• lab28
Jan 25: Birding at work

Got up early, but worked instead of going birding. I run a busy research group at the University of Queensland. There are so many wonderful people in the lab producing great work, and it all keeps me pretty busy. And as I neared UQ on the bus today, I thought about how lucky I am to work at what must be one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. There are spreading Jacarandas that kindly flower at exam time to help the students through (or give them recurring nightmares every November). There is a nice set of lakes, and although there are 228 lists in eBird, the site list stands on only 88, which is perhaps a bit surprising. The area is fairly small though.

I used to bird at UQ Lakes quite a lot, but lost the habit as my job got busier and the kids came along. This morning I decided to wander around for a bit, since I wasn’t planning any formal birding today. I spent 15 enjoyable minutes wandering around the lakes, and the best bird was a really nice Nankeen Night-heron feeding along the N shore at the W end of the lakes under a willow. I love these birds – they are rarely enough seen that they are exciting every time. I rested my binoculars on a signpost and took a pic by holding the phone up to them – v poor but at least you can see what it is. I even managed to crop and upload it to the checklist there and then in the field.

Globally there are only two “Nankeen” species – a kestrel and the night-heron, both Australian birds. Nankeen is a type of yellowish-buff cloth originally made from a city in China called Nanjiing, from which the name Nankeen is derived. The birds are named after the yellowish-buff colour of the cloth, imported from China by Victorians and presumably well-known to early taxonomists. So there you go.

With no year ticks today, my year list at the end of the day remained on 203 species. I spent 26 minutes birding, walked 0.532 km and drove 0 km.

Nankeen Night-heron at UQ Lakes, 25th Jan 2018