gemfyre: (Curlew Sandpiper)
NOTE : Ugh, this one sat around, about 3 quarters complete for months. I finally got up the motivation to finish it off. This one is looong, I have a special interest in migratory waders. :)

When learning birds, groups like parrots and large waterfowl are easy. Birders dread having to ID Little Brown Jobs, Pelagics (the hardest group in my opinion) and Migratory Waders.

The Trials of Life for a Migratory Wader

Migratory Waders breed in the northern hemisphere, mostly on the Siberian Tundra, many fly way up into the Arctic Circle. They live in an endless summer. Summer on the Tundra means hordes of mosquitoes, which provides easy food for breeding pairs and newly hatched young. Once the summer begins to draw to a close and the hatchlings (often referred to as runners in the wader world) fledge, they all take off to wing thier way south once more. How the youngsters know where to go - nobody really knows.

The trip south is usually non-stop - the birds have gorged on insects in the north and can make it all the way in one go and gorge again once they get to "macrobenthically diverse" (i.e. they have lots of little critters living in them) mudflats such as Roebuck Bay. Roebuck Bay is situated on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway - they flyway I'm most familiar with. Other birds will fly up the eastern side of Australia and across the Pacific Ocean, some fly between Africa and Europe and some fly between the Americas.

The story gets a bit depressing here... )
Identification )
Banding & Flagging )
Large Waders )
Medium Waders )
Small Waders )
Plovers )
gemfyre: (Ruddy Turnstone)
Waders are close to my heart. I got to know them well during my time Broome. Whilst many of the waders seen in Australia are migratory, there are some that prefer to remain in our sunny country all year 'round. All of them can be found in and around Perth (although some are rarer than others).

Unlike migratory waders, which are often in their drab brownish-grey non-breeding plumage by the time they get to Australia, the residents tend to regale themselves year-round in a colour scheme of black, white, red and sometimes yellow. This makes them A LOT easier to tell apart than the migratory waders (which I will cover in a later lesson - because I love 'em!)

(For those who notice - I deliberately didn't include Stone Curlews)

Stilts and Plovers and Oystercatchers and Lapwings - Oh my! )
gemfyre: (Ruddy Turnstone)
Waders are close to my heart. I got to know them well during my time Broome. Whilst many of the waders seen in Australia are migratory, there are some that prefer to remain in our sunny country all year 'round. All of them can be found in and around Perth (although some are rarer than others).

Unlike migratory waders, which are often in their drab brownish-grey non-breeding plumage by the time they get to Australia, the residents tend to regale themselves year-round in a colour scheme of black, white, red and sometimes yellow. This makes them A LOT easier to tell apart than the migratory waders (which I will cover in a later lesson - because I love 'em!)

(For those who notice - I deliberately didn't include Stone Curlews)

Stilts and Plovers and Oystercatchers and Lapwings - Oh my! )
gemfyre: (Marsh Sandpiper)
Well, gulls and terns to be precise. The seabirds you're likely to see on the beach. Birds like albatrosses and petrels are found further offshore and tend to only come to the coast if they are very ill.

Should they be served with wafers? )
gemfyre: (Marsh Sandpiper)
Well, gulls and terns to be precise. The seabirds you're likely to see on the beach. Birds like albatrosses and petrels are found further offshore and tend to only come to the coast if they are very ill.

Should they be served with wafers? )
gemfyre: (Y Hello Thar Burrowing Owl)
Or Honeyeaters, if you prefer. In the Americas there are Hummingbirds. In Africa and South-east Asia above the Wallace Line are Sunbirds. And in Australia and the islands above us, there are Honeyeaters. Despite being called honeyeaters, most species are not averse to taking insects to supplement their diets, and many like a bit of soft fruit too for variety.

Australia has a large selection of Honeyeaters. Most of them being small, flitty birds. The exceptions to the rule are the Wattlebirds in the south and the Friarbirds in the north, which are large and boisterous. You can find many different honeyeaters in Perth and it's surrounds.

Sugar... ah Honey Honey )
gemfyre: (Y Hello Thar Burrowing Owl)
Or Honeyeaters, if you prefer. In the Americas there are Hummingbirds. In Africa and South-east Asia above the Wallace Line are Sunbirds. And in Australia and the islands above us, there are Honeyeaters. Despite being called honeyeaters, most species are not averse to taking insects to supplement their diets, and many like a bit of soft fruit too for variety.

Australia has a large selection of Honeyeaters. Most of them being small, flitty birds. The exceptions to the rule are the Wattlebirds in the south and the Friarbirds in the north, which are large and boisterous. You can find many different honeyeaters in Perth and it's surrounds.

Sugar... ah Honey Honey )
gemfyre: (Marsh Sandpiper)
There are some birds called Herons, and there are some birds called Egrets. But like dove and pigeon, heron and egret are essentially interchangeble. Egrets tend to be larger and more slender, with long necks while most herons are stocky and short necked. These birds are often found near water, and usually adopt a stalk and snatch hunting strategy.

Long legs and necks ahoy )
gemfyre: (Marsh Sandpiper)
There are some birds called Herons, and there are some birds called Egrets. But like dove and pigeon, heron and egret are essentially interchangeble. Egrets tend to be larger and more slender, with long necks while most herons are stocky and short necked. These birds are often found near water, and usually adopt a stalk and snatch hunting strategy.

Long legs and necks ahoy )
gemfyre: (Y Hello Thar Burrowing Owl)
I should have posted this set a couple of months back (you will find out why when you read about the first bird). But, better late than never I suppose.

A close relative, a native and a well known feral )
gemfyre: (Y Hello Thar Burrowing Owl)
I should have posted this set a couple of months back (you will find out why when you read about the first bird). But, better late than never I suppose.

A close relative, a native and a well known feral )
gemfyre: (White-bellied Sea Eagle)
This will be the first installment of raptors, I plan to have two more. Two of the birds here are very common around Perth, the other two are not as abundant, but still quite visible if you know where they are. Being raptors they require large territories to hunt so you usually won't see more than one or two birds at a time. The falcons are identified by their sleek shape, speedy flight and, if you can get close enough to see it, a notch on the beak called the "tomial tooth".

Among them the fastest animal in the world. )

For those that are wondering, the bird in my icon is a White-bellied Sea-eagle, which won't be featured in this series as it isn't very common around Perth.
gemfyre: (White-bellied Sea Eagle)
This will be the first installment of raptors, I plan to have two more. Two of the birds here are very common around Perth, the other two are not as abundant, but still quite visible if you know where they are. Being raptors they require large territories to hunt so you usually won't see more than one or two birds at a time. The falcons are identified by their sleek shape, speedy flight and, if you can get close enough to see it, a notch on the beak called the "tomial tooth".

Among them the fastest animal in the world. )

For those that are wondering, the bird in my icon is a White-bellied Sea-eagle, which won't be featured in this series as it isn't very common around Perth.
gemfyre: (Frogs)
Cormorants are those birds you always see by waterways hanging themselves out to dry. For some strange reason a cormorant's feathers lack the waterproof oiling that birds like ducks have, so after a dive for a feed they must dry their feathers out by holding out their wings. Many people refer to cormorants as shags, at the moment, Australia has no shags (but the names change regularly, older people still call Little Black Cormorants, Little Shags and things like that). There are however actual shags elsewhere in the world. Really, there probably isn't a difference between a cormorant and a shag, just like doves and pigeons and egrets and herons are essentially the same thing.

The Perth area has four species of Cormorant and one species of Darter, which is a close relative.

Just hangin' out to dry )
gemfyre: (Frogs)
Cormorants are those birds you always see by waterways hanging themselves out to dry. For some strange reason a cormorant's feathers lack the waterproof oiling that birds like ducks have, so after a dive for a feed they must dry their feathers out by holding out their wings. Many people refer to cormorants as shags, at the moment, Australia has no shags (but the names change regularly, older people still call Little Black Cormorants, Little Shags and things like that). There are however actual shags elsewhere in the world. Really, there probably isn't a difference between a cormorant and a shag, just like doves and pigeons and egrets and herons are essentially the same thing.

The Perth area has four species of Cormorant and one species of Darter, which is a close relative.

Just hangin' out to dry )
gemfyre: (Tawny Frogmouths)
Wow, I finally managed to get it up. The plan was to go through all the non-passerines and then move on to passerines. But I really wanted to do this set, so dammit I'm doing it.

Now, I hear you saying, "Passerines? Non-passerines? What the hell are you on about?" Non-passerines (they come first in the taxonomy, because they are 'older' evolution-wise) and Passerines are the two groups of birds. Passerines are also known as perching birds or songbirds. Both names are pretty misleading because some non-passerine birds perch and sing quite prettily. There are some non-passerines (ravens and crows come to mind) who desperately need singing lessons. The real difference comes in the developed syrinx (a bit like our larynx, which allows for all the singing) and altricial young. Oh gee, here she goes with another weird word. Altricial is the opposite of precocial. Chickens, ducks and geese provide excellent examples of precocial young. They hatch fully feathered and are able to run around and feed themselves within a matter of minutes. Altricial young hatch ugly and featherless. They gape in the nest so the parent birds know where to put the food and take a while to grow feathers.

Okay, now you've learned a few new words to impress people at the next dinner party. As they say.

Today I'm going to talk to you about a bunch of birds many birders refer to as "LBJs", which stands for "Little Brown Jobs". In Australia, many of these guys aren't that brown, some are quite colourful (well the males at least are). What they are is small, and they have a tendency to hang around in trees and hide behind leaves. They're the birds that are all around you, but you probably won't notice them unless you're looking for them. The big thing is these guys is learning their calls. Once you know the calls you at least then know what you're looking for and thus where to look. I've selected the most common LBJs in the metro area for this post. I may do a post later covering some of the not so common ones.

Tweeter-tweetle )
gemfyre: (Tawny Frogmouths)
Wow, I finally managed to get it up. The plan was to go through all the non-passerines and then move on to passerines. But I really wanted to do this set, so dammit I'm doing it.

Now, I hear you saying, "Passerines? Non-passerines? What the hell are you on about?" Non-passerines (they come first in the taxonomy, because they are 'older' evolution-wise) and Passerines are the two groups of birds. Passerines are also known as perching birds or songbirds. Both names are pretty misleading because some non-passerine birds perch and sing quite prettily. There are some non-passerines (ravens and crows come to mind) who desperately need singing lessons. The real difference comes in the developed syrinx (a bit like our larynx, which allows for all the singing) and altricial young. Oh gee, here she goes with another weird word. Altricial is the opposite of precocial. Chickens, ducks and geese provide excellent examples of precocial young. They hatch fully feathered and are able to run around and feed themselves within a matter of minutes. Altricial young hatch ugly and featherless. They gape in the nest so the parent birds know where to put the food and take a while to grow feathers.

Okay, now you've learned a few new words to impress people at the next dinner party. As they say.

Today I'm going to talk to you about a bunch of birds many birders refer to as "LBJs", which stands for "Little Brown Jobs". In Australia, many of these guys aren't that brown, some are quite colourful (well the males at least are). What they are is small, and they have a tendency to hang around in trees and hide behind leaves. They're the birds that are all around you, but you probably won't notice them unless you're looking for them. The big thing is these guys is learning their calls. Once you know the calls you at least then know what you're looking for and thus where to look. I've selected the most common LBJs in the metro area for this post. I may do a post later covering some of the not so common ones.

Tweeter-tweetle )
gemfyre: (Mala)
Before we start, there is no fundamental difference between a dove and a pigeon. The birds in this family called pigeons are often larger while the doves are more petite, but this doesn't always stand. The Perth area is home to 5 species of dove/pigeon, 3 of them feral (and the two native ones are hard to find in the metro area).

Coo-coo C-joob )
gemfyre: (Mala)
Before we start, there is no fundamental difference between a dove and a pigeon. The birds in this family called pigeons are often larger while the doves are more petite, but this doesn't always stand. The Perth area is home to 5 species of dove/pigeon, 3 of them feral (and the two native ones are hard to find in the metro area).

Coo-coo C-joob )
gemfyre: (Ground Parrot)
This is probably an edition everyone's looking forward to, because everyone seems to love parrots. They're gregarious and pretty and easy to see and identify. But you may be surprised to discover that there are more parrots in the metro area than you think, and the majority of them are dwindling rapidly due to one particular introduced parrot...

Who is the culprit? )

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