Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus

Scaly-breasted Lorikeets. Used with permission by and screenshot of
  video taken 2010 by auswolf350. Copyright auswolf350.
Out of nowhere, four nights ago at 12:15AM, I heard the sounds of a flock of parrots fly over my roof top heading toward MT. McKenzie. It was pitch black outside with no moon. At first they sounded like bats but getting closer toward me I could tell they were parrots of some sort. (See the first video below for the actual recording of their flight calls). I've since identified them, by sound only, as Scaly-breasted Lorikeets. I have also visually confirmed them to be birds and not bats. Originally I estimated there were no more than 40 birds in the area.


If you cannot hear anything in this video above, turn your speakers
up A LOT. Apparently their calls are very high pitched in this video.

Around 6:45PM last night I began walking toward where the birds had previously been roosting so I could be there on time as the birds came in to roost. When I got there, sure enough, the birds started coming in to roost. They began coming in to roost not as a flock but as small family groups that consisted of 12-18 individual birds.

Where the birds first roosted for the night.
However, I began to notice more and more family groups coming in to roost. They were all coming from the west of Tenterfield. I could not get close enough to the trees that some of the family groups had landed in, but it was a small stand of about 8-12 mature gum trees.

On my way home from shopping I walked the normal way home and heard a heck of a commotion coming from a small stand of trees in the Tenterfield Showgrounds. To my amazement there must have been somewhere between 200 and 400 Scaly-breasted Lorikeets roosting in the trees. The more I walked toward home the more family groups I was seeing coming in to roost.


In this video above the Scaly-breasted Lorikeets were in 6-8 of the
tallest trees in the Tenterfield Showground. It was taken yesterday
around 7:30PM.

There were so many birds of this species I simply could not count them. They flew at speeds more than 50 KMs per hour, as the moment I spotted them flying they were gone. They were travelling too fast for me to even record them on video.

Special thanks to auswolf350 for permitting me to use his video and screenshot to add images of these birds to this post.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa

All ducks look the same to me which is why I never noticed the Pacific Black Ducks before. That was until I discovered in a few past photos that some so-called Australian Wood Ducks had long white eye markings like this one below. Click to enlarge the photo.

Pacific Black Ducks taken about Aug. 2012

It seems, now that I think about it, these ducks are always seen in pairs even if they are in a small group. I have not seen them on land at all, except for years ago when they were hanging around the Agricultural paddocks that belong to the High School. They always seem to be in the creek/water unless they get spooked and fly further along the creek out of harms way.

Late last month I took some decent duck photos which turned out to be of Pacific Black Ducks, well a pair of them anyway. (Now I can't find these said photos on my computer.) They did not mind me getting close to them to take their photographs. They were swimming in the creek which was recently flooded, and were playing with the water current.

Currently they are in pairs, not in groups, so it must be getting close to their breeding season.

The Pacific Black Ducks are one of my favourite bird species, and even though they look similar to any duck out there, they can be easily identified by their metallic turquoise-green wing patches and their long white eye markings. And you mostly see them in pairs in the Tenterfield Creek, and elsewhere - probably even at the Tenterfield Dam.

These ducks seem to prefer water with a current flowing through it rather than still water.

What these ducks eat would be whatever exists in the water. Although they are supposed to be herbivores eating seeds of aquatic plants they do also eat small insects and other things found in or on the water. Very rarely do they search for food on land.

At a guess I'd say there are about 20 individuals of this species within the township of Tenterfield that exist/inhabit the Tenterfield Creek only. They are not as numerous as the Australian Wood Ducks, that's for sure.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Audio players refuses to work

Recording bird sounds is easy enough when the birds are around but the big problem is adding these sounds to this site. Adding my bird sound video recordings to Youtube is basically a last resort for me. I am not happy with the fact my videos end up getting compressed, which actually reduces the sound quality and the actual volume of the sound birds make.

With the existing mp3 players I have on this site I have found that one player is fine on this site but two or more of them makes them all malfunction.

Having the Yahoo Media player tends to crash on this site after a while. It refuses to load large files. That's the reason why I'm trying to get an mp3 player to work on this site.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

UPDATE: Grey Shrike-thrush bred and moved on

It has been almost 3 months since I wrote anything about the Grey Shrike-thrushes. A lot has happened during that time.

The third Grey Shrike-thrush female stayed with the male and they nested somewhere near the Tenterfield Showgrounds, probably along the bank of the Tenterfield Creek in one of the Gum trees there. Things went quiet around this time with only the occasional sighting of the birds yet they were heard more than seen. Then one day, on the 13 December 2012, I spotted 2 juveniles. The father was accompanying them, watching them from nearby trees and I only ever heard him from time to time. I never actually saw him at all. The next day both parents and juveniles were gone, never to be seen again. That's it really. It looks like these birds only stayed in town to breed and once the chicks fledged they all left town once they juveniles were strong enough to fly longer distances. With the Grey Shrike-thrushes gone, I can't update anymore information about them.

Should these birds come back so be it but it looks like they're gone forever from the area.

Anyway, here's the only 3 videos of the juveniles that I have.

MEGAFAUNA - The 45cm Pied Butcherbird sings like an Eastern Koel

A very interesting development has occurred and I am glad I was able to observe it. For months now I thought a Pacific (Eastern) Koel was hanging around, calling out even calling during the night. But today I saw what looked like a large white fronted bird on the fence across the road making the exact same sound as an Eastern Koel. I was not able to focus my camera quick enough to even get a photo. It certainly was not an Eastern Koel and only 2 species fit into the size category of what it could be: a Laughing Kookaburra and the 45cm Pied Butcherbird. It was not a Laughing Kookaburra. Kookaburras don't mimic sounds they hear. The bird in question was actually the large 45cm Pied Butcherbird.

However going back to when I first saw this 45cm Pied Butcherbird I remember it making all kinds of songs. I recorded what I thought was (until today) an Eastern Koel (The Koels that are in NSW anyway) but thought it strange as it was doing a lot of mimicry sounds. I've several videos like this taken in the last 3-4 or so weeks but one in particular I will add here (or to another post) as soon as I can find it on my pc.

This particular Pied Butcherbird is really hard to photograph. It seems to know when someone is taking it's photo and hides deeper into the tree canopy and goes quiet. It hides in the tree tops during the hottest parts of the day, and is impossible to see as it uses the outer leaves/branches as camouflage. It does call out and makes lots of sounds, which sounds like an Eastern Koel. When it is out feeding it doesn't keep still long enough to take a decent photo of it. it flies around town a lot but often I can't track it by it's calls. It seems to land on something and then call out. For most of the time it is quiet, especially during the first half of the day, but then it gets a bit vocal from about lunch time onwards.

The Pied Butcherbird sounds I've been hearing lately, especially today, tells me there are two of these birds in the area. I have no idea on the size of the other Pied Butcherbird but it's voice is the same but a little bit quieter. I heard them both calling out to each other from two different trees, at least 50 metres apart.

If these birds are coming together to breed then I need to keep a close eye on where they are coming and going to. But as the one I have seen, which I think might be a male, has attracted the female to his area it is possible I might get to see some nesting behaviour in the near future. I cannot be certain though that the two birds will even hang around the area to nest. They might move further away from the outskirts of town where it is peaceful and much quieter.

For two days in a row now the male? has been sighted across the road on the fence around 5pm. Tomorrow I will be prepared and hopefully get a video of the bird. Hopefully it will sing for me - wishful thinking on my part!

If nothing else it will be interesting to see what their chicks will be like and how big the female is. Or to at least get some decent footage of this male? bird.
 
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