Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 261 - Mallard

For what amounts to the first half of my life, the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) was the basic and fundamental duck.  I fed them bread and cursed them as they stole the bait I intended for carp and tench.  They were 'the duck'.  All other ducks were measured and identified by their difference to the Mallard.

When I moved to Australia, all that changed.  Mallard were an introduced species, a plague duck, that was a treat to the native ducks like Pacific Black Duck, possibly the closest relation to Mallard in Australia.

So, when I was back in the UK it was nice to see some of these birds in their native state - although I remain unconvinced that there is not a touch of the 'farm yard' in some of these individuals.

The first set of picture were taken through the "duck door" of our bed and breakfast boat in Oxford, the second set were taken at Esthwaite Water in Cumbria.

Maybe these are not the most exotic birds in the world, but I think that if there were less common they would be almost everybody's favourite.

The following pictures are from Esthwaite Water.

With luck, normal service will resume this week - assuming that there have been no catastrophic problems at work!!

As ever, click the blue button below the thumbnails to join in with WBW.  SM

Tuesday, 25 July 2017


This time yesterday I was in a plane somewhere between Zurich and Singapore.  Physically I am now at home, but chronologically I am in another time zone.

My month away started in Oxford in the UK, with a few days on a (stationary) long boat - while I enjoyed this experience, I'm not sure it was the best way to overcome the inevitable tiredness of a flight from Australia.

The view from the 'duck door' (a large side door in the boat) more or less made up for the lack of space.  I'd really like to do a bit of a journey in one of these old school vessels.

Lots more pictures to follow.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 260 - Jungle Babbler

I've gone back to my Indian pictures for this week's WBW - this is a Jungle Babbler (Turdoides striata) and I saw this bird at Sultanpur National Park, which must been one of the most productive 'overseas' birding locations I have ever been too.

This bird gathers in small flocks, and the translation of one of its Indian names is Seven Brothers.  They were noisy, active and hard to photograph.

As ever, to join in with WBW click the blue button below the thumbnails.  SM

Monday, 17 July 2017

A New View

Greetings - some of you may have noticed I have been a bit slow to reply to comments and such like for the last couple of weeks.  I assume that you will have worked out that I am out and about on a bit of an adventure.

At present I am in Grindelwald in Switzerland - with a glass of local wine, watching the clouds lens in and out over the Eiger. Sometimes you just have to take a hit for the team!

This is the view from my new (but temporary) back door!

I may remain a little distracted for a while - but normal service will resume soon!  

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.  SM

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 260 - Brown Quail

This weeks bird for WBW is wild, but not native where I found it.

This is a family of Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora) on top of the highest point of Rangitoto Island is a volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand.

I was rather pleased to find these birds as this was one of the hottest walks I have done in a very long time - at time I thought I was going to melt out of the bottom of my shoes.

These birds are not native to New Zealand, they have been introduced from Australia.  I would suspect that apple cores are not the natural food - but who can tell.

This family of birds was taking shelter from the sun under some rather dense bushes - so in the end I'm pleased with these pictures.

By the time this post goes live I will be in the middle of an adventure, so I'm not sure what my connectivity will be like - so, please be patient!

As ever, to join in with WBW, just click the blue button below the thumbnails.  SM

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 259 - Silver / Red Beaked Gull

A little bit more taxonomic confusion here.  For a long time, this bird was considered a full species - The Red-Beacked Gull, and it was only found in New Zealand.  Now it is considered a subspecies of the Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae).

These pictures were taken in Aukland harbour in New Zealand.  At the time I can remember thinking, I really can't see a difference between this bird and the Silver Gulls see on a daily basis.

As you may have gathered by now, I like many different sorts of birds - but the silver, grey and white combination sported by gulls really is rather magnificent.

So, this weeks WBW is brought to you by the Silver / Red Beaked Gull.

As ever, to join in with WBW, just click the blue button below the thumbnails.  SM

Tuesday, 4 July 2017


I suspect that this will be a very busy week!

I found this flower on the lawn of my hotel in Jakarta earlier in the year.  I liked its simplicity then and I still like it now.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 258 - Nankeen Night Heron

More shots from the trip on Yellow Water this week for Wild Bird Wednesday.  As you may have gathered from the number of shots that this trip created, Kakadu is a remarkable place - with an abundance of things to point lenses at.

These birds are Nankeen Night Herons (Nycticorax caledonicus).  And had I known the stories behind both of these names, I would have posted these images a lot sooner.  Nankeen comes from Nanking, a town in China that produced a yellowish cotton cloth - which apparently was a similar colour to parts of this bird.  I suppose this makes some sense.  The scientific name means (and I assure that this is true!) Scottish Nightraven - which is about as wrong as it can get.

I do like this kind of thing.

Theses are three different birds - the ones with stripes are young birds, and the others are adults.  In the adult bird you can just about see the long white plume that come off the back of its head.

As ever, to join in with WBW, just click the blue button below the thumbnails.  SM

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Egret in Fading Light

These are some shots of an Intermediate Egret (I think) in some rather nice late afternoon / evening light.

I saw this bird on a cruise around Yellow Water, which is a fabulous area of the Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, Australia.

I like the way the light is catching the outstretched feathers.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 257 - Variable Oystercatcher

Oystercatchers have to be one of my favourite types of bird - I can't help but think that they have a great deal of personality.

So, when I was in New Zealand at the start of the year, it was good to catch up with a new species.  This is the Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor). The scientific name is really rather funny in the context of the common name and the fact that the bird (in two of its colour phases) is clearly not unicolour at all!

This bird has an "all black" phase (which is highly appropriate really!), and intermediate phase, where there is some white on the belly and a 'pied' phase where most of the belly feathers are white.  Of course, there are also transitional phases as well.

The first set of pictures were taken at Muriwai, on New Zealand's North Island.  The second set were taken at Picton, on New Zealand's South Island.

As ever, to join in with WBW, just click the blue button below the thumbnails.  SM