Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 217 - Magpie Goose

After I posted this image last week, a number of people asked what the birds were and what they looked like.

Well, the birds Magpie Geese (Anseranas semipalmata).  The magpie comes from their black and white colour - almost anything in Australia that is black and white is called a 'Magpie' something.  The Goose come from the way it looks!  The semipalmata of the scientific name refers to the fact the these birds only have half webbed feet.

That feature, and a few others, mean that this species is a bit of a loner in the world of classification - there are no other birds in the genus Anseranas  and in fact this is the only genus in its family as well.  Which leads to the type of conclusion that I love, where the Magpie Goose is neither a Magpie nor a Goose!  (And its not a big duck either!)

Anyway, this bird used to be widespread in SE Australia, but it now only really common in Northern Australia. The large knob on the head of some of these birds show that they are males.

The bird in the last image is a juvenile bird - and does not yet have the white neck of the adult.

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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Rock Art 1

One of the non-birding things I was looking forward to during my recent trip to Darwin was revisiting some rock art sites I had not been to since I owned a digital camera - all the images I had of these places from earlier visits were on slides.  (If you dont know what these are, you are either one of my younger readers, or I much older than I think!)

These images were taken at the famous Ubirr art site in Kakadu.  I will be creating a few posts containing image of rock art - which posses a bit of issue for me.  My understanding of what these images signify is almost nil, so any attempt by me to explain what the images would almost certainly be wrong.  I am also aware that the broad function of much of this art is to allow people to tell their own story - and its not my story to tell.  So, I am going to post the images will minimal comment (except one set) and simply leave it to the images to convey the sophistication of the culture that create them.

The main image on the rock is of a wallaby - possibly Agile Wallaby.  And the white figure, is a white person - I'll post more about that image later.  The Moth is Dysphania unmana or the 4 O'Clock Moth. It gets its common name as it is a day flying moth.

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

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Northern Sky

This picture was taken at Mamukala, Northern Territory - the birds are Magpie Geese.

You can find more sky shots at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 216 - Forest Kingfisher

Kingfishers are really rather wonderful birds. And as a result I was really pleased to have the chance to photograph some when I was in the Northern Territory.

On the first day of the tour, more or less at the first place we stopped at, we found a Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii) showing rather well on a wire fence.  This bird was rather more obliging than many kingfishers I have tried to photograph, and as such I was able to get a little closer to it than normal.

The Forest Kingfisher is about 20cm long and it is not a bird I get to see in South East Australia, as it has a more northern distribution.  Although its name is 'forest' this bird can be found in a range of habitats, often near water, where it feeds on insects, small lizards and frogs.

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