The African penguin is commonly known by people as the "jackass" penguin. This nickname came about due the bray noise the penguins use to communicate with one another. Currently, scientist are recording the different calls the penguins produce to try and decphier the meaning of each one.
While looking striking, Arctic Terns have quite the temper. While walking around Vigur Island I saw first hand as they repeated tried to peck my head. Thankfully these two decided to have a go at each other rather than me for a change 😳
Forever resembling a living peep, the Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) has long been cloaked in mystery. Well, its migratory habits have been, anyway. Like a great many warblers, it was known that prothonotaries spent their time in South America, but where? In 2014, Audubon ornithologists took advantage of technological advancements in geotagging to pull back that cloak. These handsome warblers weigh in at just about 15 grams, so the weight of the tags could not be a burden. Just fewer than 50 prothonotaries were captured that fall and fitted with tiny geolocator 'backpacks' ... and off they went. In the spring, 15 geotags were recovered (one off of a prothonotary named 'Longshot' in Francis Beidler Swamp in SC, where I have photographed a few of these beautiful warblers!). And so to where did the birds fly over the winter? To northern Columbia. The journeys took upwards of three months. No wonder this handsome male is hungry and hunting for insectile treats!
Eastern Whipbird -
The sound of a bush walk. -
Some birds will sit still for a few seconds in order for me to put my mobile phone camera lens against the lens of my binoculars, adjust the two units so I can see an image on the phone and then get the right angle with the now combined unit to find the target and snap a photo. Eastern whipbird is not one of those birds. -
They live in dense vegetation near the ground and they are extremely shy and secretive. I hear them every time I am out bushwalking but my first actual sighting of the bird was in Lane Cove National Park last week. It took me about 30 minutes of sneaking while playing the recorded sound of its own call to get a photo where you can at least get a glimpse of the bird (yes it is there if you zoom in). -
Their familiar call is one of the most distinctive and iconic sounds of the eastern Australian bush (listen to the sound in the video). What I did not know until a few minutes ago is that this song is actually an antiphonal calling, a duet between male and female. A long note followed by an exploding "whip crack" by the male and then an immediate response of 1-4 notes by the female (listen to the sound again). -
Obviously, this is a very coordinated version of the game Marco Polo in order for the shy birds to find each other in the thick undergrowth. I will also try to find the bird again to get some better photos for my collection and next time I hear their call I know I am looking for two birds and not one. -