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Showing posts from September, 2013

Mixed blessing seeing owls by day

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Mixed blessing finding night birds by day as in today's find of Southern Boobook (Ninox novaeseelandiae) in Leichhardt tree in Tyto Wetlands. Too much light and shadow.

In Tyto carpark three days ago, too much bottlebrush surrounding Eastern Barn Owl (Tyto javanica).

And too much paperbark around Barn Owl at Mungalla Station.

Meanwhile, hunt for Grass Owls found  only Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) on  track.

Swiftlets streak across the sky

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Australian Swiftlet (Aerodramus terraereginae) doing some typical high-speed hawking, above Orient Station today. Several hundred shots for three shaky images.

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), at Mungalla, an easier target.

So too youngish White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster).

And White-eyed Duck, formerly Hardhead (Aythya australis), at Tyto.

Long Little Bittern neck from long way with long lens

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Australian Little Bittern (Ixobrychus dubius) stretches his long neck toward breakfast in Tyto's main lagoon. Missed subsequent strike. But picture worth noting: Canon 5DIII from 70 metres, with 1.4 and 2.0 converters stacked on 400mm lens, for 1120mm. Extremely fiddly, sensitive manual focus in live view. Wifi shutter release.

Much easier shooting Salty down the road at Cattle Creek from half the distance.

Mangrove Robins must start again

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Mangrove Robin (Peneonanthe pulverulenta) proposes. Man proposes. Nature disposes.


Found pair nesting in mangroves. Happy to allow close approach. Two eggs laid. Week later, no eggs, nest being re-established nearby. Start over again.

There are Square-tailed Kites . . . and Queer-taled Skites

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There are Square-tailed Kites (Lophoictinia isura) . . . 

Like this bird, in Tyto today, first listing at the site for the species.

. . . and there are Queer-taled Skites. No pictures of the wide-ranging species, often - too often - met at birding haunts. But, be warned, QTSs, I'm getting grumpy. Spare me, too, the Wally Wig-tales.

So, goodbye gullible turn, hello Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon niloticaso).

Bustard gets away with dodgy wing

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Four Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis) on Mungalla Station pasture for months. Three fly readily: one mostly walks away.


No wonder, after latest pictures revealed state of bird's underwing. Surprising the bird can fly at all, let alone strongly, as it does. (Bustards - Australia's heaviest flying birds - also being seen in other areas around Ingham.)

Wee while with woodswallows

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Spent a wee while lately looking for White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus) action in Tyto. 

Flying comes easy as falling off a branch, but flight pictures? Not so easy.

But a passing White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) lifted my spirits at least.

Pied Currawongs take shine to Shoebuttons

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Young Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina) takes a break from a minor role in a massive invasion. An uncommonly large flock of about 200 recently moved through the Jourama Falls area. Some birds moved north and - unusually - have stayed in southwestern parts of Tyto Wetlands.


The attraction? Shoebutton (Ardisia elliptica), yet another garden import showing an unwelcome love of life in North Queensland. Birds find the 2-5-metre shrub berry, berry much to their liking. Of small consolation, the  fruit is not poisonous to people. Another runaway weed for the wetlands. From one or two to thousands in five years!