Murmurations of Starlings

I’m excited to share a short video I took recently of the amazing flying patterns of starlings known as murmurations.

I only happened upon it by accident one evening as I was near the end of my walk at the Tamar Island Wetlands.ย  It was totally unexpected, and since then, I have taken my camera with me and tried to get some video of the starlings incredible flying formation. However, it’s difficult because they don’t seem to fly like this all the time, and now as winter approaches, I can’t get there early enough.

 

Amazing isn’t it! I could watch this all day! ๐Ÿ™‚

There has to be hundreds of starlings coming in to settle for the night at the Wetlands. It certainly sounded like it when I walked past them! I wonder what they were saying to each other?

 

The European starling (also known as the Common starling) is an introduced and invasive bird here in Australia, but even so, it is a very pretty bird when the sun shines on them exposing their metallic rainbow of colours, and they also have a beautiful song.

European starling (not my photo)

Have you ever seen a murmuration of starlings or any other bird?

 

 

 

Down Brownfield Lane

Opposite the Riverside High School near Launceston is a small park and a lake. I couldn’t see any sign as to what it is called and maps don’t have a name for it either.ย  I visited there one afternoon and found there are quite a number of birds there. It’s a lovely country setting, the lake surrounded by trees, now starting to change colour in late autumn, and farmhouses and green paddocks abound up to the Tamar River with mountains in the distance.

Turbo chooks (Native Hens)
Although turbo chooks are waterbirds and often seen at the Wetlands, this was the first time I had seen one actually in the water.
Native Hen (Turbo Chook) These birds are only found in Tasmania and belong to the rail family.
One of a huge flock of sulphur crested cockatoos I often see flying around the area.
It wouldn’t be a park without a magpie!
This pair of galahs were spotted near the car park.
Couldn’t identify this duck. Anyone know?
Pacific black ducks.
Found these trying to be invisible on the lake edge among trees. Not sure what type of duck they are.
Wood ducks having a meeting
Eurasian coot

I was treated to a quick diving display from a Eurasian coot!

There were quite a lot of these Silver gulls around
An adult and a juvenile silver gull
Silver gulls chilling in the afternoon sun
A lone feral domestic goose was hanging out with its duck friends
He seemed quite friendly and at one point swam right up to me.
Find of the day! A yellow wattlebird. My first sighting of this bird, only found in Tasmania.

This park and lake are definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

 

 

Seagull Parade

If I decide to go for an early morning walk at the local wetlands when it’s high tide, I often find that I am the first person there for the day. How do I know? By the seagull parade!

Silver gulls and Pacific gulls lining the boardwalk

Along the boardwalk are a few bridges over sections of the Tamar River, and there are lots of silver gulls and pacific gulls that are perched on the bridges in the early morning at high tide.

Pacific gulls
More gulls on another bridge
White faced herons hanging out with the pacific gulls
A closer look at some Pacific gulls
A large number of immature Pacific gulls can be seen

As I get close to the birds, they start to cry and take flight, and soon there are heaps of gulls flying overhead, heading towards the harbour.

Once disturbed, the birds don’t return, they must continue on with their day. I hate to disturb them, but walk I must, and they don’t seem overly upset as they are there again the following day.

I took this video of walking past the seagulls. Unfortunately, YouTube has removed the stabiliser enhancement feature so the video is a bit wonky.

As you can see, these birds do make a mess of the boardwalk, but a bit of rain cleans it up.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many gulls in one place before!

 

 

 

Summer’s Day Low Tide At The Wetlands

On a bright sunny summer’s day recently, I decided to try my luck birdwatching at Tamar Island Wetlands. I wasn’t expecting to see too much in the way of wildlife as it was quite a warm day and early afternoon with a low tide. I thought the majority of the birds would be hiding away in some shade somewhere, but I was quite surprised by what I found.

Low tide at Tamar Island Wetlands
Several great egrets and a cormorant hanging out together
Chestnut teal having a quiet midday snooze
Grey teals snoozing nearby
Another image of low tide at Tamar Island Wetlands
A variety of birds in one spot – black swans, great egrets, chestnut teals, grey teals and a masked lapwing
A young Australasian swamphen, the parent was close by.
A pair of geese foraging.
Cracked dried mud
A muddy beaked masked lapwing (plover)
A lovely cool and shady spot next to the bird hide
A grey teal with something to say
One of the lovely views from the boardwalk.
White faced herons.
A pair of chestnut teals.
Mother swan with her growing babies
Another view of the wetlands

If you ever find yourself in the Launceston area, it’s worth a trip out to the Tamar Island Wetlands as you can see all kinds of birds anytime of the day and the views are beautiful.

 

 

White Faced Heron

Recently I spotted a white faced heron perched on a neighbour’s roof catching some early morning sun. This one looks like it has some breeding plumage.

These birds are usually seen around bodies of water and I sometimes see them on my walks at the local wetlands, so I was quite surprised to see one on the roof nextdoor.

As I watched, this heron proceeded to cough up something.

It’s always funny when a bird suddenly catches your eye.

The heron then gazes out looking like it’s feeling better.

Then the bird turns around to get some more sun before flying off towards the river.

 

European Goldfinch

I had been seeing flashes of a small bird in my weedy garden lately (I promise I’ll get to it one of these days ….. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and had been unable to determine what kind of bird it was until I spotted two of them the other day. They move so fast I couldn’t get a good photo so instead tried to video them.

I had never seen these birds before so had to research them. They are a European Goldfinch. These birds were introduced to south eastern Australia in the mid to late 1800s.

The male bird is very colourful and quite eye catching and I think the other bird in the video is a juvenile. They seem to love the seeds on the weeds. Now I have an excuse not to weed the garden bed! ๐Ÿ˜€

This is my last post for the year, so I hope you all have a happy and safe Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

 

 

 

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 ofย 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 theย black swan.ย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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