A couple of concealed birds were calling from a thickly-leaved tree. I was walking slowly towards them, when I suddenly realised that my stalking was about to disturb some quieter birds on the ground below. They were a small group of Red-rumped Parrots (Psephotus haematonotus), feeding on the fallen fruit under the tree.
In one of my Tonga posts last year I included a photo of a Manta Ray. In the light of recent publicity about a manta dubbed “Freckles” on Ningaloo reef, I thought it might be a good time to show some more. One disclaimer; I didn’t take any of these manta photos. Vili Takau took them for me using my camera, for reasons I’ll explain later.
Vili’s first photo sets the scene.
Spotted Pardalotes (Pardalotus punctatus) or Diamond Birds are about the size of the Eurasian Wren I described earlier, but whereas the wren is plain brown, pert-tailed and sharp beaked, the pardalote has showy patterning, an almost invisible tail and a rounded beak. The wren sings well too, while the pardalote gives a frequent monotonous 2 or 3 note call (they are also called Headache Birds!) The wren builds a neat little tree-nest whilst the pardalote digs a burrow.
Or maybe that last isn’t absolutely true. After seeing what looked like a mobile jewel case fly down to a hollowed and burnt tree, I went nearer to investigate:
I had originally put these photos aside, thinking they weren’t quite close or sharp enough. However I changed my mind this week, when I received an email from BirdLife Australia nominating the Black-shouldered Kite as their bird of the month.
My photos were taken last month when I went with a couple of friends to Cape Solander. Walking south from the lookout, I saw a white bird in the distance inland that didn’t look like a gull. I took a few photos in the hope that there might be enough detail to identify the bird later.