Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Brothers In Arms - Dire Straits

Another full morning at the

proved to be the right decision, netting me a first 'World Lifer' of the trip. As in previous days I took a look along both sides of the river from the road bridge

with what are becoming the usual contenders, Maned (Wood) Duck, Dusky Moorhen, Rainbow Lorikeet and Laughing Kookaburra seen from that vantage point.

Searching through the Gum Trees bordering the main path Sulphur Cockatoos (one just visible in this shot) were seen, plus what was thought to have been an Australian King Parrot. As the name suggests one of the most magnificent Psittacines, but one that during our last trip out here I was singularly the only person to 'dip' on! Obviously now high on the agenda care had to be taken not just to enter it in the log as thus far only a Parrot with a 'red breast' had been seen. That's when Trudy Robinson appeared and asked if I had seen any Swifts. With no optics she didn't look like your average 'birder' but it soon became apparent she knew her stuff and followed up by asking if I had seen any of the 'Kings' that are now roaming the park. This certainly boosted my confidence as to the identity of the one earlier, but still felt there was need for a positive confirmation. She led me back to where firstly

this male Australian King Parrot was perched,

soon to be joined by this female.

The most obvious difference between the sexes being the males have an all bright red breast and throat,

while the females have green upper breast and throat. Whatever, this was an excellent and an equally good catch up. Having given Trudy my Blog link and e-mail address she then went on to invite me out for a day 'birding' with her, details to be agreed over the telephone later in the day. Unfortunately, an unforeseen circumstance arose precluding that meeting, but we are in touch and Trudy extended the invitation to whenever I can make it. Thank you so much Trudy and looking forward to the day we can get it together!

Hardhead (male).

It being 'mid Winter' here in Sydney there are very few plants in bloom, and while it is not freezing cold I didn't expect to find such a delicate little thing flowering in the 'bush'.

Dusky Woodswallow

This Australian Magpie was most confiding today.

The Red-bellied Black Snake is also called the Common Black Snake. They are distributed down the east coast of Australia (not including Tasmania) and slightly into South Australia. The Red-bellied Black Snake prefers swampy, moist areas around creeks, rivers and lakes. They prey on rats, mice, frogs, lizards and birds, as well as fish and eels. They are good swimmers and can also eat other snakes, including those of their own species. They are mostly active during the day, and are not particularly aggressive. When threatened, they will flatten their bodies and hiss loudly, but will usually attempt to escape if possible.

Red-bellied Black Snakes are usually black or dark grey in colour, with red or orange flanks. The average length is 1.25m and the maximum recorded length is 2.5m. The young, numbering from 12-20, are born alive. This species, while still dangerous, is somewhat less venomous than many other Australian snakes. Average venom yield is around 37mg and the maximum recorded is 94mg. Its bite may cause coagulopathy, neurotoxicity and myolysis. No deaths have been confirmed after bites by this snake. Black Snake or Tiger Snake anti-venom may be used - the latter is preferred due to the smaller volume of protein solution required.

This description, found on the Internet, describes perfectly the Snake in the photograph which given the size must have been a full grown adult.

Common Bronzewing

Little Black Cormorant

Pacific (White-necked) Heron didn't hang around for a second shot.

Since arriving here I have received 13 e-Mails (including 1 from India and 2 from Argentina) in praise of the family photographs, with most requesting more! In the hope they will not be too overbearing I will publish just a few more each day. Thank you all for taking the time to get in touch.

Frederick at the gallop.

Frederick & Alexander enjoying 'all the fun of the fair'.

Some real 'brotherly love'.

Mouth & Eyes wide open - hee, hee!

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