Capricorn Coast Birds
  Eurasian Coots, June 16 2013  
Large numbers of Eurasian Coots appeared in our wetlands this year, probably because we had a very wet summer while the summer rains had failed over much of the inland, in fact it was the first time I had seen them on the coast. Because of their shyness I was unable to get a decent photo and resolved to mount a very serious effort toward this end, I planned a concealed approach, I would use camouflage, I would crawl and slither.
My approach was excellent and I reached the limit of the bush cover undetected, another 30 metres would do, but it was in the open and would be tricky. I rehearsed my approach and steadied my resolve, this was the moment, I moved forward, low and quiet.
Inch by steady inch I made my way slowly forward, I employed the "crabwise side-step", the "hunched-bush hobble", even the usually infallible, though somewhat comic, "old man on his hands and knees trying to sneak up on birds trick", however I was becoming aware that an increasing number of their bright little red-bead eyes were beginning to turn my way.
The ducks were the first to go but the coots soon followed, initially in ones and twos, then in threes and fours, finally the body of them made off slowly, quietly and with dignity. I was deflated, not a total failure but not the sucess for which I had dreamed and schemed, this was simply "a bridge too far".
  However I did get a photo good enough for the coming weeks column which was a good thing, just not the you beaut, see the hairs growing out of their nostrils sort of thing envisaged in my feverish imagination, the photo and column are below.  
  Eurasian Coot
Fulica atra
Average size 36cm
These are also known as the Australian Coot and range from Eurasia to Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia, they have also recently established themselves in New Zealand.
They are found in wetlands and ponds with submerged aquatic vegetation or mats of floating waterweed, among which they forage. They are often seen in huge flocks on large wetlands but this is the first time I have seen them in our area, this is probably due to the unusually wet year here and a dryer year elsewhere.
Food is mainly obtained during underwater dives, lasting up to 15 seconds and ranging down to 7 m in depth, they also graze on the land and on the surface of the water. They feed almost entirely on vegetable matter, supplemented with only a few insects, worms and fish.
Males and females look the same and nest on a floating raft of vegetation or on logs or tree stumps that are surrounded by water. During the breeding season, which can be any that time that conditions are favourable,  pairs establish and maintain territories with vigour, their aggression is also extended towards other species. Both sexes share incubation and care of the young.
  more pages  
different bills, May 11 2013
dance of the brolgas
Fishing Creek Road
Hedlow Creek
  Waterpark Creek  
  Blackdown Tableland  
  Great Keppel Island