Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary-The dawn bird tour with the ecologist.

Having seen over 300 birds so far on our trip in the past 8 months we actually saw no new birds at Mornington.   After spending 6 weeks or so in the northern savanna regions, means we have probably seen most of the easier birds to see in this type of environment.    It was however, a very birdy place and doing wonderful things for the Gouldian finches and Purple crowned fairy wrens in this area of the Kimberly among other things.  On our last morning we did the bird tour with ecologist Riannon and had an amazing 2 hours spent at a rather dismal looking water hole that was only days away from drying up. It was however a bird magnet and we saw a huge array of different birds. M

mornington bird waterhole
A rather grubby water hole that has nearly dried up is one of the scientists secret spots here on Mornington
mornington bird watching
We beat the birds there and are waiting for them to come in. It was cool at about 9 degrees so maybe they we still in bed.
first arrivals
Always the first to come – the sweet and tiny double barred finch
budgie and long tails
Budgies are not so common in this area, so our guide was quite excited by their appearance that morning.   Also on this tree are long tailed finches
pictorella mannikin 2
Pictorella Mannikin looking sweet


Double barred and long tailed finches came to drink. Then the Gouldian finch showed up to show how much more beautiful it’s colours are. Steve noticed before the guide that there was a huge (maybe 3 mtr) olive python below the water line.  You can just see its head very close to the long tailed finch that is drinking between the 2 double barred finches
gouldian note the python
The birds did not seem to see the snake while they were at the waters edge. The snake is easier to see in this shot. It was sooo tense at this point!
doves and pictorella
Peaceful and diamond doves drinking together with a pictorella mannikin


painted finches at mornington
Painted finches came to watch the show from above us on a rock.
snake 1
See how close the long tailed finch  is to the snake’s head and still it does not see it. It is coiled and ready to strike. We all were holding our breath!
snake 2
Zebra finch and long tailed finch drinking. Here the double barred finch just about pecked the snake on the head and still doesn’t see it. We all thought the bird would soon be dead!  It was soooo tense!
snake 3
The snake just kept thinking about it. SOOOO close. The birds oblivious! That it is, we all thought. Still holding our breath………..
snake 4
The snake made it’s move in slow motion. It was so cold from being submerged in the cold water. The finches scattered and we all cheered!    After a few more pathetic attempts we started to feel sorry for the snake.  The ecologist said the snake would be very cold and the bird would have to sit on it’s head for the snake to be able to get one. It’s a jungle out here!

It was a pretty amazing 2 hours despite not seeing a new type of bird! M

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