Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tiny spider brings Cassowary walker down to Earth

Taken more than six months and about 15 trips but today finally ran into (almost literally - had to brake hard when he popped onto road near front of the Troopy) occasional  Wallaman Falls walking companion, male Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius).

As usual he had little to say and wouldn't look me or the camera in the eye during our 10-minute walk and talk along the road and in and out of roadside forest fringe. Seems hard to believe that no matter where one stands or how close one gets the bird simply walks on, head mostly down (that's where the food is - though there's not much falling anywhere on the ridge road these days) and unconcerned about someone walking within touching distance.

Dangerous walk? Not at all, so long as attention is paid to bird's body language. However, high on the buzz of the meeting after so long without a sighting made I the mistake soon after of picking up a tiny supposed woodlouse or similar from under some peeling bark. Oops. Twin fangs and sharp, sharp pain. For an hour or so. Sneaky little spider had rolled into ball to escape and didn't want to be picked up by a bare-handed idiot high on Cassowary encounter. Hard to read such tiny body talk. Tweezers or gloves are the key words.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Splish, splash I(bis) was taking a bath

Playtime in rare recent road puddle for Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis), one of seven splishing and splashing at Forrest Beach.

Might not get a similar chance for weeks or months with El Nino setting in and no Wet until late December at the earliest.

At Tyto, Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) steps out across a shrinking kidney lagoon (now two lagoons with a mud bar as evaporation takes over).

For the time being the fishing comes easier but this part of Tyto may be totally dry come December.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Night screamers on display by day

Mad screams at night, hissy fits by day. you could accuse Bush Stone-Curlews (Thick-knees) (Burhinus grallarius) of being drama queens. But there's every excuse for male's threat display and hissing at Tyto this week: female in background is on two eggs. Pair on third clutch - all laid close to cars coming and going in parking zone four metres away - and not deterred by me poking nose in from time to time.

Another noisy night-timer usually with less to say during the day, Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides), on twiggy tree in area burnt off recently close to Orient Station eastern boundary fence. Bird stuck to branch until I was three metres away. It flew into nearest taller tree, opened eyes wider, and ignored me from then on. Meanwhile and surely coincidentally, probable partner began series of remarkable pig-like grunts from unburnt woodland on other side of the fence. Target for another day.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Falcon small dark and handsome

Small, dark and handsome! What could be better to spot yesterday atop bit of cane trash than dark morph Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)?

Something so beautiful is worth another two looks.

And another up for 'raptorousness', Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris), atop dead tree, enhanced by blue-sky morning.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Jourama birds stay on after burnoff

Dawdled around Jourama Falls woodland and creek forest today after planned burnoff 'exceeded expectations'. Birdlife little affected: 33 species listed during my walk, including Lemon-bellied Flycatcher (Microeca flavigaster), though pictured bird was snapped nearer the coast yesterday.

Also from another day but again on show today, Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons). Bird was following a Brush Turkey through the understorey at Jourama last week. The burnoff  was never a threat to this species, which seldom leaves the rainforest shadows.

Large-billed Gerygone (Gerygone magnirostris) seldom go far away from creek, naturally enough given they build their long skinny nests over water, Another bird from another day, but also seen today.