Cheers, pink ears

Keith Ireland snapped these Pink-Eared Ducks at the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens.

Sometimes it is possible to be really surprised when finding a bird or a huge flock of birds when you are least expecting them.

On this particular morning, I had gone to the Rockhampton Botanical Gardens with my camera to check out if there were any good subjects there at that time.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I went down to the far end of the Gardens and there in front of me were dozens of a beautiful bird that I had never seen before.

It was easy enough to identify them because these water birds all had a pink patch behind the eye. From that feature, I was able to remember that, when looking through a bird index, I had seen that these birds were called ‘ Pink-eared Ducks’. Another recognisable feature was the clear stripes on the body plumage. There were these ducks everywhere spreading right across the water to the other side and back up towards the entrance of the Gardens.

As far as I knew at that time, these were birds that lived in the drier interior of our continent.

I could only assume that because it had been a long time since good rain had fallen out west, that this flock had headed to the coast rather than perish.

I just sat on the grass and selected birds, singles, pairs or larger groups that drifted across in front of me. What a great morning it was for me.

I don’t know how long the birds stayed there, but I did hear they were only there for a couple of days. They may have returned at some time later but I am not aware of it.