Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Blustery breeze keeps Zitting sitting

Blustery breeze across Orient Station yesterday made things bit unpleasant but helped keep Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) close to the ground...



... and to the fenceline.


Not an easy bird to get clear pictures of in its preferred habitat.


And when chance comes of right place and right pose (on a less blustery day), the bird's too far away!


As also, yesterday, was male Brown Songlark (Cincloramphus cruralis), my first sighting of the species at the station, and only my second in the Ingham area.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mystery colours Grey Whistler races

Bit of a mystery bird, the Grey Whistler (Pachycephala simplex). Two races, simplex, plainish and confined to Northern Territory, and peninsulae, with lemon underbelly and located in northeast Queensland.

But there's no hint of lemon in most Grey Whistlers around Ingham, such  as the above at Jourama Falls yesterday.

As to grey, it's easy to see why alternative name - little-used, though more appropriate - is Brown Whistler.


Elsewhere at Jourama, no mystery about White-browed Robin (Poecilodryas superciliosa), which, unlike Grey Whistler, seldom stays silent for very long.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fig-parrots take the eye

Fruitless hunt for Victoria's Riflebirds along the Wallaman Falls road at least bore some fruit with uncommon sightings of Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma race macleayana).

Three of the tiny frugivores feasted for a few minutes on spindly, sparsely fruiting fig trees before streaking off with their squeaky 'zeet zeets'. Ten years of Wallaman drives and the first time up close to the species.


From small fruit-eaters to big: Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii). Two flew over the Wallaman road yesterday, but more usual sightings come near the coast. The big birds love ripping into big green almonds, leaving part-eaten fruit and small branches and leaves littering the ground.

And two tidier eaters, one each just for Jarvi and Moss: Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus).

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Spotted Catbird spotted in open

Making a change from mee-yowling from some hidden spot in the rainforest canopy, Spotted Catbird (Ailuroedus melanotis) pops into the open along the Wallaman Falls road between showers the other day. Four others showed out briefly, then  all five vanished. Typical rainforest experience.

As also with shy White-headed Pigeon (Columba leucomela) along the Paluma Dam road on another showery day. Seldom seen away from the treetops, the bird touched down beside a creek and foraged among the stones for a minute or two. Then, gone and not seen or heard again.

Less wary, but another higher altitude dweller, Yellow-faced Honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops) calls from alongside a track to the west of Wallaman Falls. Sunnier setting on a sunnier day.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pallid Cuckoos uncommon sightings


Uncommon sightings close together along Orient Station road today, two immature Pallid Cuckoos (Cacomantis pallidus), only one of which sat up nicely on a post. The other, a lighter coloured bird that would not sit for the camera, begged without success from a White-breasted Woodswallow, clearly one of the four put-upon parents. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cor, love a duck (hard core)!

Nothing like a breakfast of duck in the mud to get Water Python's day off to a flying start.


Came upon snake engulfing (in-gulping?) waterbird with black webbed feet at the edge of the main Tyto lagoon yesterday.


Probably been at it for hours before I chanced along.

Another half-hour and the bird (possibly, Grey Teal) was no more than a bump in the middle of the  snake, which cruised off into the shallow water and mud to  set about digesting things.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Grass Owl rises from the ricegrass

Super start to 2014 as Eastern Grass-Owl (Tyto longimembris) flushes from swamp ricegrass at the western end of the main Tyto Wetlands lagoon.

The extended dry period since one downpour in mid-November has been good for the owls, snug in their ricegrass roosts by day and flying out to find prey by night.

It's almost certainly coincidental - though a little intriguing - that owl sightings have increased lately as ground snake sightings in Tyto have, since 2009, fallen markedly.