Saturday, 21 September 2013

Stone-curlew Central

Bush stone-curlews (thick-knees) love suburban lawns. Five of them were sunning themselves in the garden late yesterday afternoon. (The fifth took exception to being on camera, so sidled out of shot to the left.)

Their camouflage is remarkable. They might stand out on a verdant lawn, but are difficult to see against a background of sun-dried vegetation or dead leaves. Often the only give-away is one large, yellow eye peering out from what looks like a mass of leaf litter and fallen eucalypt bark.

I was looking at something up in the trees, so I didn't see this stone-curlew near the shed. I was only a metre away before the bird gave up relying on its camouflage, jumped to its feet and hissed at me. Then it fled...two metres. It then settled down again in a spot where it could catch the sun on one side and the warmth of the corrugated iron on the other. Well, would you give up a spot like that?

As always, click on the pics to embiggen.


biobabbler said...

Wow--GREAT shot, and what a cutie! I agree: if you find a good spot, PROTECT it. Looks def. like a relative of a plover, esp. w/the stand stock still thing. Then run a bit. Then stop & stand super still, again. =) Love their giant eyes.

Rose ~ from Oz said...

I have a resident pair of curlews who have new chicks, they are a joy to watch. The whole neighbourhood watches out for them. Suburbia certainly has its perils for these fabulous birds though.

Mr. Smiley said...

Hi Snail
There is a nice family of Thick-knees that camp just outside the Kuranda CWA Hall. They must be fond of pumpkin scones!

Snail said...

Biobabbler, there are also masked plovers (aka spur-winged plovers) that are quite easy to live with most of the time. They do that move and stop stuff. But, boy, when they are nesting, it's a different matter. They swoop on intruders. Hasn't happened to me yet, but I've seen it happen elsewhere and it's not fun!

Snail said...

Rose, I worry about them getting hit but luckily this area is fairly quiet after dark and people tend to drive slowly. (It helps to have a creek and river with inadequate fencing nearby!)

Snail said...

Dave, I expect they raid the hall after meetings! Gosh, I haven't had pumpkin scones for ages. I might be with them.