As the sun rises a pair of Australian ringneck parrots head to a local dam for a morning drink in Bowra Station, Queensland.
Congratulations to this week’s AG Flickr group member Peter Taylor, for his image, ‘Australian ringneck parrots’.
Says Peter, an amateur wildlife photographer from Brisbane:
“During May 2014, I visited Bowra Station, an Australian Wildlife Conservancy property west of Cunnamulla, Queensland.
The primary purpose of this visit was to see and hopefully photograph some of the extraordinary birds that call Bowra Station their home.
Early one morning I set up a fairly crude hide constructed from an esky, spare clothing, and few branches beside a small dam not far from the homestead.
One of the visitors to the dam that morning was a pair of Australian ringneck parrots (Barnardius zonarius), which after much wary watching, ventured out onto the submerged logs in the centre of the dam.
The scene of the beautifully illuminated parrots drinking so gracefully is a sight I will hopefully never forget and cherish to the end of my days.
Perhaps what I enjoy most about this image is the diffuse background forming a counterpoint to the water falling from the front parrot’s beak.
I am grateful for the kind advice of ‘Birds Queensland’ and AWC staff that made this shot possible.”
American goldfinch relish native vegetation and thistle seed. (Roz Schrank/Special to The Plain Dealer).
by James M. McCarty
It’s my little slice of Heaven, my own private nature preserve, my escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
It’s my backyard, a plot of native shrubs, trees and wildflowers skirted by a deer-proof fence and surrounded by towering oaks, maples and pines.
And it’s surprisingly birdy for an urban setting in Cleveland’s Kamm’s Corners neighborhood, but blessed by its proximity to the Rocky River Reservation located across the busy street – a testament to my belief that if you provide food and native vegetation, the birds will come.
American robins are common thrush, but welcome additions to any backyard habitat. (Roz Schrank/Special to The Plain Dealer)
When I arrived two years ago, the backyard was a blank slate of grass.
I immediately started digging swaths of gardens and planting: a red oak, wild black and choke cherries, dogwood shrubs, serviceberry, spice bush, purple and prairie coneflower, New England aster, butterfly and swamp milkweed, goldenrod, bee balm, trumpet honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, cardinal flower, and wild blue lobelia.
I enhanced the bird-friendly flora with banks of seed, suet and hummingbird feeders, plus three wren houses.
For the first time this spring, I offered a banquet of sliced oranges, and Ashley Heeney whipped up a batch of bird chow we discovered at feeding stations in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas: a concoction of suet, peanut butter and corn meal.
Pileated woodpeckers are expanding their territories and sometimes show up at backyard feeders. (Chuck Slusarczyk Jr./Special to The Plain Dealer).
The results have been just short of spectacular. Up to five Baltimore orioles at a time gobbled the oranges.
And after they left, red-bellied woodpeckers replaced them at the slices – an identical phenomenon to one described online by Lorain County Metro Parks naturalist Tim Fairweather.
The bird chow, slathered into a feeding log constructed by my son Kyle, continues to be a hit with the hairy, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers.
What a thrill it was last week when I surprised a pileated woodpecker on the feeding block.
Robins regularly feed underneath, picking up the crumbs that drop to the ground.
Bright and Beautiful, with a lovely red beak for killing, the oriental dwarf kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) is a pocket-sized predator.
Found all over Southeast Asia where the rainforests are dense and shady, this 13cm-long creature hunts by small streams and ponds to maintain its rich diet of geckos, crabs, snails, frogs, and spiders.
It captures its meals by hovering or perching above the water, and once it spots its prey, dives deep into the water at speeds of over 40km/h.
A major challenge in taking its chase from the air to the water is mitigating the dramatic change in light refraction, which creates a lot of glare.
To combat this, each of the kingfisher’s eyes contain two foveae – a structure that’s particularly dense in light-collecting photoreceptors – and the kingfisher can switch from one to the other as it transitions into the water.