Thursday, April 30, 2015

Australian Pratincoles dig life on the road


It's not only Dharma Bums that dig being on the road. Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella) likes nothing more than dropping in from on high and cruising the Orient station scene ...

... or grooving in the mud in nearby Cassady country (Mungalla).

Less often seen on the road, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata) creates optical illusion: being wholly on road but seemingly in water from ankles (where our knees are) down.


Standing in water rather than on a road is more their go.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ill wind good blow for Torresian Crow

It's an ill wind ... that carries the stench of death to the delicate  stomach of birdwatcher without also attracting more robust appetites, in this instance Torresian Crows' (Corvus orru).

Can get crowded at the feast. Mostly young birds first on the carcase, with white-eyed mature bird late to the plate.

Fat smear under bill: many birds showed preference for fat over flesh.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Butterflies busy with bee on flowering grass tree

Follow that bee, Blue One. Roger, Skipper. Regent Skippers (Euschemon rafflesia) line up behind interloper on flowering grass tree spike at Wallaman Falls lookout area.

Red-bodied Swallowtail (Pachliopta polydorus) also in the area but wouldn't get in line for a group shot.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Oriental Cuckoo in flight at Tyto


Want to see bad pictures of an Oriental Cuckoo? No? Well another Tony does, so here we have distant flight at Tyto the other morning. Only the two in-flight images, so lucky to have contrasting wing positions. No Orientals seen last year: 3-4 late-season birds last few weeks.


Sticking with less than perfect, Black-necked Stork with wriggling  eel. Had to stop on Cattle Creek bridge on main (Bruce) highway for quick shots with Troopy's diesel motor pounding but got lucky  break in traffic.

Better shot of Budgerigar along Orient Road recently. Not so lucky with the barbed wire (rusty's better: natural material better yet).

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Magpie Geese happy to be big heads

Lots of big knobs at Orient Station these days. Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata) males are all big heads. 


Maybe the conk on top comes from having a bird family all their own. Makes them feel special. That, and the hooked bill, and part-webbed feet.

Plenty of healthy green feed, lots of company (800 on these reeds yesterday), and any number of females without big heads.

Could life be any better?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Brown Falcon, Osprey take a closer look

Big brown bonus of followup search for Painted Snipe (previous post) came with one of Orient Station's resident Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) pair taking up position on handy post.

And showing off every shade of brown on takeoff. This bird may be female because somewhat larger then light-coloured mate, seen, but less often within camera range.

Another raptor dropping in, Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus) making one of several passes overhead during my recent walk out along the Lucinda sandspit.

The bird really did seem interested in me, though hard to mistake camera and lens for something fishy. And Ospreys are rather picky about their food (nothing dead, thank you!).  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Who are you to call anyone ugly, you turkey.


Ugly? Who are you to call anyone ugly, you turkey! You'll think we look pretty enough come Thanksgiving or Christmas!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Painted Snipe pops up after 17 years

Taken 17 years but today an Australian Painted Snipe (Rostratula australis) finally popped up in front of me.

A male, the bird was feeding busily at the edge of a flooded claypan/hymenachne paddock beside the road through Orient Station, southeast of Ingham.

Species is on the all-embracing Hinchinbrook area list, but I've no idea how long ago regular sightings were being made to justify it as a 'common seasonal' visitor.

But will it be there tomorrow? Perhaps with a female? We'll see...  

Friday, April 3, 2015

A question and some quite interesting bits

Why so many turtle shells under tall trees near wetlands? 

Ask White-bellied Sea Eagles. Quick count below two Leichhardt trees at Mungalla Station came to 16 victims. And the birds have other, more favoured, trees around the wetlands.

Just another Eastern Grey Kangaroo. But the sturdy male is one of just four seen lately along the road towards Wallaman Falls. My first sighting of the species in the Ingham area in 15 years. Perhaps the inland drought has pushed them east.

Another uncommon grey sighting, Slatey Grey Snake, crossing a track near the upper parts of the Wallaman road. Inoffensive and unconcerned by my approach, the 1.2-1.3m snake is the first I've seen in Seaview Range rainforest. Who knows, I may have been the first human the snake has seen? But probably not.

More often seen, though possibly a trifle unsighted itself, Sacred Kingfisher with cracked and dried nictitating membrane stuck in place over right eye. Wasn't hampering bird's darts at grasshoppers in Mungalla hymenachne.

Curtain of silken threads in Tyto on a recent morning marks overnight exodus of small caterpillars from their breeding and feeding places in leaf-ravaged Cheese trees. Some trees lose all green leaf, yet bounce back for more next season. And one day I'll learn the caterpillars' future.

Thought I knew about Black-necked Storks' future when this pair stood around and later sat around on Mungalla nest. Seems they had second thoughts. Birds have since been together fishing, successfully, along Palm Creek most mornings. But no more nesting or breeding behaviour.

Bit of sporty behaviour from Mungalla youngster: low jump from old stock ramp. Can be a long wait between bovine action shots. 

And the water Olympics may be cancelled this Wet for want of the wet stuff. These two should be shoulder high in it at this time of year. Pretty. Dry. Eh?