We have a potpourri again today. The first couple of photos are from reader Kevin Voges, who lives in Oz. His notes are indented. Imagine seeing these birds every day, as if they were pigeons or starlings in the U.S.!
Here’s a few more photos, this time from our place in Brisbane (Australia).The first is a pale-headed rosella (Platycercus adscitus), first described by the English ornithologist John Latham in 1790, and native to northeastern Australia. This subspecies (palliceps) is also known as the blue-cheeked rosella.
The other three are of the sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), found in Australia, New Guinea and parts of Indonesia. You can see the “gang” that turn up most mornings for breakfast – there’s often a flock close to 100 in the sports field down the road.
The bird perched on the gate is not just waiting his turn. As they are ground feeders, cockatoos have evolved a behavioural adaptation, with at least one of the flock on guard for predators. Old Australian slang used to refer to a person watching out for possible police raids on illegal activities as a cockatoo or cocky.
The last photo is my favourite one – note the extended crest display.
The cage is an attempt to catch (in conjunction with the RSPCA) one of the cockatoos who is infected with Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD). Unfortunately, there is no cure and the virus can spread throughout a flock, so the bird needs to be removed. PBFD is a major threat to wild parrots, with most Australian native species affected.
I’ve seen melanistic (black) squirrels in both Toronto and Ottawa, but here’s a true albino squirrel (note the pink eyes) taken in a park in downtown Toronto on June 30 by Steve Oberski:
Steve noted this:
The woman who feeds this squirrel in the park at the behest of her employer—so that it does not continue to cross a busy street to beg for food at the restaurant where she works—requested that I not identify the specific location for, in her words, there were sickos in the area who would try to capture it.
What a great woman and boss!
Finally, reader Don McCrady sent a lovely space photo; details are given both below and in the caption:
Here’s an astrophoto submission for your consideration. This one is called The Crescent Nebula:
A powerful, yet dying Wolf-Rayet star is responsible for this formation of glowing dust and gas known as the Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888) in the constellation of Cygnus. The star, HD 192163 will eventually end its life as a supernova. The Crescent nebula lies about 5000 light years distant, near the bright star Sadr at the center of the constellation Cygnus.
This image was taken with a Stellarvue SVS130 telescope and an STL-4020M camera with Astrodon Hα and Oxygen-III filters. The colour channels were assigned as: Hα as red, OIII as green, and OIII+12%Hα as blue. The OIII exposure time was almost 7 hours, although the Hα exposure time was only 2 hours due to incoming clouds. The image was processed in Maxim DL and Photoshop CC, and upsampled 2x for the final result.