Readers’ wildlife photos

Most of these photos arrived in the last few days; I’ll soon get to the backlog, but wanted to put these up before (as I’m wont to do) I lose them!

Reader Chris Taylor in Oz sent three cool birds:

After your request for some more wildlife pictures, here are a few to demonstrate that not everything in Australia is dangerous!  The photos were taken by myself and my wife Jayne at our home near Canberra.

The first two are King Parrots,Alisterus scapularis, a male and a female, that were making free with tomatoes in our garden.  The male is the one with the red head and bill.  The female has the green head and pale bill.  They are quite common along the east coast of Australia, and the Great Dividing Range from the south to the Queensland, but are missing from parts of the tropical coast. The way the male in this picture looks makes me think he looks a bit contrite about being caught so red-handed.

King Parrot IMG_9130 #3
King Parrot IMG_9131 #1

The other photo is of a Flame Robin. Petroica phoenicea, sitting on the fence wire of our place.

Their distribution is the New South Wales and Victoria ranges and coastal areas, but mostly in the cooler parts around the snowy mountains.  We see them here near Canberra mostly in the winter months. The local ones migrate up to the high peaks in the spring, and come back again as the temperature drops.  Seeing the first ones arrive on our farm, we know that winter is really here.

Flame Robin IMG_7148

Will somebody please invite me to give some talks in Australia so I can see all these wonderful creatures?

Reader Randy Schenck sent some pelican pix:

Around 3:30 PM a large group of American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) landed on the lake.  It is very warm and humid today in Southwest Iowa so it’s surprising to see these on the move.  I estimate this group to be around 75 strong, but they stay too bunched up to count.  Sometimes they stay overnight and there have been some that stayed a few days and got in a little fishing.  Most likely they just want to rest up and move on.  I am taking the photos from the house as I do not want to spook them. In the last photo you can see that many of them are going to sleep.
Pelicans 4 Sept. 2015 #2 009
Pelicans 4 Sept. 2015 #2 010
Pelicans 4 Sept. 2015 #2 013
Two birds from Stephen Barnard. Let’s see if you can tell which raptor is which, for we’ve had plenty of photos of these on this site:
Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) and Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).
RT9A6744 (1)


  1. TJR
    Posted September 7, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I was recently an accessory to pigeoncide. I used to throw old bits of bread into the garden and a fat pigeon ate a lot of it, then a few weeks ago I looked out to see a bird looking very much like the hawks in the pictures above, sitting in a pile of grey feathers. I gave what was left of the pigeon a decent burial.

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted September 7, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I would think that the parrots would go for the ripe tomatoes, but I do not know what it is like to be a parrot.

    • Chris Taylor
      Posted September 8, 2015 at 2:38 am | Permalink

      They don’t get much chance to get at our ripe tomatoes – we get them off the plants early to stop too much loss. But we don’t begrudge losing a few when we see these birds around in the garden.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted September 7, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    So the 1st is Swainson’s and the 2nd is Red-tailed, right?

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted September 7, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Right. Immature Red-tailed.

  4. Diane G.
    Posted September 8, 2015 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    Oh, sweet, Aussie birds! I spend a lot of time watching a couple of bird feeder webcams in NSW–the King Parrots are a somewhat rare, thrilling sight at one of them. That male does have the cutest expression. Always love to see the psittacines using their feet as “hands.” So far as I can tell Flame Robins do not occur at the web-cams, more’s the pity.

    Randy, what a big flock of pelicans–such a treat to see!

    Stephen, love your BIF hawks, as always. Especially like that lethal landing gear on the Swainson’s!

  5. John Scanlon, FCD
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    For a minute I thought Chris T had got the sexes misidentified, but I was confusing Kings with Eclectus Parrots, where the colour dimorphism goes the other way (female with red head, but both very spectacular). At my mum’s place on the south coast of NSW, Kings are one of a number of bird species that come to the feeder on the front porch. They frequently get chased off by the much smaller but more aggressive Rainbow Lorikeets (which are one of the examples you wouldn’t pick to demonstrate that not everything in Australia is dangerous).

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