Monday, January 31, 2011

Common Crows in place of birds

End of the month, few birds around, so here's three Common Crows.


Stick insect too shy to look me in the eye.


And an Agile Wallaby bridging the gap between us.


Best day's species count for January: 57. Very low 92 for the month. Escaped Cyclone Anthony with barely a breeze last night but powerful Yasi looms over Wednesday/Thursday.
Click pix to enlarge

Friday, January 28, 2011

Getting lowdown on Jacana shots

Been trying for shots of Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) from near water level. Today, lying prone, elbows in mud at pool edge, got down to business.


Camera's still not low enough! But it's about the best my body and gear can manage. No time for 'If at first ... '  so another challenge put aside. 
Click pix to enlarge

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Round robin roundup off target

Grey-headed Robin (Heteromyias cinereifrons) not target of latest trip up to Wallaman Falls yesterday but yet again no Riflebirds came into range.


Missed this Pale-yellow Robin (Tregellasia capito) picking at a worm and then had to settle for worm's eye view of bird on branch.


And from Tyto many sightings but no sharp Black Bittern pictures, so White-browed Robin (Poecilodryas superciliosa) completes round-robin.   
Click pix to enlarge

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tale of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii) descend on Indian almonds with strong appetites and stronger beaks.


Males are solid black with red under-tail panels.


Females come with light spots and bars, and barred yellow-red tail panels.


Plenty of action with three or four small flocks interacting today.


But too much cloud to capture glossy glory.
Click pix to enlarge

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Treecreeper rainforest highlight

Quick trip to high rainforest near Wallaman Falls yesterday found only this White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea) close to the camera. Then the clouds rolled in and the rain poured down.


No greater luck in the quest for Victoria's Riflebirds earlier in the month, when this wary Eastern (Common) Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) caught the eye.


More frustration today in Tyto with several sightings of Black Bitterns (Ixobrychus flavicollis), but only one distant bird standing still for a second.


Here's a sharper image of a more co-operative bird, Striated Heron (Butorides striata) sitting deep in mangroves near the coast.
Click pix to enlarge

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bird lists hard to count on

One can almost always count on seeing Yellow Honeyeaters (Lichenostomus flavus) at Tyto. 


And (above, today) White-browed Robins (Poecilodryas superciliosa) seldom fail to turn up for a tick.


Now the boring points about the foregoing. In nicely rounded numbers, alltime Tyto list grew to 240 in 2010.


My total species sighted in 2010: 170. December count: 100. Monthly counts well down on those for previous five years. A wet, greyish year.


So, how long will it now take to see all 240 birds on the list? Assuming someone cares, my answer: never! Too many (10-20) rare/odd sightings. 210 in three years would be my target. 


But only if La Nina clears off soon. Please ...
Click pix to enlarge

Monday, January 10, 2011

Osprey captures attention

Eastern Ospreys (Pandion cristatus) seldom look twice at Tyto lagoons.


But this bird made several passes over the water today after coming up empty-taloned with initial plunge. Improved my capture - did nothing for bird's appetite.
Click pix to enlarge

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Common Sandpiper on the rocks

Came upon this Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) today on rocks near a busy boat ramp.


Not uncommon behaviour, but first time I've spotted the species anywhere near the ramp.


Bird took off to sandier stretch of shore when I tried to clamber into position for shot from better angle.


Same problem with this Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops). But it's always difficult separating them from their muddy habitats. 
Click pix to enlarge

Monday, January 3, 2011

Exotics at home in the wetlands

Many Metallic Starlings (Aplornis metallica) flashing low through Tyto's lowering skies these days but had to journey slightly east on Ingham to get closeup of bird (above) on edge of social nesting area in large rain tree.


Meanwhile, back in the wetlands, Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) balance briefly on fence dividing Tyto from suburbia. Unfit to be pictured in such company, Mr Ugly, male Muscovy, in sole possession of front pools, will keep for another day.  
Click pix to enlarge