Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wow, that's gotta be the biggest worm in this bird's world

Black-fronted Dotterel steps in for close look at Red-bellied Black Snake as it emerges from shallow pool alongside Palm Creek, Mungalla Station, Ingham. After speeding through the pool, the snake made leisurely progress across pasture and vanished into thick grasses lining the creek bank. The bird's inspection was casual and cursory. No cause for alarm from either party.


And another few images from the water front, at Tyto lately.

Pelican at edge of main lagoon today.

Plumed Whistling Duck on rocks lining front lagoons yesterday.

Sacred Ibises foraging together.

And 'my' Saltwater Crocodile today ...

... and the trap in place close by. Might be empty for some time yet.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Paying respects to the Saltwater Crocodile

No sooner do I find a Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) in Tyto - the first for about seven years - than plans are made to remove it. Which might be trickier than some think. Yes, I understand the Hinchinbrook Shire's worries. What if it eats a tourist? Specially when the shire's put out the red carpet and is allowing 48-hour freebies for travellers to park alongside the front lagoons, near the centre of Ingham. But the 2.5m croc - too small to be a real terror - is staying well away from possible interaction with anyone, hauling out most mornings at the western end of a treed island in the main lagoon, about 70m away from any track (and 800m from the freebie zone). And it is an attraction for some. Crocs and people get along in other parts of the shire, though a few menacing big old boys have been trapped and  relocated as part of Queensland Parks and Wildlife policy in the past year or two. Meantime, crocs don't have big appetites at present. So my Tyto mate can look  forward  to more sunbathing before any bait and traps are trundled in. What happened to the last one in Tyto? I think it paddled off down Palm Creek one night - through the centre of Ingham. 

No suggestion that Mungalla Station, not far east of Ingham, remove crocs from its considerable stretch of Palm Creek. I've been surveying birdlife at the station long enough to have become acquainted with a few of the toothy locals. They seldom bask quite so close to the track alongside the creek as the smiler above.

More often, it's a glimpse of a head and  body close to the water's edge.

Today, a touch of waterweed camouflage. Croc must have come up through weed, which stayed draped across its back until it slipped into deeper water as I walked closer. 

So, dangerous? Yes. Creatures of terror? Absolutely not. Just pay them the respect they deserve and let's survive together.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Junior Jabiru grows in confidence

Not so long ago junior Jabiru showed no more than a big head sitting high in a big nest beside Palm Creek at Mungalla Station, Ingham. A few weeks later and young Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) had to be rescued by Mum after being attacked in the air by an unusually bold Black Kite. In the past two or three weeks, the apron strings have given way to limited self-reliance and independent foraging. Today, enough confidence to allow me within 30 metres before taking off.

Shake the cobwebs out before flight.

Launch into the wind and over the water.

Get those big wings working for some lift.

And up into the somewhat wild grey yonder.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stubble Quail kicks off high count

High count of 76 species seen in stiff northeasterly gusts at Mungalla Station today didn't bring too many worthwhile pictures but did kick off with closeup of Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis).

And male Leaden Flycatcher (Myiagra rubecula) turned up in sheltered spot along choked creek, in place of the Little Kingfisher being targeted.

Seen today back on usual cattle pad habitat - a reappearance after briefly taking off elsewhere - but this one photographed last week, Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella).

Another species seen today but photographed earlier, Nankeen Night-Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus), one of 50-60 roosting by day in a tangle of cottonwoods.

Also, one of 50-60 birds often sheltering around the cottonwoods, Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton). 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Black and red and near impossible to read

What's black and red and near impossible to read with a camera? Male Red-backed Fairy-wren (Malurus melanocephalus), that's what.

But here's a nearly right, in Tyto morning sunshine.

Same bird, with less work on background.

Same species with male plumage emerging.

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