Friday, March 24, 2017

Cyclone Debbie bears down on birdwings

Look out, my Cairns Birdwing caterpillars, Cyclone Debbie's bearing down on us. Bad news for wildlife and habitat close to the coast. But could be an ill wind bringing huge amounts of needed rain to Townsville and areas inland. We'll see, Monday.

The caterpillars feed on Aristolochia vines after the female dots her eggs on foliage that 'feels' right to her legs. One Townsville Town Common site is close to the entry gate, barely 400 metres from the coast and about 3km north of the city CBD.

I'd hoped to wait for pictures of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. Debbie is aimed directly at it. Fingers crosssed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Slink for Skink beats dekko for Gecko

The request is to sally forth  and come home with some Gecko pictures. None to be found. What to do? Not a lot of difference between some small reptiles. So, slink up to a big fig abrim with crevices for all sorts that caper, creep and crawl.

But specially Litter Skinks. Peeking from cover,  Half-lit within part of the ficus labyrinth. On vertical display.

Wait, there's more. What's this wiggling in a wonderfully rich loam of dust, dirt and debris? Millipede showing teasingly familiar footy club colours.

Closer look at another Millipede provoked outpouring of yellow fluid, which probably tastes terrible. No, I didn't suck it to see. And the Gecko assignment awaits another day.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

No fairy tale finish for young Magpie Geese

Can't help thinking of the Ugly Duckling in reverse when chancing upon family of Magpie Geese. Cute start quickly turns to gangly 'teens' and conky-honky adulthood,

But they carry a certain grace through the air and on the water. (Low numbers in Townsville Common and I've seen only one young, so above images all from suburban Anderson Park.)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Birdwings challenging targets on the wing

Townsville, not Cairns. Birdwings, not birds. What? Cairns Birdwing butterflies, that's what. Male in flight (one usable shot among hundreds of total failures) and at rest.

Larger, less colourful female.

Two of three caterpillars spotted on acacia leaves near the frustratingly flittery adults.

Nothing flittery about Velvet Slug. Saved this one from suicidal 'sprint' across the Town Common driveway.

But I declined the thankyou kiss.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

'Stealth bomber' insect defies ID efforts

One day an insect will fly up, stop for a picture, and magically appear in the first field guide I turn to.
One day, not this day. So, I've no idea what big boy (20-25mm body) above is, or why it's shaped like a radar-deflecting bomber. Brief glimpse in flight of orangey wing, or underwing.

Away from insects, always a buzz to find Galah or two alongside the road. Feeding birds tend to be more approachable. Extra interest came with soft calls between bird and partner as a walker and his dog appeared. Sort of: 'Might be time to go?' 'Yes, I think maybe we should.' 'Just across the way, all right?' "That'll do nicely.'

Bit less discussion of flight among White-breasted Woodswallows. Insect eaters don't have it quite so easy as flower munchers. To catch food on the wing the food first must take to the sky. The past few mornings have been mixed for the woodswallows.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Thursday, March 2, 2017

One Snipe finally stops flushing and flying

Two weeks of chasing Latham's Snipe brought wee reward along the Townsville Common driveway this morning. One bird finally relaxed and began feeding after being flushed from flooded grasses.

No such fortune with immature Striated Heron sometimes in the same habitat. 

So sought consolation prize with mature heron that calls Anderson Park lotus ponds home. Bird happy enough to stand in tree almost on top of me, but never offered clear view in closeup. To be continued . . .

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Red and black brings on brown study

What's black and red with a tricky bit(e) of white and presents a watcher's brown study?

It's the male Red-backed Fairy-wren - with a grub (the tricky bit(e)).

Two brown birds. No male here? Not so fast. Bird on left shows small black patch under upper breast feathers. Last of moult? New colour emerging?

The big question: why do I never see enough blotchy birds to equal the numbers of black and red males here today and gone tomorrow?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Beauty's in the eye of the be(camera)holder

Here's the question: isn't this post-sitting (all right, lying) Possum just the cutest thing?

So, what about the same Possum, showing (I think) pouch-dweller spine outward? Be better if the baby didn't look like something from the butcher, right?

How about Curl Grub? On way to becoming one of several species of moth. Sort of cute, but not so much when inspected closely?

Can't go wrong here. Big Dragonfly. Must be cute. Even as it tears head off prey. Then again ...

The big test. Lesser Black Whipsnake. Little bit dangerous. Among fastest things on no legs in Australia.

Not so cute? Not for many, I accept that. But I can't get enough of them. Depends on how we look at things, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Life's perks are walks in the parks

Life's a walk in the park these days. Well, more accurately, in the parks. And there's driving too, but you get the picture(s).

Pheasant Coucal seldom so still as this male which emerged from stand of bamboo before deciding to take to cover again.

Laughing Kookaburra barely has time for giggle with three impatient mouths to feed tucked away shyly and slyly in the shadows.

Unlike parent and immature Magpies on the hunt together. Though junior still having trouble telling wheat from chaff, so to speak.

Meanwhile female Wood Duck continues to walk alone, unable or unwilling to fly. Nor will it take to water if approached too closely, preferring to walk away quickly even when there's a pond close by.

But Mrs Magpie Goose knows where she wants to be. Bang in middle of small lotus pond bang in middle of big park, bang in middle-ish of city. Her only problem appears to be sister/aunt/midwive persisting in sharing nest platform and walking over sitter, until honked out of it.