Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wonga Pigeon RIP

As should be evident from the title of this post, it contains images of a freshly deceased bird.
There is no better opportunity to study details of birds which one can not normally see.
If this is likely to offend you, please come back to this blog on another occasion.
One of my local Wonga Pigeons flew into a window on my back deck. It died almost instantly - it fell just 2 metres from the window, but off to the side. So clearly it was flying across the back deck and I stood where it had apparently come from, and clearly it was confused by the reflection of some flowering wattle trees below the house. In other words, it did not see the window, and instead thought it was flying towards those trees. Bang. Dead. Stone dead.

The strongly marked belly and under-tail coverts
(feathers of the underneath side of the bird)
apparently act to camouflage the bird when it is nesting,
as Wonga Pigeons raise their tails when nesting,
and when they land on a branch.
(HJ Frith "Pigeons and Doves of Australia" P.285)
Wonga Pigeons walk just about everywhere. So it is hardly surprising that its feet are well adapted to that lifestyle. The toes are spread wide, and they have nails which are strong, but not grasping claws. These are "walking feet",

As such the structure of the Wonga's feet is quite unlike "perching birds" (passerines) and very different from the grasping toes and talons of Owls or Hawks. This Pigeon's toes are strong, individual toes, in a 3 forward: 1 hind toe arrangement which is a classic bird arrangement (think of a Chook's feet).
Toe structure of a Wonga Pigeon.
In that sense, they differ from Parrots. "Parrots have two forward pointing toes (which are relatively long), and two thicker, stronger, backward pointing toes ("zygodactyly"). When the foot is closed, the forward pointing toes nestle in between the two rear toes. The claws on the rear toes are very powerful." See this image by way of contrast.

Here is a close-up of the head of the Wonga Pigeon.
The beak is that of a seed eater. The soft tissues around the nostrils and the eyes are a delicate pink flesh. as are the legs.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wet week in August 2014 in Robertson

Here is a video taken at Carrington Falls by Benjamin Hansen.
Click on the word "post" - it is a hot link and will open the video of Carrington Falls in full flood on 18 August 2014.
Post by Benjamin Hansen.

Fitzroy Falls in full flood.
19 August 2014
Photo by Beth Boughton
The reason there is so much water is because of the rainfall we got: 54mm, 162mm, and then 108mm. It has been raining a bit since then, but not nearly as much.

Here is another link to a video from Fitzroy Falls also posted by Beth Boughton on 19 August 2014.