Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

Some quail being alone, others don't flinch



Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora) upset at losing contact after covey of three flushed at Orient Station this week walked and ran 100 metres back up track to cattle grid where the birds had been feeding, all the time sending out low calls. It then turned and ran back the way it came. Not a bird happy finding itself alone.


Unlike this Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) feeding roadside and surprisingly alone. Bird continued to feed as I drove near. We then played wee game of hide and seek around and under the Troopy. Zeb numbers have been lower than past years along the Orient road, in spite of dry conditions expected to favour their presence.


Meanwhile, much nesting going on in Tyto Wetlands. Yellow Honeyeater (Lichenostomus flavus) just one of many birds and species building apace without worrying about the missing Wet. Perhaps they're even enjoying a time of patchy light and less often heavy showers and much sunshine.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Take a butcher's at this colourful lot

But it's brown, why's it called a Black Butcherbird? I'm glad you asked. In North Queensland - but not too far north - Cracticus quoyi race rufescens comes with either black or rufous young, in the same nest sometimes. The rufous birds change to black in their second year (note black emerging on bird's left wing. They'll also stick around and help their parents feed the next generation.

But it's brown, why's it called a Grey Teal? I'm sorry you asked, because I've no idea. Possibly because calling it brown would confuse it with Chestnut Teal. The species confuse themselves and others by hybridizing sometimes.

But it's black, why isn't it called the Yellow-streaked-necked-male Bittern? Ha! They get it right sometimes, though the female isn't really very black.

Don't ask me how the Darter managed to escape the colour determinists, though it did get saddled with the tag Snake-bird, which, I'm pleased to say, nobody has ever used in my experience. I'd much rather go for Very Twisty Neck Bird, but that's a bit colourless.

And there's obviously too much white everywhere and it's such a boring colour anyway the colour must come from a really really exciting name, such as Intermediate Egret. Not Great or Little or Reef. All too dull, dull, dull. Intermediate, now that's a name with zing. Like a Bill Shorten zinger! Talk about colourful. But actually something in this picture does bring him to mind ...


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Cassowary surprise on Mt Fox road

Out into drought country today for look at Ingham's modern(-ish) volcano, Mt Fox.

Road up the range runs through patches of rainforest. What else runs through rainforest? Big birds with big built-in helmets. Young male Cassowary feeding on seeds (and ignoring sweet lemons on ground nearby). Tried for close-up, but passing truck spooked bird.

What sits on dead branches above rainforest and dry-country trees alike? Rollers, or Dollarbirds (because of their big wing windows). Couldn't cash in on flight pictures because bird took off and didn't return.

And what soars majestically above Mt Fox? One of the six Wedgetail Eagles on view during the morning. (But missed any pictures of less common Varied Sitellas high in trees at base of Fox.)


Bonus rainforest bird (from last trip to Wallaman Falls), Superb Fruit-Dove, heard but unseen today near Cassowary area.