January 29, 2010

Varied Thrush


Varied Thrush
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Not a great photo but it was all I could get in the light conditions.
The thrush is a pacific coast bird that must have had wander lust.
For some good info on the thrush, and a good photo, go tohttp://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Varied_Thrush/id
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a great birding resource.
Have a good weekend.

January 28, 2010

Sydney opera house


Sydney opera house
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Here is my obligatory photo of the opera house at Sydney.
It is impressive but it was much smaller looking than I imagined it would be.
We took the ferry around the harbour and I took the photo from the water side.

January 27, 2010

The cooper and the sparrow

Life and death are a part of nature and if you have bird feeders you will get hawks.
Yesterday a coopers hawk did a stealth approach, popped up over the hedge and created havoc giving it an opportunity to catch a tree sparrow.
The photo was taken through the wildlife window at a severe angle.

January 25, 2010

Godlen Bower Bird


Godlen Bower Bird
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Godlen Bower Bird

We were very fortunate to see this elusive bird in Australia. Difficult to get a good photo in the understory.
This is some info on the bird from www.birdwatching-australia.com/goldb.html

GOLDEN BOWERBIRD
Prionodura newtoniana 24 cm

· The Golden Bowerbird is one of 12 bird species endemic to the Wet Tropics
region.

· It is restricted to upland rainforests, where it is numerous above 900 metres
altitude.

· Males in plumage, attained about 7 years of age, may occupy a traditional
bower site.

· The average period of ownership in a study of 46 bowers was 7 years. Some
sites have been occupied by a succession of males for several decades.

· The bower is usually about two metres tall and constructed around two trunks of
saplings connected loosely by a fallen branch. The branch and the towers of
sticks on each side are decorated with lichens and pale flowers or fruits.

· An endemic to Australia, the Golden Bowerbird can be seen in Queensland from
just south of Cooktown to Paluma, generally at altitudes between 900 and 1500m,
but sometimes as low as 700m.
· It is the world’s smallest bowerbird, but it is able to build the largest of all bowers.
The bower represents external symbols of an individual male’s fitness.

· The male Golden Bowerbird builds a maypole type of bower of one or two towers
of sticks up to 3m tall with a display perch. Skilfully laid sticks connect the towers
and decorations are placed on them. These are often white, off-white and pale
green orchids, jasmine, other flowers, seedpods and lichens. The sticks become
glued together by the action of fungi after some time. To maximise the time a male
can spend at a bower, he hides fruits in different places throughout the bower.

· The bower is very important to the bird, and rival males may steal higher valued
decorations from each others’ bowers. This is because the females are
discriminative – they will only select the male who uses ornaments that are the
rarest or hardest to obtain.

· The average life of a bower structure is 9 ½ years, and the same sites are often
used from generation to generation, perhaps for 60 years.

· The male tries to fertilise as many females as possible during each breeding
season. The females assess the males’ vocals, plumage, displays and bower
structure before selecting and mating.

· The mature male is a golden-olive brown colour, with golden yellow underparts,
crown and nape. He has an unusual feather structure that refracts light to produce
pure white highlights on the plumage. When younger, the male looks the same as
the female. Both have a golden iris.

· The female, less conspicuous than the male, is olive-brown with ash-grey below.
She raises the one or two young in a small cup nest in a tree crevice.

· Some Golden Bowerbirds have lived until they are 25 years old – an impressive
age for their small size. The male birds will not start to gain signs of plumage
until they are at least 5 years old.

· In the Wet Tropics, it has been discovered that golden bowerbirds inhabiting
mountain tops just 20km from each other sing quite different songs. In fact, although
the birds behaved aggressively when played tapes of local golden bowerbirds, they
did not respond to the songs of birds from other areas. It is thought that different
populations of these birds, which inhabit cool wet forests above 900m, became
isolated from each other at the end of the ice age as the climate warmed and their
type contracted to mountain tops. (Source: Environmental Protection Agency)

· The best time to see a Golden Bowerbird is in the wetter months from November
to January. This is when males are active building bowers and females are
nesting.

· The Golden Bowerbird eats fruit most of the time, but also beetles and cicadas.

· Its voice croaks and mimics.

January 22, 2010

Be kind, your turn is coming

Patience is something you admire greatly in the person behind you but not in the person in front of you

January 21, 2010

A conversation with the bull

To get to the viewing hide (blind) at Miranda to see the shore birds, you have to walk through a pasture. In said pasture number of cattle graze.
I assumed they were cattle until I was standing among them.
That close up it became obvious that these cattle were actually bulls. they still had all their original equipment and attitude.
We had our on little Mexican standoff.
So I did what came naturally and shot the bull.

Photo by Anne

January 18, 2010

Three rules for gift wrapping an elephant

Rule one - you aren't going to surprise anyone.
Rule two - it takes a LOT of wrapping paper
Rule three - use solid colours, it's slimming.

January 15, 2010

takahe


takahe
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Takahe is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand.
They were thought to be extinct but were rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains, on the south island.
About 220 remain and 20 were relocated to Tiritiri Matangi where we saw them.

This is Fred, he has become acclimatized to people and hangs around the picnic tables at the visitors centre. He can be dangerous as he will run up you to get at the food in your hand and the claws can do a fair amount of damage.

The takahe is about 25 inches long (60-65 cm) and weighs about 6lbs (2.7kg).

January 13, 2010

Dial "M for Murder" or maybe "T"

I hope this doesn't mean what it seems to mean at first glance.

Hopefully it is an insect exterminator. Or maybe a take off of the classic movie "Dial M for Murder"

January 12, 2010

Ride em cowboy!


Ride em cowboy!
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
If I remember correctly this is a wagtail.
The bird, not the cow. I was hoping to get a shot of a cattle egret standing on a cow but it didn't happen.
Does this make him a "cowbird"?

January 11, 2010

Catch 22


Catch 22
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
The disabled access is at the top of the stairs.
I am assuming everyone know the meaning of a catch 22 - a no win situation.

January 08, 2010

red legged pademelon


red legged pademelon
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
A small marsupial, you can see the "joey" in the pouch. Ne maybe on his way out, the pouch looks like it's dragging on the ground.

We saw these on the Atherton table lands near Cairns Australia

January 07, 2010

You don't see this every day.

Strange variation in languages. Need your ears pierced, go see a piercing doctor.
Need a cooler, buy a chilly bin and so many more.

January 06, 2010

All right Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up

A kea, the snow parrot of New Zealand posed so nicely I was compelled to take the portrait.

Kea are indigenous to New Zealand and are omnivores and will eat most anything

January 05, 2010

Larry, Curly and Moe


Larry, Curly and Moe
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
of the Fjordland crested penguin clan.

We saw three varieties of penguins in the wild on our vacation, the fjordland, little blue and the yellow eyed.

For no good reason these three reminded me of the Three Stooges.

There are about 2500 pairs of Fjordland crested penguins left. They stand approx 17" tall and wigh about 8 pounds.

Larry, Curly and Moe


Larry, Curly and Moe
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
of the Fjordland crested penguin clan.

We saw three varieties of penguins in the wild on our vacation, the fjordland, little blue and the yellow eyed.

For no good reason these three reminded me of the Three Stooges.

There are about 2500 pairs of Fjordland crested penguins left. They stand approx 17" tall and wigh about 8 pounds.

Larry, Curly and Moe


Larry, Curly and Moe
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
of the Fjordland crested penguin clan.

We saw three varieties of penguins in the wild on our vacation, the fjordland, little blue and the yellow eyed.

For no good reason these three reminded me of the Three Stooges.

There are about 2500 pairs of Fjordland crested penguins left. They stand approx 17" tall and wigh about 8 pounds.

January 04, 2010

Frosty? Frosty?!!!!


Frosty? Frosty?!!!!
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Kiwis don't know frosty from Frosty the Snowman.
How about us Canadians, freezing rain, snow, slush sometimes all at the same time?
WE know frosty, slippery, slick, treacherous, skid and slide. They don't even know about window scrapers.