“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1 John 5:6-7 KJV)
Avian and Attributes – Three (in One)
Three [From Wilson’s Dictionary of Bible Types]
(c) The threes of the Bible represent triads of completeness.
Sometimes it is a triad of good, and sometimes of evil.
– the Trinity of Heaven is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
– the trinity of evil is the devil, the antichrist and the false prophet.
– the trinity of blessing is grace, mercy and peace.
– the trinity of wickedness is the world, the flesh and the devil.
It is interesting to note that the books of first and second Thessalonians are built largely around three-fold statements.
Chapter 1:3, “The work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope.”
Chapter 1:5, “in word . . . in power, and in the Holy Spirit.”
Chapter 1:9, 10, “ye turned . . . to serve . . . and to wait.”
Chapter 2:10, “Holily, justly and unblameably.”
The Tree-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus cinctus) is a species of bird in the Glareolidae family. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Southern Lapwing ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 5/24/16
It is, I regret more than a month since last bird of the “week” so you have probably given me up for lost or worse, unless of course you’ve been so busy too that you haven’t noticed. Anyway, I’m now at Brisbane airport waiting for a flight, so you have my undivided attention for at least half an hour.
I’m continuing the series of global Lapwings, with a South American one, the Southern Lapwing. It’s crest gives it a superficial resemblance to the Northern Lapwing of Eurasia, but it’s not a very close relative and used to be in its own monotypic (single species) genus.
It has a wide distribution from the tip of Tierra del Fuego in the south to Nicaragua in Central America. Interestingly, there are two Lapwing species in South America (the other is the Andean Lapwing) but none in North America, odd given the almost global distribution of Lapwing species so one would wonder how their ancestors got around.
The Southern Lapwing lacks the gentle manners of its Northern counterpart and is noisy and aggressive like the Masked Lapwing of Australia. In fact, in Brazil and Chile it is often kept with wings clipped as a guard ‘dog’. Maybe I should get one to get my own back on my neighbour’s Great Dane who often wakes me in the middle of the night.
Another reason why I’ve been slack about the bird of the week is that I haven’t been doing much bird photography. That I hope is about to change. I’m on my way to Vienna at the moment with the intention of spending a week birding with my sister Gillian in Slovakia en route to my nephew’s wedding in Ireland (her son Ian), so I hope I’ll have some interesting photos for you soon.
And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Lev 11:19 KJV)
I was beginning to wonder where Ian had traveled to, because, like he said, no newsletter had been sent. Glad he is busy, but miss his newsletter adventures. What a beautiful Lapwing.
Like Ian, we haven’t done much birdwatching either. Now that our wintering birds have flown north, except for our locals, birdwatching has slowed down. There are plenty of tales to tell from previous unpublished adventures. So, stay tuned!
And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19 KJV)
The White-crowned Lapwing above was my first Lapwing encountered. They were at the National Aviary in Pittsburg, PA. They are from the tropical regions of Africa and have a diet of insects and other small invertebrates. (Fun Fact from Aviary) ~ White-headed Wattled Lapwings will bravely defend their territories against all comers, even hippos!
Now almost every zoo we visit has at least one species of Lapwing present. We see the Masked Lapwing most frequently. The reason Lapwings are mentioned in the Bible is because it is on the “Do Not Eat” list.
Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) Brevard Zoo by Lee
And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 KJV)
The Masked Lapwings are interesting to watch as they walk around on their long legs and as the “wattle” wiggles.
Vanellinae are any of various crested plovers, family Charadriidae, noted for its slow, irregular wingbeat in flight and a shrill, wailing cry. Its length is 10-16 inches. They are a subfamily of medium-sized wading birds which also includes the plovers and dotterels. The Vanellinae are collectively called lapwings but also contain the ancient Red-kneed Dotterel. A lapwing can be thought of as a larger plover.
The traditional terms “plover”, “lapwing” and “dotterel” were coined long before modern understandings of the relationships between different groups of birds emerged: in consequence, several of the Vanellinae are still often called “plovers”, and the reverse also applies, albeit more rarely, to some Charadriinae (the “true” plovers and dotterels).
In Europe, “lapwing” often refers specifically to the Northern Lapwing, the only member of this group to occur in most of the continent. (Wikipedia)
Here are some photos of Lapwings in the Vanellinae genera.
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Greater Sand Plover ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter ~ 4/14/14
As I mentioned in the last email, I took advantage of a spell of reasonable weather to make a trip to Cairns to take location photos for Where to Find Birds in Northeast Queensland. On the way back, I visited Coquette Point near to check it out as it is listed in the book as a good spot for both mangrove birds and waders. Coquette Point and Flying Fish Point are the charmingly named headlands on the southern and northern banks of the mouth of the Johnstone River on which Innisfail, 100 km south of Cairns, is situated.
Although it mightn’t live up to the dream of an idyllic tropical paradise – I’m still itching from some sandfly bites and there have been recent sightings of Saltwater Crocodiles in the neighbourhood – it did indeed turn out to be good for birds. As well as a pair of Beach Stone-Curlews in the mangroves, there were several pairs of Greater Sand Plovers feeding in the shallows. At this time of the year, many waders are migrating back to their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere and it is a good time to look for ones in breeding plumage, such as the one in the first photo.
In non-breeding plumage most waders are, frankly, drab and often difficult to identify. Here is a Greater Sand Plover in non-breeding plumage on Cape York. This particular individual shows the characteristic long legs and large bill that distinguish it from the very similar Lesser or Mongolian Sand Plover, but Sand Plovers are quite variable in both size and bill length and I’m not always certain of identification, even with the aid of photos.
Here, to illustrate the point, is a pair at Coquette Point. The bird in non-breeding plumage looks smaller than its companion, has the slightly hunched posture of the Lesser Sand Plover but its large bill, and guilt by association, would indicate a Greater.
Finally, to complete the series, here is one of the Coquette Point birds in flight. The birds wintering in Australia belong to the nominate race leschenaultii and nest in Southern Siberia, Western China and Southern Mongolia. Their movements are not well understood but it is thought that they migrate non-stop, so this at least is one species of wader that doesn’t have to rely on the fast-disappearing mudflats of the Yellow Sea for refuelling stopovers.
I’d always vaguely assumed that the person who named Flying Fish Point did so because he or she had seen Flying Fish there, but Coquette Point aroused my curiosity as there seemed nothing flirtatious about it. With the help of Google, I found out that George Dalrymple, one of the explorers in this part of the world was sent by the Queensland Government in 1873 to explore the inlets and rivers between Cardwell and Cooktown. His boats were two cutters, the Flying Fish and the Coquette and one of his companion policemen was Robert Johnstone. In Dalrymple’s report to Parliament he said “I therefore considered that I was justified in naming the river after Mr Johnstone, a gentleman who has become identified with discovery and enterprise on the north east coast and who first brought to light the real character and value of this fine river, and it’s rich agricultural land…”. This, incidentally, is what 19th Century cutters looked like.
Ancient British Navy Gun Cutter from Ian
Which, of course, begs the question of why a Queensland boat would be called Coquette. The only clue I could find was that the first Royal Navy ship called Coquette was a 28 gun one captured off the French in 1783 and put into service. After that the name ‘Coquette’ was used repeatedly for a series of smaller ships.
Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD. (Jer 8:7 ESV)
Thanks again, Ian, for sharing another interesting bird. I find it interesting that his birds are migrating, but for the opposite reason ours are migrating. Cold is coming on down there and our are heading home because it is getting warmer. Either way, the birds are on the “move.”
It has been a long time coming, but a quick look at the reviews will show why. It’s very much more than just a field guide, though even the Field Guide/Bird Guide modules set new standards with very thorough descriptions, both illustrations and photos (including many of mine) of more than 900 bird species, sounds of more than 700 species, maps showing subspecies and seasonal variation and breeding and modules for Similar Birds, Identification, My Location, My Lists and Birding Sites. Check it out for yourself!
I’ve just been down to Bowen and Ayr checking out locations and taking photos for the digital version of Jo Wieneke’s Where to Find Birds in North-east Queensland, and have visited beaches and mudflats I had waders on the brain when I was considering the choice of this week’s bird. So when I noticed in my iPad version of Pizzey and Knight, that the 2009 record of an American Golden Plover at Boat Harbour NSW – second photo – had been accepted by the BirdLife Australia Rarities Committee (Pizzey and Knight is very thorough!) I thought Aha, let’s do a comparison of Pacific and American Golden Plovers.
American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) by Ian 1
Waders in non-breeding plumage are often rather drab and very confusing for identification but some of them are sartorially quite splendid when breeding. To see Northern Hemisphere waders in breeding plumage, Australian birders need to be either lucky just before the birds leave Australia in March or follow them to their breeding grounds. I first photographed the American Golden Plovers beside an icy lake in Barrow on the northern tip of Alaska in June 2008, first photo. Gorgeous birds they are with striking black and white and gold spangled upper parts and black bellies and faces with a broad white band along the sides of the neck and upper breast.
In March the following year, I was in Sydney and visited my accountant in Sutherland at a time when there was an unconfirmed report of a non-breeding American Golden Plover at nearby Boat Harbour on the Kurnell Peninsula near Botany Bay. This bird was in a flock of about 30 Pacific Golden Plovers, the species that is the common one in Australia in the southern summer/northern winter. Non-breeding Golden Plovers are notoriously difficult to separate from one another and at that stage 5 out of 7 reports of American Golden Plovers submitted to the Rarities Committee had been rejected. Having both species together made it much easier, as one bird stood as clearly different from the others, with much greyer plumage and white rather than buff facial markings (comparing photos 2 and 4).
American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) by Ian 2
Plumage is variable, of course, and not enough for definite identification in this case. The situation was complicated by the Pacific Golden Plovers beginning to change into breeding plumage. The bird in the third photo, for example, is in nearly complete breeding plumage, though the black plumage still has grey patches. In this plumage, the most obvious field mark is the white band along the neck and breast. In the Pacific, it is narrower and much more extensive than the band in the American one and extends down the side of the lower breast to the undertail coverts.
Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) by Ian 3
There are differences in size too, the American being larger, heavier-billed and relatively shorter-legged but these are variable too and only reliable if you have birds in the hand and a statistically large sample. So, at the end of the day, the committee wanted to know about relative lengths of tails, primary and tertiary wing feathers of resting birds. These can be judged from photos as well as in the hand and the submitters of the rarity report included one of my photos. The wing tips of Pacific Golden Plovers do not extend much beyond the tail, but the wing tips of American ones extend about 50mm beyond it.
Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) by Ian 4
So, those are the lengths you need to go both literally and figuratively sometimes to identify rare birds! The Pacific Golden Plover nests mainly in northern Russia but its breeding range does extend to western Alaska and overlaps with that of the American Golden Plover, so there is no doubt that they are separate biological species. If all this seems a bit arcane, don’t worry: just enjoy the photos. Golden Plovers of any hue are lovely birds and I always enjoy seeing them.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Proverbs 25:11 KJV)
Thanks, Ian, for more lessons on how to identify birds, especially these two plovers. I have had the privilege of seeing the American Golden Plover, but not the Pacific one. It does look like specks of gold on their wings. The only bird mentioned with golden feathers in the Bible is the dove.
Though you lie down among the sheepfolds, You will be like the wings of a dove covered with silver, And her feathers with yellow gold.” (Psalms 68:13 NKJV)
Ian didn’t mention their songs, but here are the two from xeno-canto. Both by Andrew Spencer.
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Double-banded Plover ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter ~ 6-2-13
As well as the bird of the week, here is the airport of the year or maybe of the century. The photo shows the departure gate on Lord Howe Island, more like someone’s picket-fenced front garden: no crowds, escalators, queues or security, and plenty of opportunities for last-minute birdwatching. When I was there 20 years ago, I left the airport after checking-in to check out a Royal Spoonbill which had landed at the nearby wetland. This time there were plenty of waders on and near the runway and a pair of Woodhens in the bush in front of the picket fence.
Lord Howe Airport by Ian 1
The waders included out-of-season ones such as Pacific Golden Plovers, Bar-tailed Godwits and Ruddy Turnstones that had sensibly decided that spending the northern summer on Lord Howe was a much more attractive proposition that flying to Siberia to breed. There was also an in-season wader, the Double-banded Plover, in-season for reasons that I’ll explain in a moment.
Double-banded Plover (Charadrius bicinctus) by Ian 2
Waders in non-breeding and immature plumage are notoriously confusing, representing either a challenge or a headache to identify, depending on one’s attitude, and small plovers are no exception. What struck me in this case, however, was that these plovers seemed to be doing their utmost to help the waiting passengers with identification by persistently choosing to stand on the double black bands painted on the apron. The bird in the second photo is an immature Double-banded Plover – immatures have buffish faces as well as the diagnostic – but often faint traces – of the double bands on the breast.
Double-banded Plover (Charadrius bicinctus) by Ian 3
The bird in the third photo is an adult, still showing the upper blackish and lower chestnut breast bands characteristic of this species. It’s probably a male, as the bands are fairly wide and there are traces of a black upper edge to the white forehead.
Double-banded Plover (Charadrius bicinctus) by Ian 4
The bird in the fourth photo is an adult male in breeding plumage at the most southerly breeding location of this species on Enderby Island, one of the chain of sub-Antarctic Islands south of New Zealand. The Double-banded Plover is a New Zealand endemic – where it is called the Banded Dotterel – and widespread as a breeding species also on both of the main islands. The bird in the fifth photo is a breeding female with narrower and less intense bands and no black fringe to the white forehead.
Double-banded Plover (Charadrius bicinctus) Female by Ian 5
The bird in the sixth photo is an adult in non-breeding plumage with only faint breast bands and lacking the buffish background of the head of the juvenile. What is was doing in this condition on Enderby Island in the middle of the breeding season is anyone’s guess.
Double-banded Plover (Charadrius bicinctus) Adult in non-breeding plumage by Ian 6
And finally the bird in the seventh photo shows a better view of an immature bird and the buff head markings contrast clearly with the corresponding white markings of the non-breeding adult. This bird had just arrived on the east coast of Australia for the southern winter when it is a fairly common species in southeastern Australia, Tasmania, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. It is thought that the birds migrating to Australia for the winter are high-country breeders on the South Island: many others remain in New Zealand.
Double-banded Plover (Charadrius bicinctus) Immature by Ian 7
So, that’s why these birds are in-season in Australia in the southern winter. Any other waders here at that time of the year are either Australian residents (eg the somewhat similar Red-capped Plover) or northern hemisphere breeders that have stayed behind.
Bring forth every living thing that is with you of all flesh–birds and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the ground–that they may breed abundantly on the land and be fruitful and multiply upon the earth. (Genesis 8:17 AMP)
The Double-banded Plover (Charadrius bicinctus), known as the Banded Dotterel in New Zealand, is a small (18 cm) wader in the plover family of birds. It lives in beaches, mud flats, grasslands and on bare ground. Two subspecies are recognised, the nominate Charadrius bicinctus bicinctus breeding in New Zealand and the Chatham Islands and Charadrius bicinctus exilis breeding in the Auckland Islands.
Adults in breeding plumage are white, with a dark greyish brown back, and have a distinctive brown breast, with a thinner band of black below the neck, and between the eyes and beak. Younger birds have no bands, and are often speckled brown on top, with less white parts.
They are fairly widespread in the south of New Zealand, but not often seen in the north. The nominate subspecies is partly migratory, breeding in New Zealand and the Chatham Islands and some wintering in Australia, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji, others staying in New Zealand. The Auckland Islands subspecies is sedentary but some birds move from their territories to the shore.
Their eggs are grey, speckled with black, making them well camouflaged against river stones and pebbles, which make up the main structure of their very simple nest. (Wikipedia with editing)
Ring Plover – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897
Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
Vol 2. July, 1897 No. 1
THE SEMI-PALMATED RING PLOVER.
N THEIR habits the Plovers are usually active; they run and fly with equal facility, and though they rarely attempt to swim, are not altogether unsuccessful in that particular.
The Semi-palmated Ring Plover utters a plaintive whistle, and during the nesting season can produce a few connected pleasing notes. The three or four pear-shaped, variagated eggs are deposited in a slight hollow in the ground, in which a few blades of grass are occasionally placed. Both parents assist in rearing the young. Worms, small quadrupeds, and insects constitute their food. Their flesh is regarded as a delicacy, and they are therefore objects of great attraction to the sportsman, although they often render themselves extremely troublesome by uttering their shrill cry and thus warning their feathered companions of the approach of danger. From this habit they have received the name of “tell-tales.” Dr. Livingstone said of the African species: “A most plaguey sort of public spirited individual follows you everywhere, flying overhead, and is most persevering in his attempts to give fair warning to all animals within hearing to flee from the approach of danger.”
The American Ring Plover nests as far north as Labrador, and is common on our shores from August to October, after which it migrates southward. Some are stationary in the southern states. It is often called the Ring Plover, and has been supposed to be identical with the European Ringed Plover.
It is one of the commonest of shore birds. It is found along the beaches and easily identified by the complete neck ring, white upon dark and dark upon light. Like the Sandpipers the Plovers dance along the shore in rhythm with the wavelets, leaving sharp half-webbed footprints on the wet sand. Though usually found along the seashore, Samuels says that on their arrival in spring, small flocks follow the courses of large rivers, like the Connecticut. He also found a single pair building on Muskeget, the famous haunt of Gulls, off the shore of Massachusetts. It has been found near Chicago, Illinois, in July.
THE RING PLOVER.
Plovers belong to a class of birds called Waders.
They spend the winters down south, and early in the spring begin their journey north. By the beginning of summer they are in the cold north, where they lay their eggs and hatch their young. Here they remain until about the month of August, when they begin to journey southward. It is on their way back that we see most of them.
While on their way north, they are in a hurry to reach their nesting places, so only stop here and there for food and rest.
Coming back with their families, we often see them in ploughed fields. Here they find insects and seeds to eat.
The Ring Plover is so called from the white ring around its neck.
These birds are not particular about their nests. They do not build comfortable nests as most birds do. They find a place that is sheltered from the north winds, and where the sun will reach them. Here they make a rude nest of the mosses lying around.
The eggs are somewhat pointed, and placed in the nest with the points toward the center. In this way the bird can more easily cover the eggs.
We find, among most birds, that after the nest is made, the mother bird thinks it her duty to hatch the young.
The father bird usually feeds her while she sits on the eggs. In some of the bird stories, you have read how the father and mother birds take turns in building the nest, sitting on the nest, and feeding the young.
Some father birds do all the work in building the nest, and take care of the birds when hatched.
Among plovers, the father bird usually hatches the young, and lets the wife do as she pleases.
After the young are hatched they help each other take care of them.
Plovers have long wings, and can fly very swiftly.
The distance between their summer and winter homes is sometimes very great.
SEMI-PALMATED PLOVER.—Ægialitis semi-palmata. Other names: “American Ring Plover,” “Ring Neck,” “Beach Bird.” Front, throat, ring around neck, and entire under parts white; band of deep black across the breast; upper parts ashy brown. Toes connected at base.
Range—North America in general, breeding in the Arctic and sub-arctic districts, winters from the Gulf States to Brazil.
Nest—Depression in the ground, with lining of dry grass.
Eggs—Three or four; buffy white, spotted with chocolate.
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) by S Slayton
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen— Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! (Psalms 8:3-9 NKJV)
The Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) is a small plover. We see them here at our shores. Florida has lots of shoreline.
This species weighs 0.78–2.2 oz (22–63 g) and measures 5.5–7.9 in (14–20 cm) in length and 14–22 in (35–56 cm) across the wings. Adults have a grey-brown back and wings, a white belly, and a white breast with one black neckband. They have a brown cap, a white forehead, a black mask around the eyes and a short orange and black bill.
Their breeding habitat is open ground on beaches or flats across northern Canada and Alaska. They nest on the ground in an open area with little or no plant growth.
They are migratory and winter in coastal areas ranging from the United States to Patagonia. They are extremely rare vagrants to western Europe, although their true status may be obscured by the difficulty in identifying them from the very similar Ringed Plover of Eurasia, of which it was formerly considered a subspecies.
These birds forage for food on beaches, tidal flats and fields, usually by sight. They eat insects, crustaceans and worms.
“Broken wing” display
This bird resembles the Killdeer but is much smaller and has only one band. The term “semipalmated” refers to its partly webbed feet. Like the Killdeer and since its nest is on the ground, it uses a “broken-wing” display to lure intruders away from the nest. (Wikipedia)
If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; (Deuteronomy 22:6 NKJV)
Semipalmated Plovers belong to the Charadriidae – Plovers Family. There are 67 species that “are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings, but most species of lapwing may have more rounded wings. Their bill are usually straight (except for the Wrybill) and short, their toes are short, hind toe could be reduced or absent, depending on species. Most Charadriidae also have relatively short tails, the Killdeer is the exception. In most genera, the sexes are similar, very little sexual dimorphism occurs between sexes. They range in size from the Collared Plover, at 26 grams and 14 cm (5.5 inches), to the Masked Lapwing, at 368 grams (13 oz) and 35 cm (14 inches)
The above article is the first article in the monthly serial that was started in January 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-kneed Dotterel ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 10-17-11
I’d chosen this for last week’s bird until the excitement over the Spotless Crake on Ross River pushed it into the background. Some would argue that the Red-kneed Dotterel is much more beautiful – and is also uncommon in Townsville – but it lacks the mystique of habitual lurkers like crakes that grant audiences only as a special privilege.
Red-kneed Dotterels live almost exclusively near fresh water and are rarely seen in tidal areas. The bird in the first photo was wading at sunset in the shallows of a tranquil pond near a bore at Bowra, an AWC reserve http://www.australianwildlife.org/Bowra.aspx near Cunnamulla in Southwestern Queensland. It was a lovely evening, and I was sitting in a camping chair with camera and tripod and mainly watching parrots and cockatoos coming in to drink: birding in style.
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus) by Ian
The close-up, second photo was photographed at Melbourne Water’s euphemistically called Western Treatment Plant near Werribee on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, also a famous birding spot but not as pleasant for camping as Bowra. Red-kneed Dotterels (actually red-ankled) are small plovers, length 17-19cm/7-8in, not closely related to other ones such as the Black-fronted Dotterel: both are members of monotypic genera – containing only one species. Recent DNA studies have shown that the Red-kneed shows closer affinity to Lapwings than other plovers, which a certain physical resemblance supports, allowing for small size, a lack of wattles and better manners.
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus) by Ian 3
Red-kneed Dotterels are adaptable and occur widely through the more arid regions of Australia, apart from deserts. The one in the third photo is a young bird hatched beside a small wetland near Birdsville produced by an overflow from the local geothermal power station that makes electricity from almost boiling water (98ºC) from the Great Artesian Basin http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/register/p00834aa.pdf .
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Banded Lapwing ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 08-05-10
Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian
There are two species of Lapwing in Australia. One, the Masked Lapwing, is widespread, common and well-known throughout northern and eastern Australia and Tasmania. It’s familiar because it is at home in populated areas, large, aggressive when nesting, and always noisy when disturbed, even at night, a real larrikin, to use an Australian expression. The other, the Banded Lapwing is the opposite. It’s smaller, quieter, uncommon, not well-known and wary, occurs in drier country away from people, and altogether much more dignified.
Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian
It occurs mainly west of the Great Divide and south of the Tropic of the Capricorn, including Tasmania, though there is a small resident population in the dry, cattle-grazing country south of Townsville, north of its usual range. A friend of mine took me there last Sunday so that I could take some photos. Previously, I’d seen them only in Victoria and Western Australia.
Masked Lapwings have large, pendulous, yellow, facial wattles that make them look rather ridiculous, but larrikins don’t worry about appearances. Banded Lapwings have small discreet red wattles, that combine tastefully with the yellow eyes and bills and black, white and tan plumage; presumably the scientific name tricolor refers only to the plumage. The birds – we found about ten – allowed close approach in the car and eventually seemed to get quite used to my presence, though the curious cattle came over too and got in the way a lot.
Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian
I concentrated on a group of 5 birds, one of which was a juvenile – the third photo – so the birds had bred recently. Juveniles have small, pale wattles and camouflaged plumage. One pair of adults came quite close to the car and eventually mated. Banded Lapwings are supposedly monogamous and I wondered whether this pair were the parents of the juvenile bird.
Lapwings form a sub-family within the Plover family and there are about 25 species world-wide in every continent except North and Central America. I’ve chose a pair of Yellow-wattled Lapwings – from India as the current Old World pick for comparison. This pair is also mating, so either Lapwings like doing it in public or I like photographing them doing it: the choice is yours.
I recently spent a night at a Bed and Breakfast place in Alligator Creek recently opened by friends of mine, Colin and Helen Holmes. Alligator Creek is about 25km south of Townsville and close to the Mount Elliott section of Bowling Green Bay National Park. Their house is set in several acres of land with plenty of trees and shrubs right on the Creek. It’s a delightful place and very comfortable and you’ll be well looked after and supplied with a lavish breakfast. I can recommend it highly, so if you’re looking for somewhere friendly and peaceful to stay near Townsville check out their website: http://www.alligatorcreekbedandbreakfast.com.au/ .
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Banded Lapwing is part of the Charadriidae Family which includes not only Lapwings but also Plovers, Dotterels and a Wrybill. There are 67 species in the family. They are in the Charadriiformes Order which has 19 families.
Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops) by Ian
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black-fronted Dotterel ~ by Ian Montgomery
It is easy to think of waders, such as sandpipers and plovers, in terms of challenges – both the survival challenges that long distant migrants face and the identification challenges that these migrants, usually in non-breeding plumage, pose for birders. So, it’s easy to overlook the unchallenging ones – distinctive native species, easy on the eye and easy to identify that are delightful members of the Australian countryside such as the Black-fronted Dotterel.
The Black-fronted Dotterel is a small plover: at 16-18cm/6-7in in isn’t much longer than the proverbial sparrow (14-16cm). It shows a marked preference for shallow fresh water, only rarely occurring in saline environments, and can manage with quite small and transient pools. It is widespread throughout Australia and Tasmania, absent only from the most arid regions of western central Australia, and also resident in New Zealand. The first photo shows a bird – males and females are identical – on the wetland in Pentland on the Flinders Highway west of Townsville, a popular drop-in spot for passing birders. The second photo was taken at sunset at Bowra, a wonderful property near Cunnamulla in southwestern Queensland, long managed in a bird-friendly way by the McLaren family and now being purchased by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy ( http://www.australianwildlife.org/Bowra.aspx ).
Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops) by Ian
Unlike the migrants, residents such as the Black-fronted Dotterel, don’t have a separate breeding and (drab) non-breeding plumages. Because of irregular rainfall patterns, they can breed at any time of the year and need to be able to respond quickly and attract mates at short notice. They nest in exposed positions on the ground, so they compromise by having bold patterns with small splashes of colour on the bill and eye-ring that break up the outline of the bird, rather than blend into the background, and can be surprisingly difficult to see when crouched motionless.
On the related subject of migrant plovers, this is a good time of the year to look for birds in, or acquiring, breeding plumage. We did one of our regular wader counts at Lucinda, near Ingham north of Townsville, last week and there were still numbers of Lesser and Greater Sand Plovers around. I’ve posted photos of these – and a Grey-tailed Tattler – in breeding plumage to the website: Lesser Sand Plover Greater Sand Plover Grey-tailed Tattler
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
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I always enjoy finding out about Ian’s Birds of the Week. Never know what he will show us. I trust you enjoy finding out about birds in other parts of our fantastic world as well.
The Dotterels are in the Charadriidae Family of the Charadriiformes Order. There are 67 birds in the family that includes Plovers, Lapwings, Killdeer, Wrybill, and the Dotterels. There are only 6 Dotterels; Red-kneed, Eurasian, Hooded, Shore, Black-fronted, and Tawny-throated. The Inland Plover was the Inland Dotterel
I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. (Isaiah 41:18 KJV)