Wildlife Spottings At The Wetlands

Now that daylight savings has started, I have decided to go for a walk almost everyday at the local wetlands. I find that walking helps to unwind from a day’s work and it feels good to get out in the fresh air. Also, it is good exercise and great for the mind and spirit, and it’s even nice to say hello to regular walkers and joggers or stop and have a chat with someone taking photos of the birds.

Here are some of the gems I have spotted on my walks at Tamar Island Wetlands.

Surprisingly, I have seen a small number of geese. These are likely domesticated escapees from people’s homes around the area. I have spotted 2 pairs but only one had these little golden cuties.

Sadly, none of the goslings have survived.

A plentiful bird at the wetlands is the black swan. I have identified 5 different families so far, all with babies of varying ages. It’s been nice to watch the little balls of fluff growing up. Here is one family.

And look at this adorable scene!

If I go walking early in the morning or late in the evening, I am usually lucky enough to see one of these lovely creatures – a pademelon!

In a previous post, I shared a photo of a Native Hen (or turbo chook) with half a dozen chicks that I came across in the car park. Sadly, there is only one chick left. Look how its grown!

Lately I have seen several Great Egrets fishing in the river. This one was fascinating to watch as it went after some food.

There was even a snake having a snooze by the boardwalk. Funnily enough, it was conveniently sleeping only 2 metres away from the snake warning sign so I knew it was a copperhead!

I was even lucky enough to see two Australasian Swamphen chicks up close. Aren’t they cute!

And finally, this is a video I took one afternoon of the 360 degree view from the end of the boardwalk at the Tamar River. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a magnificent view and well worth the walk. 🙂

What little gems of nature do you see on your daily walks?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Babies at Tamar Island Wetlands

It was such a lovely sunny, spring afternoon today, I couldn’t resist a walk at the Tamar Island Wetlands. I’m glad I went because it was so worth it to see a number of spring babies!

Close to the boardwalk was a pair of black swans and their 2 cygnets. Aren’t they adorable!?

Further along, there was another pair of black swans who had four babies, but these were a bit older – still cute though!

On my way out near the entry to the wetlands, I spotted these tiny cuties – mallard ducklings.

And just as I was about to drive home, I spotted these baby turbo chooks (Tasmanian Native Hens) in the car park!

Hope you enjoyed my photos of these little balls of fluff! 🙂

 

 

Forlorn Young Torresian Crow

The pair of Torresian crows that hang around my place only had one baby this year.

juvenile torresian crow

It’s looking a little scruffy.

Sometimes the expressions on its face are quite interesting.

The poor thing is often seen alone a tree branch mournfully calling for food or its parents. Have a listen:

 

I’ve been hearing that plaintive cry a lot over the past few weeks.

I’m sure it won’t be long now until it matures and can feed itself (I hope!). 🙂

 

 

 

 

One Hungry Baby Kookaburra

Warning – this post may be squeamish for some readers.

For the second year running, a pair of kookaburras have brought their young to show us, although there is only one baby this time around.

Adult kookaburra on the left with a juvenile.

A few days ago I heard the baby kookaburra begging for food in the gum tree by the house and I went out to watch. One of the parents killed a mouse somewhere and brought it to the baby for its evening meal.

The young kookie looked quite happy about it!

Then it sat there on the branch for a minute or so juggling the mouse around in its beak.Then all of a sudden, in one quick movement, down it went!

The young bird seemed quite satisfied.

And then started begging for food again! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

Watching for Bugs

Above is a photo of a juvenile grey butcherbird that I spotted just recently, and I was really happy to see it because I last saw this bird in early February and was worried that something had happened to it.

In a way, something did happen to it – it grew up and found it’s own way to the front of our property where it seems to be happily living and surviving.

The bird caught my eye diving to the ground catching bugs after my husband mowed the lawn.

The last time I saw this little bird, it was small and thin, coloured various shades of brown and was tagging along behind its parents. Now, it’s out on its own, looks healthy, and the brown feathers are starting to turn black around its head and the brown feathers on its back are starting to turn black and grey.

I did some research on the internet about the grey butcherbirds and in some families, the juveniles leave home early instead of hanging out with the parents for another year to help bring up the next lot of babies. Maybe this would explain why the two young ones suddenly stopped visiting back in February. Perhaps things are good in our area and the young ones decided it was time to move out. Or maybe mum and dad sent them on their way!

You can click here to read my earlier post about the grey butcherbird family that’s been visiting us.

 

Remembering Cookie – A Kookaburra With Leucism

We have always seen kookaburras around where we live, sometimes sitting in the gum trees, occasionally flying overhead, and we almost always hear them at sunrise and sunset. But late 2012 was the first time an entire kookaburra family came to visit.

There was mum, dad, and three babies, and one of those babies was a kookaburra we got to know very well so we named him Cookie. (We could never tell if the kookaburras were male or female, so we just referred to them all as a “he” to make things easier. 🙂 )

Cookie first appeared on 22 December 2012 as a very young kookaburra not long out of the nest. I took this video of Cookie on 23 December 2012.

The kookaburra family seemed to live somewhere west of our house as that was the direction they flew off in at the end of the day. Usually they dropped in for a visit in the early morning or late afternoon, and occasionally received a handout of meat from us.

Cookie got up to all kinds of things when he was young and was an intriguing bird to watch. In the video below taken on 26 December 2012 and filmed looking down from the veranda, you can see him playing with a piece of grass or perhaps a praying mantis, playing with a stick, and stabbing his beak into the sandy pile of dirt.

In February 2013, Cookie had been out of the nest for about 2 months and had grown up. He was as big as his parents and his colouring had lightened considerably since he was a baby. It was at this time that I determined after an extensive internet search, that Cookie had leucism. The photo below was taken 26 February 2013.

Leucism is a condition where there is partial loss of pigmentation and gives the bird much paler plumage colours than is typical for that species. The eye isn’t affected so it’s easy to tell the difference between albinism and leucism.  An albino bird is completely white with pink eyes, while a leucistic bird has lighter coloured plumage and has normal coloured eyes. Take a good look at Cookie’s colours and compare them with the other kookaburras, they are noticeably different. The photo below was taken 26 February 2013.

Cookie visited us almost everyday, with and without his parents, happy to take an occasional snack of meat from us. We often found him on the veranda and he was never scared of either of us approaching him.

Then in December 2013 the kookaburra family grew again as Cookie’s parents had another two babies. As happens in the kookaburra world, Cookie and his siblings hung around to help their parents bring up the new babies. From my observations, Cookie did most of this work while his siblings watched on, seemingly not bothered to help out themselves.

In the photo below you can see Cookie on the far left, one of the parents in the middle, and a baby kookaburra on the far right. This was taken 1 December 2013.

In this next photo, you can see from left to right: baby, Cookie, baby, parent. The photo was taken 8 December 2013.

Here is Cookie feeding one of the new babies with a bit of meat handout from us. This video was taken 8 December 2013.

And this photo of Cookie with a lizard he caught in our backyard shows what a good provider he is. (Photo taken 14 December 2013)

And Cookie could laugh with the best of them too as you can see in the video below. The video was taken 1 December 2013.

All too soon, the new babies had grown up and we noticed that none of Cookie’s siblings seemed to visit anymore. His parents came to drop in once in awhile, but Cookie became a regular. The next two photos were taken 9 November 2013. Notice how much lighter his feather colouring is now compared to when he was a baby.

And so it continued throughout 2014, Cookie visiting almost like clockwork. Towards the end of that year, Cookie would have been about 2 years old. He visited almost every afternoon or early morning, and his parents were still seen on occasion.

Then around October 2014, I noticed that Cookie was flying in from a different direction, and he was leaving in a different direction too. He headed easterly off to the neighbour’s place and perched in a gum tree, but after a short break, he continued flying in a southerly direction out of sight.

This is my final video of Cookie taken on 3 November 2014, although at the time I didn’t know it would be my last one.

In December 2014, I noticed that the length of time between Cookie’s visits became longer and longer. Every morning and afternoon I would scan the trees around for any sight of him, but nothing. And then he stopped coming altogether.

And that was that.

Or so we thought!

Just before Christmas in 2016, almost 2 years after we last saw Cookie, my husband saw him early in the morning on his way to work, sitting on a telegraph wire in the next street down (south from us). I wish I had been able to see him too. It was wonderful to hear that Cookie is safe and well, and has survived to at least being 4 years old. Now, everytime I head south from our place, I’m on the lookout for Cookie.

 

 

Kookaburra Family

Allow me to introduce you to our new resident kookaburra family!

There has been a pair of kookaburras hanging around our place for several months now. Here’s a photo of them together. Not sure which is which, and the one on the left seems to have lost some of its tail feathers.

Awhile ago, we discovered that the pair had made themselves a nest in a termite mound on a gum tree. Unfortunately, the tree is located over the fence line in a neighbour’s property and the nest faces away from our house, so it’s made it really hard to see much. Here’s a very short video I took from as close as I dared so as not to disturb the birds (using a zoom lens and after wading through hilly bushland in the rain as the sun was beginning to set!).

It was fascinating to watch the two kookaburras find some food, then sit in a nearby tree, make a quiet noise then suddenly fly over to the nest, quickly feed their young, and then fly off as if nothing was going on.

This went on for awhile, then on 22nd December we saw the first kookaburra fledging in our backyard, or rather, we heard it before we saw it! The next day, the second fledging appeared. Since then, the activity (and the noise!) hasn’t stopped!! You may not be able to tell from the video below, but the noise the baby is making is extremely loud, and it doubles in volume when both babies are together and making that noise at the same time. I can hear it inside the house with all the doors and windows shut!

In the video you can hear the calling of one of the parents who was perched on a branch just a few feet away from me. And you can also see the other parent fly off in front of the baby, probably going to get more food.

Early one morning, I found both baby kookaburras sitting on the veranda screeching for breakfast.

And here they are sitting in a gum tree in front of our house.

This is one of the parents having a rest on the veranda and making the call to round up the kids for a feed, I think. This kookaburra is quite friendly and allows me to get up close for some nice photos and video.

This is the same bird on another day. Looks exhausted!

Here’s the other parent busy looking for food for its hungry and noisy young.

And I keep being surprised at all the food they are finding, not just on our property, but around the neighbouring ones too. This short video shows both the parents together and laughing that typical kookaburra laugh, but you’ll also notice that one has a lizard in its beak, ready to feed one of the youngsters you can hear begging for food in the background.

Turned out that after perching on a branch near a baby kookaburra, and spending ages calling and calling and the baby not moving an inch off its branch, the kookaburra ate the lizard itself!

Here is a sequence of shots showing one of the baby kookaburras being fed.

Hurry up, I'm starving!
Hurry up, I’m starving!
Yum!
Yum!
More please!
More please!

And I managed to get this quick video of a baby kookaburra being fed a huge millipede or centipede! What a noisy eater!

And here’s a contented baby kookaburra after being fed, sitting and digesting that food, with one of the parents keeping it company.

Aww, cute!

It’s quite exciting watching this kookaburra family, even if it does get quite noisy several times a day when the babies are hungry!  🙂