Showing posts from October, 2016

Crawling about to compare Crakes and measure shakes

Bit of crawling about in front of the Tyto hide today and earlier in week brought White-browed Crakes more or less eye-to-eye.

Also brought chance to compare 600mm lens (top) with old 400+1.4x (above). The birds didn't seem to mind the huge 600 or the slender 400 being pointed at them from close across a narrow channel.

But most of the 600 shots were usable, unlike those from nonstabilised 400. Two exceptions above.

Same story- even with tripod - while chasing White-browed Robin juvenile first seen on the ground yesterday. Above 600 handheld of premature nest-leaver hugging the leaf litter.

Didn't want to upset chittering, flittering parent birds too much, so quit and hunted for the group again this morning. Took some time but found youngster looking much stronger (above).

Again though, even shooting from tripod and using various means to brace everything few shots with 400+1.4x combo truly sharp. So, back into the cupboard with the 400.

Welcome Swallows busy moving mud

Lot of mud on the move from Tyto drain to nearby Welcome Swallow building project this morning.

Not so keen on mud, Plumed Whistling Ducks stand at one of their regular daytime spots close to drain.

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin drops in to seek seeds.

Some lovelies in place of refound Lovelies

Got first glimpse in two years of Lovely Fairy-wren near the Tyto hide this week. But only Red-backed Fairy-wrens to show for many hours in the wetlands.

And males proving as always extremely difficult to capture in all their black and red glory.
Also active around the hide and elsewhere, Olive-backed Sunbird. Above, male yet to come into full breast colour. And a Yellow Honeyeater showing off briefly on same paperbark branch in front of hide.

Some somethings in the water around Ingham

Is there something in the water in Ingham? Well, yes there is. Here's a large skink (Ctenotus spp) taking breather after causing White-browed Crake to jump as skink powered through water under bird near the Tyto hide today.

The Crake had being pottering around in muddy shallows before flying across narrow channel by the hide.

Elsewhere, in Tyto, loitering with more intent, Comb-crested Jacanas put their heads together over the issue of 'nest' for coming issue. Weed on lotus leaf was their fourth go at laying platform. Then down came 30mm of rain welcomed by all local gardeners. But the Jacanas must start over.

Elsewhere, at Mungalla Station, little Saltwater Crocodile pokes head from shallows, perhaps looking for any of 5-6 siblings in the lower Palm Creek wetlands. Or for 4m mum.

And what else is in the Ingham water? Fluoride, that's what. And that's as it should be. But yet again the flat-earthers are battering at the shire's door, demanding its removal. Wha…

Luck takes a hand in what's spied from the hide

Lady Luck got to work for me in Tyto today. Been haunting the hide of late because water levels gradually dropping and offering bit more mud for White-browed Crakes - in particular - to forage on out in the open. Doubly lucky to get a bird right below hide, after just missing great action shot yesterday.

And there have been teasing calls - mainly from afar, once quite near - from Australian Little Bittern/s. More luck. Today's sighting of female and male could not have been made from the hide. Distant picture above of male with treefrog (probably Peron's - usually brownish, but as with many frogs able to change colour) came as I was returning after quick check on nesting fantails and sunbathing python.
More luck. Walk to Northern Fantail nest led me to almost step on Large-tailed Nightjar. Blur of brown before my eyes and much diversionary fluttering followed. 
Bird kept trying to lure me away. I kept trying to locate egg/s/hatchling/s, oh so cryptic and laid or lying near th…

Many questions about behaviour

Today we shall talk of bladders and behaviour. Fear not, you're safe from revelations about an old man's prostate. Bladder cicadas, which confine their calls to dusk and soon after dark, lead off.

Took almost an hour of searching for anything insecty to turn up the above pair this week. Usually only see these cicadas when they've fallen victim to larger birds.

Much messing about in annoying breeze produced few shots in focus. Yesterday, walked from patch of bush, felt something crawling up leg. Yep. Bladder cicada. None for months. Then three. Just like the buses: none, then three come (maths whizzes can explain the buses).

Next to young Rufous-throated Honeyeater (age shown in white edge to gape: back of beak). This bird picked away at growth on branch. Just the stuff for a nest, right? Yes, but ... but bird's too young for the job. Seemed to realise this and moments later let material fall. Copying elders? I don't know.

Now Crimson Finch male. They're buildi…

Dragons watch over jewels

All know that a major task for dragons is guarding treasure (and trying to scorch fair maids). No sign of latter lately but below be jewels.