Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tug-o'-war before Woodswallow swallows

Immature White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus) awaiting return of parent (to river cherry tree by Palm Creek at Mungalla Station) had to engage in mini tug-o'-war before eventually taking delivery of the prey.


Even bird parents sometimes have to encourage a youngster to eat but in this case the parent seemed genuinely reluctant when push came to shove to surrender the food. Parents stopped hawking soon after so no repeat performances. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Flying foxes keep hanging around

Flying foxes hanging around in thousands and slowly killing their colonised trees in Ingham's Memorial Gardens. Not even last week's 170km/h westerly blasts shifted any on.

Also hanging around, three recent(-ish) reptile pictures from here and there:

Carpet python up close and set to strike (indeed, soon
gave the lens a nudge)

Saltwater croc carries bits of salvinia camouflage

Frilled lizard clings to 'safety' of dead tree  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bird's sharp, but is the bokeh okay?

Getting the bird in focus is paramount: a lovely out-of-focus (bokeh) background is desirable but often impossible when stalking in the field. Got the bokeh with Pheasant Coucal (Centropus phasianinus) on Orient Station post. Pity about the scruffy grass.

Better with Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus), though the stalk is a little ragged.


Two views from same frame of distant Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) come closer to getting it right.

Monday, January 19, 2015

White-bellied Sea-Eagle makes me look good

It's usually me trying to make the birds look good, but here's a White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) making me look good, by seeming to stare right down the lens on taking off from tall paperbark along Palm Creek.


Bird made restless even before my arrival when pair of Black-shouldered Kites objected to it landing on 'their' dead tree. I missed that action but captured two flight frames as bird launched again.


Next time, I'll ask it to pick cleaner background, allowing more hope of holding it in focus for a longer sequence. But it can keep seeming to stare at me for as long as it likes. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Highlights from the morning highway

Some mornings the three kilometres into Ingham provide the day's birding highlights. For example, Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) in spoon drain that runs under highway.


Didn't seem to be having much luck with finding anything worth swallowing and quickly cast away the few objects it picked up.

Seemingly even unluckier, perhaps from glancing road blow, male Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) right alongside the highway.

Bird was carrying right wing awkwardly but escaped into long grass and scrub before I could attempt a rescue.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bustard mustered unflustered

Morning encounter with Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis) brought surprise.

After circling bird slowly it walked towards rather than away from the Troopy and began series of stretches.

Bit of showing off followed before unhurried flight to get on with hunting up breakfast.


May have been same bird getting ready to tuck into inkweed two mornings earlier. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Catching landings and landing catches

Caught couple of wetland landings in warm morning light at Mungalla Station, first with Eastern Great Egret (Ardea modesta) nearing touchdown ...


... then Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia) glowing a catching pinky-white while coming down to join the crowd.


And in same session captured Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia) landing a tasty catch. Success is catching!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Lorikeets outslurp daintier Corellas


Flashy and messy, pair of Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) climb into slurpy mango at the Tyto carpark.


How messy? Very!



More delicate feeders, band of five Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea) beside highway about 300 metres from the wetlands this morning.


Almost certainly same five birds - species rare to the area -  that fooled me into misidentification as Long-billeds or hybrids when spotted along road to Abergowrie three or four months back.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Little Curlew joins uncommon appearances

Fewer rarities among migratory species touching down around Ingham this season, so surprising to see Little Curlew (Numenius minutus) along Orient Station yesterday.

Attempted to stalk bird from the old Troopy but it slipped under fence and walked off across distant pasture.

Another one-off sighting recently, Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum), another bird to tease from afar and quit the district as suddenly as it appeared.

Not so uncommon, Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva), with vestiges of breeding colouring on show.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Brown Songlarks stay singing in the rain

Found family of three Brown Songlark (Cincloramphus cruralis) a fortnight back uncommonly near coast at Orient Station rather than inland over the Great Divide.

Managed long shot of female but immature bird and the always larger male proved much flightier.

Three trips later and yesterday managed to drive up close enough to get decent images of the immature bird just after it  finished bathing in small road puddle. Much singing in light drizzle followed between distant mother and child before both flew off. Didn't see or hear the male.


Steady overnight rain, which looks likely to continue most of today, may drive the birds back west (where the Wet is desperately needed with a three-year drought declared in many areas).

Friday, January 2, 2015

Peacock lights up the neighbourhood

Peacock poses on log in vacant block near Tyto Wetlands today. (Background colour tweaked for greater impact.)

Bird rules roost in several backyards and this morning made a run for it through a garage, up and over trailer, around the back of a house, down the road, up into a tree, and finally flew 70 metres into a gauva grove. Longest flight I've seen from any bird with a 1.5-metre tail.