sound late in the afternoon.

Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo with a  Four O'Clock Moth (Dysphania fenestrata) larva

Gould’s Bronze-Cuckoo with a Four O’Clock Moth larva (Dysphania fenestrata)

The loudest call is from Great-billed Heron, clearly heard from the creek and occasionally much closer as it has been regularly feeding along the edge of our wetland.

Great-billed Heron waiting patiently in the shallows

Great-billed Heron waiting patiently in the shallows

As the water level in our ponds drops Great and Intermediate Egret, White-necked Heron, Black-necked Stork, White-faced Heron, Royal Spoonbill and Australian Ibis join the Great-billed Heron in the shallow water.

Female Black-necked Stork

Female Black-necked Stork

One of the resident Azure Kingfishers provides a dazzling splash of colour as it dives for fish from a variety of perching posts which it shares with Pied Cormorant and Darter.  Pacific Black Duck feed happily nearby.

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WILD WINGS & SWAMPY THINGS IS FOR SALE

After lengthy consideration we have decided to place Wild Wings & Swampy Things on the market.  http://www.ecorealestate.com.au/1639750/

Our major restoration projects are complete and will only become more attractive habitat in future years.  While it is rewarding to observe the growth in the vegetation, watch trees mature and to delight in the variety and number of birds residing and visiting the property we feel it is time for us to move on.

Until we find a suitable buyer we are enjoying our paradise and while continuing to maintain and improve many areas, we are also taking time out to just enjoy what we have helped to create.  It is a delight to walk along our tracks observing birds and other wildlife so we are going to make the most of just being here.

 

Slippery as an…..

In pursuit of an eel More action on the muddy puddle!  I heard a guttural croak and saw a Great Egret in hot pursuit of another that had been lucky/smart enough to capture an eel.  The pursuer gave up the chase quite quickly but the captor of the eel still took quite a few minutes to kill and swallow its prey.  This process mostly seemed to involve a fierce grip on the eel, an occasional shake and a rinse?  in the water.

A firm grip by the head

Swallowing eel 1

Finally it managed to swallow.

Swallowing eel

And then it stood still looking, I thought, a bit uncomfortable…….or is it just too easy to anthropomorphize?

A feeding frenzy

Spoonbills & Egrets feeding A short sojourn to Brisbane for a family wedding (actually I had great fun as mother of the groom!) but as always we are pleased to be home.   As we drove down our driveway a cloud of white lifted off the front wetland so I was soon heading off with the binoculars to see what was happening.   I think the word has got out that there is a concentrated food source at Wild Wings and Swampy Things ….it is great fun just watching the different species together, their interactions as well as their various manners of feeding.

Gr & Int EgretI had several attempts at capturing Great and Intermediate Egret in the same photo at the same angle for a comparison of head shape and neck length.  My aim is to improve my identification skills so that I don’t necessarily have to rely on a close look at the gape in order to tell the two species apart.

Whistling Kite

The main perching tree near this particular feeding location is a Leichardt (Nauclea orientalis) which has often featured in this blog.  While it is a popular preening position, as well as the nearest tall tree if there is a disturbance, no species was willing to share a perch with the Whistling Kite which has been making at least one daily visit.

Whistling Kite calling

Movements on the Mudflats

W-N Heron in tree Dry conditions continue with only some very light showers to dampen the dust recently.   This White-necked Heron has been taking advantage of the drying ponds for some time and seems to share space with a Great Egret quite amicably.

The neck markings on the W-N Heron, which are quite striking in its non-breeding plumage, are just visible from this angle.

We rarely see a female Darter on our wetlands and a second male visiting usually creates  considerable angst for our regular male although he is tolerant of Little Pied Cormorant, Egrets, White-faced and White-necked Herons.

White-necked Heron & Egret2

This Australasian Darter had just emerged from the water and had given itself a good shake so that its previously saturated feathers appeared almost fluffy.  As it made its way up the post to dry off it used its tail for balance and gripped tightly with its webbed feet.   The outstretched wings provided more balance assistance as well as some ‘lift’ to help it get to the top of the post where it could dry off more thoroughly.

Darter with wings spread

As the dry weather continues any remaining waterholes will become very popular ….. so we’ll wait and watch with anticipation.