Readers’ wildlife photos

We have some nice Aussie bird shots today from reader Damon Williford of Texas. His notes and IDs are indented:

Attached are bird photos that I’ve taken in Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW on Nov 10th and 11th. Australia has been on my bucket list of places to visit for a long time, and I decided to do it now rather than putting if off for another 2-3 years. I will have more photos to send in soon.
Pacific Black Duck (Anas supercillosa):
Australiasian Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus):
Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca):
Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides).  The calls of these ravens are very different from North American ravens and crows. The call of an Australian raven sounds like a plaintive croak. It makes me chuckle every time I hear these birds calling.
JAC: Here are some sounds of that raven, though they sound like a cross between a crying baby and a howling cat:

White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae). The first photo shows an adult and the second is a immature bird based on the faded coloration:

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galeritta).  To someone who has lived most of his life in the Northern Hemisphere, seeing cockatoos flying around a modern city is an unusual sight.


  1. Christopher
    Posted November 23, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    It is an interesting comment on our views on the traditional roles of certain animals that the sight of the cockatoo outside in the grass seems bizarre to me too. The only time we northerners see them is in captivity and it does take a mental adjustment to recognize that yes, they are wild somewhere. A not too dissimilar feeling was experienced by me recently when I witnessed cows munching grass peacefully along the side of a highway. Cows are far from exotic but seeing on the “wrong” side of the fence was a bit jarring (luckily they stayed off the highway)…not that cattle are “wild” in any real sense of the word, excepting maybe the white cattle of Chillingham in Northumbria.

    • Posted November 23, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Same with my experiences snorkling in the tropics. ‘Hey, all of these are aquarium fishes!’

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 23, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Yes. I’ve occasionally been somewhere where you could see a small flock of parrots flying around, and I had much the same feeling of strangeness.

      • phil
        Posted November 24, 2017 at 12:32 am | Permalink

        Strangeness. You miss out on some of their more curious behaviour. Sulphur crested cockies were once described as being a cross between an air raid siren and a pair of bolt cutters. Flocks of them are not uncommon in Sydney city (i.e. within a km or two of the CBD). Some years ago it was reported that a flock of them seemed intent on systematically dismantling the roof of the Art Gallery of NSW.

        As for cows beside the road, they can be a serious danger to cars, drivers and passengers in the country. In country areas there are no street lights and people tend to drive fairly fast (long distances to travel).

        Some decades ago my sister hit a heifer while driving in southern NSW at night. Fortunately it was a glancing blow to the car and merely mangled the bonnet, squashed the air filter, and left two dents in the bumper from the animal’s hind legs. Had she hit the animal straight on it probably would have gone through the windshield and killed two of my sisters. Farmers were accused of letting their animals out to graze beside the road because the season had been poor and feed was scarce. The heifer was put down.

        Similar problems exist with kangaroos, but what fence is going to keep them in?

  2. Posted November 23, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Very interesting. Thank you for sharing. The raven does sound very startling.

  3. Mark Joseph
    Posted November 23, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Er, that swamphen’s not on any of today’s menus, is it? 😉

    Very nice pictures. Thank you!

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted November 23, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      In NZ we call it a Takahe. (Tar-car-hey.) It’s protected here.

  4. Posted November 23, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Also on our bucket list for years, finally getting it done this spring (well, fall down there).

  5. yazikus
    Posted November 23, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I could look at bird pictures all day. Speaking of ravens, I found out something rather sad yesterday. Back during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the office of Dr. Beck was taken over by the militants. (She was the carp biologist at the refuge). In her office, she had a taxidermied raven given to her by a grandparent that was gone when she was able to go back. A fellow who was there during the occupation asked about it, and was told it was dispatched with during ‘arms training’ at the boat launch.

  6. stuartcoyle
    Posted November 23, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for these. I noticed when I went to Japan and Europe that the birds there seem much more melodious. Our Australian birds often seem to have harsh or dissonant calls. It is of course just a different sort of music.

    All these species visit my place just outside Brisbane. I will see if I can get some shots of the rarer birds that we see here. Had a beautiful black winged pigeon perched on our back deck yesterday but no camera nearby.

  7. Dave
    Posted November 23, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Dissonant calls? Not the butcher bird, magpie or bell-bird surely?

  8. Posted November 23, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Aus ravens – or wardongs – have such a great call. They sound like an insane demon baby but some how it still sounds funny.

  9. Posted November 23, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t know about swamphens before today. That’s something new to me.

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