Birdlife on the Dam – 2014 (Winter)

The dam in front of the cabin is one of the few large bodies of waters in the surrounding area. A range of interesting birds drop by to visit the permanent flock of ducks, coots, cormorants, willy wagtails and kingfishers that eke out an existence in this peaceful place.

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Due to the proximity of the bunya mountains, king parrots, rainbow lorikeets, honey catchers all visit from time to time as well as cockatoos, galahs, swans and the odd pelican.

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

People think pelican’s are very australian birds but there are actually 8 species spread across the globe (every continent except Antartica). They are an ancient breed whose adaptated elongated bill has stood the test of time though 3 species are now listed as Near Threatened or vulnerable due to human predation, habitat loss, long line fishing and death resulting from bioaccumulation of pesticide/herbicide residues. Our sometime-resident pelican’s feed voraciously when they arrive and certainly seem to find the fish in the dam easy pickings;

The black swans that come at the start of Winter and leave in September are always a treat. The following video shows some close-up footage of these beautiful birds with Spoonbills, Cormorants and a Pacific Heron providing the supporting cast.

I was watching a spoonbill on one occasion feeding in that industrious way they have of flicking their bill back and forward in the mud filtering out little crustaceans, insects, fish and whatever else gets caught I imagine. Anyway, I noticed a pacific heron following the spoonbill and feeding on fish disturbed by the spoonbill. It is something I have since seen on many occasions now and is a fantastic example of symbyosis – two species cooperating for mutual benefit.

I captured it on this video;

Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes) and White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae)

Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes) and White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae)

The drought has brought the water level in the dam to about 30-40%. We are hoping for some serious rain by the end of summer which will start the creeks flowing. This only happens at saturation point and we are a long way from that from recent rainfall. Finger’s crossed in any case – the system could use the refresh..

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