Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rottnest Island - Wildlife - Birds

I have been to Rottnest before - actually twice - but I have never really been going hard for the bird life. Last time I was there, however, I saw the Bridled Terns flying around at West End and must admit that if there was ever an epiphany bird moment during my stay in Australia that would probably have to be it. I managed to get a crappy picture of one of the flying Bridled Terns with my point and shoot and realized I would be needing to upgrade to something with more reach and less shutter lag - so those Bridled Terns have quite a bit to answer for ;-)

This year the weather was not on my side, but still there were lots of feathered action. As already revealed the inland salt lakes proved most rewarding. New habitat equals new birds! indeed 5 of them, 4 at the salt lakes and a White-fronted Chat at West End:
Red-capped Plover
Banded Stilt
Fairy Tern
White-fronted Chat

Apart from the new ones there were also a few good old ones that I have seen at Rottnest before, like the Bridled Tern that was slightly timid by the rain and therefore not as easily photographed. Also a couple of Banded Lapwing got sufficiently close for a tight crop.

The White-fronted Chat gave a bit of gray hair before it all worked out. At first we saw a female sitting facing away from us on the boardwalk at West End. I had absolutely no idea what it was, but I realized that it was something I had not seen before. After using a significant fraction of my lunch break running around trying to get a picture of the "mystery bird" I realized that I had changed the settings on the camera for a group shot and not changed aperture and ISO back so I had 30 blurry pictures of a grayish blob - not happy - The bird had flown off and I had no proof! While walking back after lunch suddenly a male bird landed in front of us, the male was very easy identifiable and I managed to get a few shots before it took off, walking another 3 meters and there was a sign alerting the visitor to the presence of White-fronted Chat in this particular area - how right that sign was :-D

Not bad at all, Rottnest delivered on all fronts and our Western Australia trip was off to a super duper start. A quick ferry ride home and there would be roast beef for dinner - Verdensklasse! :-)

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