WATER BIRDS of Albert Park
So following on from the introduction last week, here is the first batch of photos.
And where better to start this collection of images than birds spending their time on or around the lake itself. The lake is not a continuous body of water with uniform sides; there are two small vegetated islands with sloping banks (one heavily treed: Gunn Island), and two fenced off sections with shallow water or exposed mud, and patches of dense reedy vegetation (Phragmites, Juncus, Carex). Although not a pristine natural environment, this diversity of habitat types supports a wide range of native and introduced species. There are two species I will focus on here, one for its iconic relationship with the park, and the other for its population size.
The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) is the avian icon of Albert Park lake. They are large birds (~4-9kg, 2m wingspan). Many of the swans in the Park have identification collars on them, which is done for research through the University of Melbourne by Raoul Moulder’s research group. They breed once a year and chicks (cygnets) are a common site on the lake.
The Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) is the most numerous resident of the lake. These are small birds (~0.5-1kg) with partially-webbed feet. They spend much of their time grazing on the lawn surrounding the lake in large groups. You are guaranteed to see these guys if you ever visit the lake. It is distinguished from the similar species, the Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa), by the colour of the beak (white versus red and yellow).
The rest of these photos are a collection of birds that feed in, on, and around the lake. Some are permanent residents and others more transient. The Spoonbill in particular was mostly solitary and only occasionally present at the lake, I was very pleased to be able to eventually get it.
Stay tuned for some terrestrial birds next week.