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South West Marine Life images by Ian Wiese – Series #4 Sea Birds

While photographing dolphins, whales, sharks and surfers I often see sea birds and photograph them. My knowledge of sea birds is fairly rudimentary, but I am slowly learning.

In order to increase the SDS web site hit rate I will start with some images which also have sharks in them! Recently I witnessed a massive migration of wedge tailed and flesh footed shearwaters past Sugarloaf Rocks with up to 1,500 shearwaters an hour passing heading south. On one day there were large schools of baitfish, and these attracted the shearwaters, together with albatrosses, gannets, crested terns, silver gulls and whaler sharks, probably bronze whalers. They were 1.5 – 2km out to sea so the quality is not great.

Image #1. Shearwaters and other sea birds feeding on bait fish.

The black birds are shearwaters (wedgetailed and fleshfooted), the white birds on the water with dark wings are a mixture of black browed and shy albatrosses or if they have a yellow head they are Australasian Gannets, while there is an Indian yellow nosed albatross and a crested tern flying in this image.

Some years ago I was passing the ibis nesting place near Port Geographe and saw this white bellied sea eagle feeding on an ibis. Watching on were some more ibises and a whistling kite. This is a massive bird nearly as large as a wedge tail eagle.

Image #2. White bellied sea eagle.

After the eagle left the kite moved in to finish the remains, but he was interrupted by an ibis. The two took to the air and an aerial dogfight ensued. The ibis was cumbersome and the kite quickly moved into position above and behind the ibis, who by this time was looking worried.

Image #3. Kite and Ibis in aerial dog fight (Sequence 1).

Ibis #4. Kite and Ibis in aerial dog fight (Sequence 2).

The ibis is about to learn a lesson (and lose some feathers).

Image #5. Osprey with fish (1).

Image #6. Osprey with fish (2).

Image #7. Osprey with fish (3).

One of the more common birds on our coast is the Australasian Gannet. These young birds are brown but the mature adults are mostly white with dark bands on the wings (twitchers will shudder at that description!). When they dive like this they can hit the water at 100km/hr.

Images #8. Australasian Gannets.

When there are strong winds albatrosses, giant petrels and shearwaters will appear riding the winds. The albatrosses and petrels in particular glide over the water never needing to flap their wings. They bank and wheel and are almost always close to the water. Usually they are a fair distance out, but occasionally one will come close to shore.

Here is a giant petrel at Pt Picquet. They are the scavengers of the ocean.

Image #9. Giant petrel.

This is an Indian yellow nosed albatross at Pt Picquet.

Image # 10. Indian yellow nosed albatross.

This is an artic skua at Pt Picquet (dark bird). They chase and harass other birds (such as the crested tern in this photo) and get them to drop their catch.

Image # 11. Artic skua.

Nankeen Kestrels are often seen along the coast. They are a resident species. This one was at Kilcarnup.

Image # 12. Nankeen Kestrel.

Finally there are the moths. This one is a Tiger Moth

Image # 13. Vintage Tiger Moth.

Keen SW surfer Steve Millington runs Tiger Moth adventure flights from Busselton Airfield.

Click on this link to view or purchase Ian’s prints Ian Wiese’s Photography blog.

Click on these links to view Ian’s South West Marine Life images:-

South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #1 Dolphins

South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #2 Sharks and other predators

South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #3 Whales

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