Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year

New Year is a wonderful time for birding. A line is drawn under last year’s bird list and, with just one tick of the clock, everything old is new again. The bird seen yesterday is just “so last year”. On New Year’s Day it is a new bird for a new list.

As with last year my year started with friends at the Western Treatment Plant and a lovely sight to start the day was new life on display – the Brolga have a baby and it is so new it couldn’t even fly.
Brolga with one new baby


The Stubble Quail were happy too and their calls resounded across the paddocks and wader ponds all around the WTP.
Male Stubble Quail

Female Stubble Quail

The tourists are in town in force and there are more Marsh Sandpipers around than I have seen in the past 10 years. There are lots of the more uncommon waders too with Red Knot, Grey Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Far Eastern Curlew, Pectoral, Broad-billed and Long-toed Sandpipers all strutting, preening and being seen in all the best feeding spots, just as all tourists do when they go to a beach resort in summer.
Pectoral Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper (l) and Marsh Sandpiper (r)

Long-toed Sandpiper

Broad-billed Sandpiper and two Red-necked Stints

The local Swamp Harriers have many degrees of plumage colour and this one was so dark we thought at first it was a Black Falcon but the yellow cere and pale feathers on the crown quickly gave it away.
Swamp Harrier

And when you put a Swamp Harrier among the visiting wader the result is quite spectacular.
Swamp Harrier amongst the waders

While most birds are in strong breeding colours the White-winged Black terns are still in their non-breeding colours and hanging out on the road with the Whiskered Terns.
White-winged Black Tern

But sadly the weather on New Year’s Day fell apart at 1215, just as we were sitting down to have lunch with faux champagne, nuts and fruit, and what started out as deck chairs and beach umbrellas ended up with us huddled in the bird hide. Still, the view and company were spectacular and what more could one want ... apart from some sunshine?
The picnic lunch

Another youngster to make an appearance was this stranger. All the rabbits at WTP are the common brown/grey type but this cute little guy dashed across the track and, despite the fact that they are a pest species, she just looked so young and cuddly, just like a toy from some-ones christmas stocking. I couldn’t think a bad thought about her and have decided she was an omen for 2014 – it is going to be young and full of fun, and even the common place will be bright and different.
Cinnamon Rabbit

Happy New Year Everyone and I hope you all have heaps of good fortune and new birds.

All text & images © Jenny Spry


  1. Sounds like a great start to your year - although I guess it will take a bit of work to equal 2013.

    1. Thanks HW, it will take a bit of "work" but I plan to try and do as well in 2014, I am having too much fun to slow down (smile).

  2. Beautiful photos - the Brolgas are lovely! and the cinnamon rabbit is super cute for an invasive species. Happy New Year.

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