Q is for Quail-thrush, the Spotted is the local species, and I’ve only ever managed one distant photo despite many attempts when I’ve been comprehensively outwitted.


R is for Robin, the Scarlet is a regular autumn visitor after coming down from the high country, this male had just arrived in the garden last year when I snapped him.


S is for Snipe, Latham’s Snipe is a bird I’ve monitored at the local wetland for many years. This photo of one blending with the background was taken however at Flooding Creek beside Lake Guyatt, a popular location for the birds when water levels are suitable.


T is for Treecreeper, this female White-throated was a great surprise on our Lemon-scented Teatree, far from its normal forest habitat.


U is for the Uniform Swiftlet, the only Australian bird with a name starting with the letter U. It is seen in Far North Queensland, sometimes in association with White-throated Needletails, a bird I fluked this flight shot with the FZ30 years ago.


V is for Vanellus miles, the Masked Lapwing, formerly called the Spur-winged Plover for a very apparent reason. We rarely see them on the property nowadays, for some reason they seem much happier frequenting grassy areas in the township.


W is for Whistler, the exuberant song of the Rufous in spring tells us that it is back from the north ready for the breeding season.


X is for Xenus cinereus, the Terek Sandpiper, we once saw two at Jack Smith Lake when it was receiving good rainfall and was attracting waders by the thousand. That however was in pre bird photography days, so the illustration is from the Graham Pizzey & Frank Knight Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, my birding bible.

terek sandpiper

Y is for Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, nemesis of witjuti grubs and feller of small wattles in the process. The power of their bite is incredible, once in East Gippsland we heard cracking noises and looked up to see a YTB tearing chunks of hard red wood out of a dead mahogany gum.

yellow-tailed black

Z is for Zosterups lateralis, the Silvereye, very partial to grapes, berries, and other small fruits, part of the buff-flanked Tasmanian race migrates as far as Queensland and return.


So ends this version of the Avian Alphabet, click pictures to enlarge.

I is for Ibis, the farmer’s friend, industrious probers for cockchafer caterpillars, so familiar that they hardly attract more than a casual glance, but pause and look more closely and you’ll find that the Straw-necked Ibis can be a bird of considerable presence.


J is for Jacky Winter, the gorgeous little bird with the twitching white outer tail feathers and impossibly small nest. Also known as Peter Peter from its call.

jacky winter

K is for Kite, three species in the district, the rare Square-tailed, the quite beautiful hunter of rodents, the Black-shouldered, and the circling bird of the wetlands, the Whistling Kite. We were surprised one day to see two attending to a dead rabbit in the paddock.


L is for Lowry, the name we knew the Crimson Rosella by when I was a boy, but not commonly used nowadays. For a couple of years we had an old bird resident in the garden, you can see the very long upper mandible, we supplemented its natural food with sunflower seeds until it finally dropped off the perch.

crimson rosella

M is for Magpie Goose, in 2007 two were resident for some time on Flooding Creek, an echo of earlier times when they were common in South-eastern Australia.

magpie goose

N is for New Holland Honeyeater, a feisty honeyeater that will see off much larger birds, always alert and on the lookout. Its strident alarm call warns other birds of a prowling goshawk.

new holland

O is for Owl, and for this alphabet it has to be the awe inspiring Powerful Owl, pictured here in a foothill creek with its Common Brushtail prey.

powerful owl

P is for Pardalote, two local species, the Striated and the jewel-like Spotted. Single minded when excavating a nest burrow, once on a building site I had to three times discourage a tunneling Spotted from a location due to be concreted over, before it finally took the hint and moved to a safer location.

spotted pardalote

To be continued, click to enlarge.

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