Monday, July 20, 2015

Australia: Interlude with Waterfowl

Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa)
September 18, 2013, found us back in suburban Perth after three days of hectic wildflower-watching in the rich coastal heathlands to the north.  This was, mostly, a day of recuperation, but I did have a chance for a stroll along a nearby stream where (for a change!) the chief objects of interest were not flowers, but birds: nothing unusual, mind you, but we non-Australians don't get to see a Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa) every day.

The stream (I can't even tell you precisely where it was - as I said, we were on a break) wound through a patch of paperbark woodland, and its thick grassy banks provided shelter for a number of waterfowl.

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Purple Swamphens (Porphyrio porphyrio) stalked through the shallow water...

Common Coot (Fulica atra)
...while Common Coots (Fulica atra) swam among the floating vegetation.

 Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa)
 The Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) is, pretty much, the Australian equivalent of a Mallard.

Possible Grey Teal X Pacific Black Duck
This bird gave me a bit of identification trouble, but I believe that it may be a hybrid between a Pacific Black Duck and a Grey Teal (Anas gracilis).  It doesn't quite match either species; any thoughts?

Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides)
Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides)
Much more obvious is the handsome Australian or Chestnut-breasted Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides), one of Australia's handsomest ducks.  The white eye-ring, extensive chestnut breast and white feathering around the base of the bill mark this as a female.

Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes)
Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes)
A Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes), the commoner of Australia's two spoonbills in the southwest, prefers to forage in muddy water; you can see the result in the staining around its head.

And that's about it for the 18th, other than the fact that (to my horror) my monopod literally snapped in two, depositing my camera on the cement pathway beside the stream and doing in my telephoto lens.  Once I recovered from that, we did take a brief run down to Fremantle, where we checked out the ferry to Rottnest Island (not running; I got there later, as you will see), and Eileen demonstrated the popularity of kangaroo paws (of various species and varieties) as bedding plants.  As I said in the title, this was an interlude.

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