Tuesday, November 30, 2010

White-browed Crake stands out

High water levels mean fewer sightings of White-browed Crake (Amaurornis cinerea) because many of the birds quit the lagoon scleria for the surrounding flooded bladey grass.


But not all. Bird above ( and, top, on sedge) at lagoon's edge today squeaked and hissed in company with shyer partner for about 20 minutes, mostly, of course, half-hidden by sedge, grasses or other weeds.


Even showed off this small unidentified beetle? reward for all its foraging.


MISSING: Many birds. Species count of 93 for wet November almost 30 below average previous five years. And numbers low within many species.        
Click pix to enlarge

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Common Tern not so commonplace

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) seldom true to name in any part of its distribution around much of the Australian coast. Bird above - one of two fishing main lagoons this week - first of the migratory species to go on Tyto list (terns are tricky: three days to get a picture giving some certainty of ID!!!)


No uncertainty about these two young Pacific Bazas (Aviceda subcristata) near ready to quit the nest near the Tyto info centre. Limited experience suggests parent birds will soon split up and accompany one each of these two. At some later time the parents reunite, perhaps having to shake off an immature before breeding again.     
Click pix to enlarge

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baza goes for smash and grab

Smash and grab Pacific Baza (Aviceda subcristata) spreads wide and handsome in tree-top hunt for frogs and mantids. The birds sometimes choose to crash into upper foliage, shocking prey. Pair nesting high behind Tyto info centre amid tall paperbarks come and go mostly unnoticed. 


Also active, until the latest rains reflooded the area, pair of Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus). Keen interest in weed-free lagoons coincided with schools of fish 'hoovering' surface water. 
Click pix to enlarge

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Woodswallow tucks into tree fork

White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus) peers out from nest tucked typically into fork of paperbark. 


Brown-backed Honeyeaters (Ramsayornis modestus) nesting in same tree though little activity spotted through past three very wet days.   


Close by, Shining Flycatcher (Myiagra alecto) nesting near creek-side spot used earlier in the year. 


Male - much quicker to quit the nest - has been sharing more of the sitting this time.  
Click pix to enlarge  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunbird bends over backwards


Few headaches lately brought CT scan trip to Townsville yesterday, and some time looking (mostly) for anything interesting in dwindling wader spots. Nothing stood out among Sharp-tailed and Marsh Sandpipers, apart distant Latham's Snipe.


Best sight, female Olive-backed Sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis) at work on dangling nest. 


She even bent over backwards for me - but wouldn't stay still.


Also found young (rufous markings) Little Shrike-Thrush (Colluricincla megarhyncha) nearby, feeding, not gathering nest material.


Closer to home, got unsteady image of Barking Owl (Ninox connivens) the other night (watch out, possums!). Holding heavy spotlight and camera proved bit of a pain.


Talking of pain, and headaches, brain scan showed nothing (well, minimal grey matter) apart from treatable sinus condition. Spray for me, friends.
Click pix to enlarge     

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Brown-backed Honeyeaters in your face

 Hanging around nests for photographs isn't cool but when Brown-backed Honeyeaters (Ramsayornis modestus) start setting up house smack dab over the middle of the main Tyto entry track, well, what can you do?


Takes a bit more effort - and sets up more interesting images - to catch the bird at work elsewhere, above stripping nesting material from a small paperbark.


And here's another BB up a bit too close below the Tyto hide today.
Click pix to enlarge    

Friday, November 5, 2010

Purple Swamphen also Pukeko dekko

 Plenty of Purple Swamphens (Porphyrio porphyrio) in many parts of Australia. And - as Pukeko - in New Zealand. But there's just been this one in Tyto for months. Doesn't show itself every day, and rarely so close to the hide (above).


Elsewhere, found this bird daintily stripping seeds from roadside grasses close to a pair of small lagoons surrounded by sugar cane. Sorry about the tight full frame image: bird wouldn't move far enough away from the car!
Click pix to enlarge    

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

White-browed Robins repay patience

Targets for birders in Tyto include White-browed Robin (Poecilodryas superciliosa). Impatient group the other day quit quickly. Ten minutes later the bird above flitted here, there and everywhere among trees near the lookout knoll.


More bustling activity by the bird and its partner yesterday - and hungry calls - led to this sturdy juvenile.


Stick around long enough and the birds pop up, and occasionally almost accept the intrusion.


Thus, another crack at capturing magic of Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) eye colour.

 Finally, another eye. Common Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulata) stretches out along top strand of fence wire in morning sun this week.     
Click pix to enlarge