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The Muckaty trial – the curious titfer and the media circus

The Muckaty trial – the curious titfer and the media circus

Bob Gosford November 21, 2017

During on-country hearings, Federal Court judge Tony North affects a curious titfer. For mine it looks part random collection of dead sticks that some aspirant bushie might have collected as kindling for the evening’s fire, part bizarre fascinator. When I asked about this curious millinery the judge tells me that the feathers are a souvenir […]

Return of the Storm-bird – the Channel-billed Cuckoo comes south for the summer

Return of the Storm-bird – the Channel-billed Cuckoo comes south for the summer

Bob Gosford November 19, 2017

I've been very interested in cuckoos generally—and Channel-billed Cuckoos in particular—for a few years, especially in relation to the knowledge that Aboriginal language groups here in the Northern Territory and beyond have about them. I'd love to hear any information that groups outside of the areas discussed in the post may have—feel free to drop me a line or post a comment.

Word of the Day: Zosterops (Silver-eye)

Word of the Day: Zosterops (Silver-eye)

Bob Gosford November 17, 2017

Zosterops (ZOS-ter-ops). Girdle eye, from the Greek zoster, girdle, and ops, eye. Their common name of white-eye or speirops (Greek spiera, circle, and ops) aptly describes the birds of this genus, with their wide ring of feathers around the eyes. There are 98 species of Zosterops, one of the largest genera in the bird world.

Word of the week: aherlkelh-ilem: “make the sun come up” (Anmatyerr)

Word of the week: aherlkelh-ilem: “make the sun come up” (Anmatyerr)

Bob Gosford November 3, 2017 2 Comments

The nyarew cuckoo [Horsefield's Bronze-cuckoo] sings out from hollow trees, or maybe from a forked branch. The nyarew sings out all night, and makes the daylight come.

Talking Birds and Fire at the Barrapunta Bird Workshop, Arnhem Land, May 2017

Talking Birds and Fire at the Barrapunta Bird Workshop, Arnhem Land, May 2017

Bob Gosford October 25, 2017

Karrkkanj is a term for the Black Kite but can also be applied to two other raptor species, the Peregrine Falcon and the Brown Falcon, Professor Evans explains. The Peregrine Falcon can also be known more specifically as ngalmirlangmirlang and the Brown Falcon as wunwunbu; these are said to be husband and wife. Karrkkanj is also ritually significant as the one who founded the Lorrkkon mortuary cycle.

Probable Night Parrot detected in the Northern Territory

Probable Night Parrot detected in the Northern Territory

Bob Gosford May 23, 2017 1 Comment

Mark Carter and Chris Watson: "We were able to compare our recorded call to other examples of Night Parrot whistle calls from WA. While there is not an exact match, the calls from WA Night Parrot and the bird recorded in the NT are very similar."

Bird of the Week: Willy Wagtail – “where’s my dinner Mum?”

Bird of the Week: Willy Wagtail – “where’s my dinner Mum?”

Bob Gosford January 2, 2017

The local pair of Willy Wagtails have taken advantage of the great season we are having in the centre this year and so far have raised two clutches, and I'll expect that, as prime examples of avian opportunism in the desert, they may raise another couple yet in this season.

Birds of the Week: Little Crow and Willy Wagtail: best of enemies

Birds of the Week: Little Crow and Willy Wagtail: best of enemies

Bob Gosford December 17, 2016 1 Comment

The other week I came back from town on one of those 40C+ days to a mad flurry of wings and panic calls that can only signal interloper ... or predator. This Little Crow Corvus bennetti was trying to cool down in the water but was being harried by the adult Willy wagtails

Bird of the Week: Straw-necked Ibis, Longreach Waterhole, NT

Bird of the Week: Straw-necked Ibis, Longreach Waterhole, NT

Bob Gosford September 8, 2016

A few of the birds that passed by my lens while I was camped at one end of the Longreach Waterhole just west of the small NT town of Elliott..

Tool use in birds – on fishing Herons and Black Kites

Tool use in birds – on fishing Herons and Black Kites

Bob Gosford June 26, 2016 1 Comment

"We think it is incredible this bird thought out the whole operation from catching a crab to converting into a bigger prey of a fish--and resisted the temptation to just eat the crab," Suzanne Hills and Chris Cromey.