Crows, Currawongs and Choughs

This post parallels my recent Extended Honeyeater family essay and is prompted by the same holiday experiences: visiting Canberra and Victoria before Christmas I saw birds which don’t live around Townsville and wanted to fit them in to my existing knowledge.

It turned out that the birds I was curious about are not all members of the same taxonomic family but all belong to three families within the superfamily Corvoidea, i.e.,

  • Corvidae: crows, ravens (and jays, which don’t occur in Australia)
  • Artamidae: woodswallows, butcherbirds, currawongs and Australian magpie
  • Corcoracidae: white-winged chough and apostlebird

Continue reading “Crows, Currawongs and Choughs”

Tasman National Park

Tasmania has some spectacular scenery and plenty that is not so dramatic but is very beautiful. When I escaped from Hobart for a day just after Easter, I went down to the Tasman Peninsula for a bit of both. This gallery showcases photos I took at a gorgeous bay on the east coast of the peninsula and the next one will show contrasting locations between Dunalley and Eaglehawk Neck.

The beach backs onto a section of the Tasman National Park, so there is a small camping and picnic ground (and walking tracks for those with more time than I had), and there is nothing but State Forest behind the park boundary. The helicopter I saw may have had something to do with logging operations but it was the only jarring intrusion onto the natural landscape. And the weather was gorgeous – paddling-in-the-ocean weather even for a North Queenslander like myself!

stream running past rocks
A small stream runs into the bay midway along the beach
sand and calm sea
Fine white sand delicately decorated by the wavelets
rocky coast backed by forest
Looking from the beach towards the headland
scrub behind beach
Most of the beach was backed by impenetrable scrub like this, with tall eucalypt forest behind it
black-backed gull
Adult Pacific Gull, Larus pacificus, on a rocky reef
two gulls
The juvenile Pacific Gull at left is far larger than the adult Silver Gull, Larus novaehollandiae.
brown gull flying over beach
Juvenile Pacific Gull, Larus pacificus, in flight.
currawong
Grey Currawong, Strepera versicolor, drinking from a puddle beside the campground track

I didn’t have time for a real walk – not even a two hour walk, let alone the two or three day walks that people plan for weeks ahead – but I did try the beginning of one walking track and was rewarded by the sight of a couple of wallabies, one feeding beside the track and the other placidly grooming itself in a nest-like space in the scrub. They were still there when I came back, and posed for a couple more photos.

wallaby
Bennett’s Wallaby aka Red-necked Wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus, near the walking track
wallaby
Bennett’s Wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus, grooming itself in a retreat beside the walking track
wallaby
Bennett’s Wallaby aka Red-necked Wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus, on a walking track near the campground