Monday, September 18, 2017

Centipede in midnight bed - should one leg it?

What to do when Scary Thing turns up in bed with you after midnight? Grab it inside fistful of sheet and reach for the bedlight, mumbling 'Bloody Geckos (Asian House variety) and reach inside sheet ready to hurl intruder back outside.

Ouch, intruder bitey. Fling on to carpet and see many legs in motion. Upturned microwave bowl stops runaway Giant Centipede - all 46 legs, two of them adapted as venomous black fangs (on show above) - in tracks. Pop into fridge. Return to sleep. Take pictures as Mr Scary warms up later in morn. Return to leaf litter under back hedge.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Egret flaps, Ibises stand out, Neon Bee shines

Oops, toes too long, twigs too tiny, Intermediate Egret fights for balance in the Town Common today.

But casting shadow of its head on inside of wing is a nice touch.

Sharing fast-dropping small pool with the egrets, Australian White Ibis stands shadowed in shallows.

Unlike Straw-necked Ibis, on rock in city park (and sitting in picture folder for weeks: awaiting 'right' opening).

And ... and a bright blue bee. A Neon Cuckoo Bee. It's not just birds that sneak eggs into other species' nests.

Colour here curved to max to show bee as it looks in strong late morning sunshine. Extremely neony!


Monday, September 11, 2017

Happy brush with Black-faced Monarch

Caught briefest glimpse of Black-faced Monarch in the Common two weeks ago but took till this morn to confirm sighting. Bird's breakfast capture bit of a bonus.

Ditto with White-throated Honeyeater and juvenile Brush Cuckoo. Lucky to get almost clear view of the juvenile and even luckier with food transfer.

But pairing of Barking Owls just down the road seems to have lasted only two days. One bird for a week became two together on Saturday and again yesterday. Back to one this morn. Sitting in trees almost over the top of the dust and noise of the park road possibly didn't appeal to the presumed female (left in pic).

And here's a mystery (sort of) guest. Huh, that's just a Tussock Moth caterpillar, cry you one and all. Yep, but many lack scientific identification. This may be one such. Caterpillar crawled into view of Troopy's seat cover. Probably from off my shirt. Week-long search turned up no more caterpillars, nor any (flightless) females. Night mothing with torch-lit white sheet to find males might be necessary.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Ravens too quick for Channel-billed Cuckoos

Channel-billed Cuckoos are back and looking to sneak their eggs into raven and crow nests. The two seen today are possibly birds heard over weekend near Town Common entry gate. Bad news for the biggies, Australian Ravens have already reared early young this season. And the once-dominant Torresian Crow - a later breeder - is less common hereabouts nowadays. But I saw a Pied Currawong - another parasitised species - across town the other day. Near Anderson Park, whose tall gums draw many Channel-billeds seeking night-roosting. Watch out, Currawongs!

And watch out, young Black-shouldered Kite. Bird enjoying bit of preening in the morning sun yesterday found itself under fire from three White-breasted Woodswallows, offended by the Kite daring to sit atop 'their' tree. Kite flinched and flinched again before surrendering the perch. Next time seen, the immature's streaky breast may be as adult white as the Woodswallows'.

Plenty of white on show this morning with White-throated Heron waiting patiently for me to move away from nearby pool so it could get back to feeding. Mud in many pools ankle deep a few days ago is fast drying out.

Which is good news because of a sudden Magpie Geese - missing since our wet week late in May - are returning. None two days ago; 190 yesterday; 600 today. Sorry, hard to capture image of 600, two, plus a few, have to do.

And finally down to one. Nice little male Olive-backed Sunbird. Like the colour? It's done with HDR plugin comes with latest version of Gimp. (You didn't need to know that, but there's some showing off involved).

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Don't have to tell these brown birds to put back into it

Busy, busy, busy. None busier these days than Brown-backed Honeyeaters.

Nesting, nesting, nesting. No birds nesting more these days than Brown-backed Honeyeaters.

Maddening, maddening, maddening. Trying to capture Brown-backed Honeyeaters in flight.

Or in sharp focus on their quivery nests at end of low, light branches or foliage. And these birds are building around a large acacia pod on a small tree totally open to view and close to much-trafficked parking area. MTC

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Eye! Eye! Brown Snake's eye for the macabre

 Brown Snake shows an eye for the macabre (not quite the insight of the Three-eyed Raven however).
Life and death in the Townsville Common Conservation Park yesterday.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Branching out from woodswallows to coucals

Stiff breezes appear to have assisted prey up towards small appreciative groups of White-breasted Woodswallows in recent mornings.

Spent a few hours trying to catch a few birds in flight. Bit of cheating going on with these images.

Birds were coming and going from dead upright branch. Which has been cloned from the pictures. The birds are otherwise simply too fast for me.

Lots slower, Pheasant Coucals wandering down the road, singly, or often lately in hopeful or breeding pairs.

The birds frustrate photographers by almost always running, jumping, climbing or flying into the light.

Almost always. But then comes 'that' morning.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Blue-wing Kookaburra, Brown Snake stars in ratty doco

Wildlife docos are mostly unwatchably phoney these days. False juxtapositions of predators and prey,  wranglers prodding fauna into near studio setups for the cameras and presenters, unacknowledged jumps between nations, soundtracks offering Northern Hemisphere birds in Australia, and vice versa.
In keeping with such standards, a life and death battle from the Townsville Town Common Conservation Park.

Snake-gobbling Blue-winged Kookaburra atop pandanus stump spots target.

Watch out, lethal Brown Snake - hot on the scent of ... what?

Blue-wing takes another look, gauging the moment to deliver killer grab.

Unaware of danger, snake continues towards its target.

Here it comes. Oops, what's that shadow.

And who let the rat meant for the snake die and left it on the bonnet? Cut! Cut! Cut!
Tell the bloody snake to bugger off.

Kookaburra quits showbiz and returns to the trees.

Another Tytotony Studios Production.  Photogear by Canon.Vehicle by Toyota.
Kookaburra by roadside. Brown Snake ex-tarseal. Rat pickup part.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Flying? Easy as falling off a dead tree

'What's all the fuss about? Dead easy, this flying business. Easy as falling off a log.'

Or a dead tree. Young Osprey took first flights today. No trouble flying. Not even too much trouble landing. Problem was the standing. Steep branches proved a challenge, even given almost total lack of breeze. Fidget. Wobble. Turn. Nearly topple. Flap. Flap. Skid down branch. Big flap. Virtually fall off tree. Refind gracefulness. Circle troublesome tree twice. Head back to nest. Security and stability! Later in the morn, lessons learned. Bird now confidently atop another dead tree. Parents impassive throughout. 'What's the fuss? It's what we do.'

Not such happy news for Bush Stone-curlew and eggs (earlier post). All OK one day, gone the next. Plenty to go wrong for ground-nesters. And this bird was close to info boards, most used parking bay, and regularly whipper-snipped verge.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Young Osprey near flight into world of wonder

Juvenile Osprey taking interest today in aerial world it's near ready to join.

And female (pictured when junior was still inside shell) less anxious about movement close to nest.

At other end of the conservation park, Red-backed Fairy-wrens' two youngsters quit their hole in the ground some time yesterday afternoon.

So female no longer needs to remove excreta. She also appears to have shed part of workload.

Male today was making many more food deliveries to the yound birds - which went from hole-bound yesterday to ground sprinters this morning. But they ran in different directions, forcing parents to hunt about and listen to the high begging calls.

Feeding nearby the other day, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike with tree frog plucked from the pandanus. It didn't last long.

Meantime, here's the food. Guess the feeder. Who'd have thought Australian Ravens went for Dodder vine fruit? Pair spent about five minutes yesterday gobbling ripe (rather sweet) and unripened fruit.

Finally, no, it's not a big golden cheese. Big Moon from last week. Rather sweet too, though untasted.