Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Wild Bird 218 - Bar-shouldered Dove

The call of the Bar-shouldered Dove as a kind of bird call white noise in the Northern Territory - in the end you stop hearing it and only notice it when its not there!

These pictures were all taken at East Point in Darwin, which is a public park.  A number of people found it rather interesting that there was a group of people sporting lenses of various sizes at what is basically one of the commonest birds in the region.  I explained that we were from 'down south' and that seen to suffice.

Both of the Bar-shouldered Doves names (Geopelia humeralis) refer to its shoulders, even if the barring is really on the neck of the bird.

We saw these birds every day and almost everywhere when I was in NT, and despite them being rather common I do like them.  The antics of the pair of birds in the first pictures also made me smile I lot!

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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Rock Art 2 - Contact

In some ways I find this type of Aboriginal rock art the most fascinating - this is Contact Art; rock art that was made in response to the coming of Europeans to Australia. It marks the start of something very new, but in many ways it also marked the ending, or at least change of an almost unthinkable scale, of something so old that most of us can't really get out brains around it.

The aboriginal cultures are the oldest extant cultures on Earth.  We (Australians) would do well to remember that a little more often.

The 'white man' image is one of my favourites as it shows to wonderfully observant features - first the figure as no hands - because the person has their hands in their pockets - and secondly it has very big feet - because the person is wearing boots.  I wonder what thoughts and conversations ran around the fire the night before that painting was made.

The hand / arm images show the fine silk gloves worn by European ladies at the time.

But possibly most remarkable is the image of the boat - this was drawn at a site called Nanguluwr in Kakadu.  This may not be a British ship, but could be Dutch, as these boats had been sailing the waters to the north of Australia for a number of years before Cook 'discovered' the east coast of Australia.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 217 - Magpie Goose

After I posted this image last week, a number of people asked what the birds were and what they looked like.

Well, the birds Magpie Geese (Anseranas semipalmata).  The magpie comes from their black and white colour - almost anything in Australia that is black and white is called a 'Magpie' something.  The Goose come from the way it looks!  The semipalmata of the scientific name refers to the fact the these birds only have half webbed feet.

That feature, and a few others, mean that this species is a bit of a loner in the world of classification - there are no other birds in the genus Anseranas  and in fact this is the only genus in its family as well.  Which leads to the type of conclusion that I love, where the Magpie Goose is neither a Magpie nor a Goose!  (And its not a big duck either!)

Anyway, this bird used to be widespread in SE Australia, but it now only really common in Northern Australia. The large knob on the head of some of these birds show that they are males.

The bird in the last image is a juvenile bird - and does not yet have the white neck of the adult.

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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Rock Art 1

One of the non-birding things I was looking forward to during my recent trip to Darwin was revisiting some rock art sites I had not been to since I owned a digital camera - all the images I had of these places from earlier visits were on slides.  (If you dont know what these are, you are either one of my younger readers, or I much older than I think!)

These images were taken at the famous Ubirr art site in Kakadu.  I will be creating a few posts containing image of rock art - which posses a bit of issue for me.  My understanding of what these images signify is almost nil, so any attempt by me to explain what the images would almost certainly be wrong.  I am also aware that the broad function of much of this art is to allow people to tell their own story - and its not my story to tell.  So, I am going to post the images will minimal comment (except one set) and simply leave it to the images to convey the sophistication of the culture that create them.

The main image on the rock is of a wallaby - possibly Agile Wallaby.  And the white figure, is a white person - I'll post more about that image later.  The Moth is Dysphania unmana or the 4 O'Clock Moth. It gets its common name as it is a day flying moth.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.