Sunday, November 29, 2015

Young Kookaburra survives naturally

Juvenile Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) looking lost and alone on ground close to Tyto entrance. Poor wee thing. Might be injured. We'll pick it up and look after it at home. Or find a wildlife carer for it.

Avoid such well-meaning action. Leave the bird alone. If its life is truly threatened maybe look for close safe spot. Leave it to the parents then to do their job.

As they quickly did when this bird fluttered feebly off after our little session the other morning.

Let Nature be!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Muddy paws and day moths just part of frilly season

Birds! Birds! Birds! Is that all you think of? Well, yes. Mostly. But sometimes something else jumps out of grass, brush or tree and grabs the attention. So, Frilled Lizard in middle of slashed track back of Tyto Wetlands yesterday.

Top image: first grab with 300mm lens, from Troopy; above with 600mm from same point: big difference in depth of field.

And see what happens upon leaving Troopy to get ground-level shots. Off runs Frilly and it's goodbye to the ground.

Sticking to the ground, Agile Wallaby in Tyto digs into cooling mud as recent day moves from high 20s to mid-30s. Plenty more mud and hot days ahead.

Just the thing for North Queensland Day Moths, it seems. See none for months, then the noon-day air is alive with them. Above, somewhat overflashed.

Frustratingly flighty, the moths also seemingly love to come to rest in the most difficult spot for the chasing photographer: upsidedown on the underside of palm fronds is a favourite. Had to wriggle on back across undergrowth for above (underlit) image,





Friday, November 20, 2015

Not much bonding in the marsh

Cannot convince any Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) in Tyto to stand still and allow me close.


Usually a pair or two on the main lagoon every morning. They seldom feed close together, so reflections must stand in for togetherness.

Much earlier in the year a Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) did allow really close approach.

But the images have sat for months in 'latest' folder. Stick-in-the-mud became stuck-in-the-folder.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Grass Owls in clover over platoons in ratoons

Rat plague! screamed heading and story in Ingham's Herbert Valley Express at the weekend. So female Eastern Grass-Owl (Tyto longimembris) arcing away after flying out of swamp ricegrass in Tyto Wetlands today should be living in clover, after gobbling squeaking platoons of cane rats amid the ratoons.

Not so sure about there being more rats than usual as the cane harvest nears an end. But it's surely a great time of year to be exclusively a rat eater. What happens to the rat? Well, it goes down, is digested and repacked bones and hair for coughing up as a pellet (above left): one pellet, one rat, as spread out above.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Shining Bronze-cuckoos taking shine to Tyto



Shining Bronze-Cuckoo (Chalcites lucidus) making more regular appearances in Tyto in last year or two. Though probably still outnumbered by more tree-loving Littles and Gould's, the Shinings some mornings show out as often as Horsfield's Bronzes in competing for prey among  weedy habitat.

So, saving best for last, I got lucky in chasing bird around reveg area the other morning to capture it on a clean background and with low angle of sunlight doing full justice to the bronze tones.  Image also benefits from two major elements: seeming interaction between bird and camera; and cropping to the 'rule of thirds'  (in this case, to place the bird's eye one-third in and one-third down in the picture).

And following up on previous post, another eel about to go down the hatch. Even as I broke into fast walk to get closer Eastern Great Egret (Ardea modesta) flipped neck up and slurped the eel down in a flash. If I were an egret I'd be an eel lover too. No nasty spines and the perfect shape for swallowing fast.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Whistling Kite makes catch of the day

Surprise catch of the day in Tyto late this morning with Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus) launching from above me ...

... going straight to centre of shin-deep main lagoon to strike and grab eel ...

... and heading off with writhing prey ...

... still spraying droplets of water as the kite turned back towards trees - with glimpse of lookout shelter in background.

It all seems so easy, but most Whistling and Black Kites do not exhibit any skill at taking live fish or eels, even after seeing others of their species make catches.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Baza, Collared Sparrowhawk too fast for me

Trying to catch Pacific Baza (Aviceda subcristata) up close with its wings spread but it took off skywards too fast for me. The old reflexes almost caught up, achieving the sort of arty shot I used to occasionally try for - and never did half so well as this accidental effort.

Another raptor, another failed flight hope. Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) simply sat tight in Tyto - until I lowered weighty lens. Gone in a flash, of course. Always much discussion of differences between Sparrowhawk and Brown Goshawk. Bird above shows typical Sparrowhawk lengthy middle toe (left foot, between leaves) and less beetled brow.