Monday, October 2, 2017

Black and white - and read and reread

Suffering from info overload? Just want things in black and white? Simple and easy, right? Well, yes and no. Recent portrait of Australian Raven comes full of subtle detail.

Nothing too subtle about early morning Spangled Drongo. Not much detail either. But while stark image is enough to identify Drongo beyond doubt, the Raven isn't so easy. Is the bill really bigger than a Torresian Crow's? Are those throat hackles longer? Can you see naked skin strip?

Much safe ground with Magpie Lark. Black face and throat identify bird as male (white face and throat for females). Easy to remember? Forget the difference for a few months and it's back to the reference books to make sure.

Is that barring on Varied Triller's breast? Yes, but it's too fine to be a female. Pity we can't see rufous underbelly. Black and white (and soft lilac-grey rump) don't tell enough of the story.

Add a touch more colour. Two Sulphur-crested Cockatoos fascinated yet again by old hollow hulk in the Town Common today. ID easy. But how to tell male from female? Catch birds and stare into their eyes. Their irises tell the story. Can't escape the need for more and more info, can we? 

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