Saturday, July 09, 2016

A First Attempt At Birding (updated)

Today we spent a couple hours in the Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat. It is a modest (19 acre) park about four minutes from the house. We've arrived in Australia in time for breading season, and the Australian White Ibis (a.k.a. the Sacred Ibis) were in full breeding plumage and were clearly frisky on their nests. In fact, there was lots of squabbling about who was going to be in what nest with what partner.

These birds were busy and raucous and a real pleasure to simply sit and watch.


The male Australian White Ibis secures a pairing territory on a branch of a tall tree in order to attract a female. The courtship ceremony involves the male putting on a noisy display, as well as showing aggression towards other males. When a female arrives, the male attracts her by bowing from his branch. He then offers the female a twig, forging a bond when she grasps it and they begin to preen one another. Once the pair bond is cemented, the birds fly off to build a nest at another location.
Upon leaning this, I went back to the photos and found the twig exchange!

Elsewhere in the park, were cormorants. The Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants were sunning themselves out by lake under the supervision of an Ibis.

On shore were Masked Lapwings

and in between, along the shore, we find the Purple Swamp Hen.

A great afternoon in a quiet park with only the birds to keep us company. E had a great session with 10 new birds. Not bad for an afternoon in a city park. Imagine what we'll see when we really try!