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Showing posts from October, 2011

Pied Monarch flits about

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Pied Monarch (Arses kaupi) flits here and there around me at Jourama Falls (25km south of Ingham). Partial compensation for Shining Flycatchers refusing to come in range several days after building nest above Waterview Creek.

On the water front ...

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Week's showers reflooded Tyto reedbeds and brought Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) in yesterday: first small wader for many months.


Same reeds, less peaceful some days ago: Intermediate Egrets (Ardea intermedia) squabble over territory.


Intermediates have enviable strike rate, but no luck this time.


Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) looks for slower-moving prey. 


And Pacific Heron (Ardea pacifica) stands above the fray.
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Emerging thick and fast

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Yesterday afternoon, helpless and getting a bit wet in Tyto drizzle.


This morning, warmer, 50 metres from 'nest'.


Bush Thick-knees (Burhinus grallarius) disappearing down south, but thriving in parts of North Queensland. No foxes here!
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Young Willie Wagtail tells tale

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Juvenile Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) tells heart-warming tale. Picture nest alongside Tyto lookout. Two fledglings. Three boys walk up. Branch and nest wrenched from tree. Severe lecture. Boys slink off. Nest stuck back into tree fork. Wagtail parents accept change. Fledglings thrive. Mature. Parents immediately build new nest by old site. Three eggs. Wagtails rule!
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Flycatcher not the only one shining

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Male Shining Flycatcher (Myiagra alecto) takes a break from building nest over water at Jourama Falls south of Ingham. 


Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor) on tumbled stones near a Jourama ford.

In Tyto, immature Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis) gleams in late morning sunshine.


Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) close up.


Varied Triller (Lalage leucomela) glistens on coastal growth, Lucinda sandspit.   
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Starlings show their mettle

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Tyto's lookout fig tree full of action lately. Male Eastern Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) continues trying to deny other birds a feed. (The motive may not be greed but an effort - as a great provider - to attract females.) 


But Metallic Starlings (Aplornis metallica) - in town for seasonal noisy social nesting - have proven unafraid of their larger fellow migrant. 


And Australasian Figbirds (Sphecotheres vielloti) won't be denied a share of the fruit.
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Eastern Grass-Owl found at last, alas

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After years of searching without luck in Tyto Wetlands and elsewhere for the Eastern Grass-Owl (Tyto longimembris) an unhappy find today: dead bird by the road to Wallaman Falls.   
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Closeup with three snakes

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Happened upon a couple of pythons in past three days. Some followers eagerly await close encounters with snakes, so here goes!


Evening walk found Carpet Snake (Morelia spilota) doing some late sunning. But not keen on poking tongue out even when camera poked in face.


Unlike Amethystine Python (Morelia amethistina) taking it easy near Tyto lookout after consuming something bulky.


Finally, friendly Common Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulata) in the Tyto hide. Caught halfway up hide, snake put up with 30 minutes one-way conversation and much stroking by hand. They are - of course - harmless.    
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Orioles offer rousing sounds

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Tyto's close to southern edge of range for Yellow Oriole (Oriolus flavocinctus) and its rousing, ringing 'cholonk, cholonk' and raspy sneer.


Olive-backed Oriole (Oriolus sagittatus) extends over huge eastern and northern range and offers gentler 'olly, olly o', musical muttering and softer sneer.


Both species busy in the wetlands these days, though often heard rather than seen clearly. 
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Koel fights to fend off Figbirds

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First close sighting for season of Eastern Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) in Tyto yesterday. A few calls heard earlier in the month.


Bird busy defending flourishing fig tree at the lookout.


But the Australasian Figbird (Sphecotheres vielloti) does really, really love figs. Koel couldn't fight them all off.
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Red-backed Wrens fairy flitters

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Red-backed Fairy-wrens (Malurus melanocephalus) sometimes show up in excited groups, teasing the observer/photographer with the prospect of five or six glowing males caught in focus showing off to similar numbers of females.


No such picture emerges. The small birds flash through scruffy, scrubby tangles of weeds, fallen trees, bladey grass, sedge and scleria. Seldom does one - let alone five or six - pause in clear view. 


Even when one male does come to a brief halt on a sunny day there's the maddening problem of the gorgeous black sheen reflecting so much light that much feather detail is lost.


But on an overcast day the matt black can make a bird look drab.


Then there's the eyes, so dark they are often indistinguishable within the black mass of the head. But one must keep trying ...
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Plover poses - Pipit pauses

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Hot-footed it across Lucinda sands yesterday in pursuit of Red-capped Plovers (Charadrius ruficapillus).


Mostly, birds faster than me. But one hopped onto driftwood and stopped briefly.


Also darting about the dunes, Australasian Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae).
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