Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, November 16, 2009

A birding weekend away.

The following birds are DEFINITELY not from Robertson.

A family of Emus being led away by Dad (right)
I went to West Wyalong with Mark Clayton and some other bird banders from Canberra. My association with Mark goes back further than most people have been alive, so I shall not bore readers with the details, save to say that Mark was a youngster (as was I) when he first teamed up with my father and myself and a bunch of other young enthusiasts, and started to learn about bird banding. Mark has had an entire career in CSIRO in the intervening years.

Mark invited me to join him at one of his favourite haunts at The Charcoal Tank Nature Reserve, near West Wyalong. Mark has banded there since about 1986, so he has established some very valuable bird life-history data over those years.

Mark preparing to band an adult male Common Bronzewing Pigeon.
Here he is taking the "head/bill" measurement.
And now the bird is about to be released.
You can see the large patch of cream feathers on the forehead.
That indicates it is an adult male.An Eastern Yellow Robin - prior to release.
The weather at West Wyalong was very hot.
Sunrise at 6:00am.
The temp was already 21.6 degrees Celsius.
It reached 38 degrees Celsius at 3:00pm, on Saturday,
with just 9% humidity.

The temperature meant we had to be very vigilant with the birds in the nets, particularly the small birds, which are potentially subject to heat stress.
Here is a Peaceful Dove -
a close-up view of the colouring of the soft tissue
above the beak and the around the eye.
The same bird, with the wing held out
to show the lovely chestnut colour on the under-wing coverts.This bird is one of Mark's favourite species.
The White-plumed Honeyeater.
He has established good life-history data of this species
through re-trapping many banded birds at Charcoal Tank.
This next image is a portrait of the Yellow Thornbill.
This specimen lacks the typical colouration.
The fine marks behind the eye are about the only distinguishing features.
This image of the bird in the hand shows the size from which it was previously known by the name of the "Little Thornbill".

I have a number of other photos which I shall publish over the next few days.


Mosura said...

Looks like you had a great weekend. Too hot for me though :-)

A great opportunity to see those birds close up.

Tyto Tony said...

A lot done on a hot and busy day!

Snail said...

I always drive through West Wyalong when I'm heading along the Newell. I will have to stop next time.

Looks like you had an excellent day's birding.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mosura, Tony and Snail.
Well it surely was hot, but well worth the effort.
Snail, make sure you travel through in the cool weather, that's all.
The actual reserve is behind the "Charcoal Tank Rest Stop".
You would have to jump the fence, as we had access arranged, but it is not "prohibited entry", just not "encouraged" if you get my gist.
I am still recovering - not from the trip, but from wading though all my emails after being away.
More tomorrow - too tired now.

mick said...

Fantastic close-up photos of the birds. The Peaceful Dove with stretched out wings is fascinating. I have never seen that beautiful patch of color although I've seen plenty of the birds. A bit too hot for comfort though!!!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
Its the things one notices with "birds in the hand" which I really like about being able to participate in Bird Banding.
I was very pleased to have been invited along with Mark and the others, after all these years.