Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Preening exclusive for this blog

When Birdlife Australia set up preening comp I was so thrilled. Imagine my devastation when told it was for birds, not members. Trooper that I am, decided to soldier on anyway. Golden-headed Cisticola on guinea grass stalk yesterday flew in to pose, exclusively for this blog.

You know how some birds are. Teasing. Playing shy. But at heart always looking for that hot deal with a bigger channel. Perhaps I'm being used?

Doubts. Misgivings. No matter, beauty's a cruel mistress.




Friday, May 26, 2017

Brown Goshawk courtesy of spangles and angles

Young Brown Goshawk teasing me for couple of weeks launched into view this morning under challenge from territorial Spangled Drongos (chasers lost all interest immediately goshawk flew into tree over road: seems it was then about 10 metres outside their zone).

Near vertical view: an awkward strain handholding lens at this angle.

Managed to back away and support lens against side of tree for better shot.

Also in same area of the Townsville Common at the time, young Australian Hobby. Bit of a morning for raptors. Five other species seen within 500m but not photographed: White-bellied Sea Eagle, Pacific Baza, Brahminy Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Flying start after being grounded by flu


Back on the road after the past 10 days 'flu' by. Just in time this morn to see perched Blue-winged Kookaburra fly down to road through the Town Common. Seems would-be prey got away.


White-bellied Sea Eagle would have larger prey in mind from vantage point overlooking flooded grassland. Bird's view not quite so clear as shown: bit of cloning removed messy foliage.

Forest Kingfisher also looks neater after major pruning by cloning away bits of dead tree. Pity one can't clone flu from the scene. And, yes, had my jab.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Butterfly makes fast flight from Asia via NT

Say hello to one of Australia's latest migrants. Ten years ago the Tawny Coster didn't get a mention in the weighty Butterflies of Australia. In 2010 it had moved south to Singapore. Five years ago it was noticed floating about in the Northern Territory.

Now the species Acraea terpsicore (aka A.violae) can be seen dancing among grasses and weeds in the Townsville Common. Haven't seen any signs of tension among other butterflies. There's a lesson somewhere in there.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Budget time brings out the bigmouths

Budget time brings out the bigmouths - and they don't come much bigger than that of Tawny Frogmouth.

Lucky me this week, $75 from my loving Guvmint (Messrs Slomo and Spincrap) and daytime sighting of frogmouth in the open.

So $50 outlaid on The Australian Bird Guide (CSIRO Publishing) flies back speedily, with interest.
And if you're interested, the new guide is pretty good value. Not perfect (what, or who, is?) but weightier in words, art and intent than older rivals. Too weighted toward rarities and distant islands for my liking. Little on nests and noises (where Morecombe shines). Is there to be an app? I don't know. If buying, check print consistency. Variable print pages among early sellers.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Variety in spice of life and dice of death

Variety is the spice of life and here's a peppering of assaults on prey losing their dice with death and timely proving the point. First on the menu, large locust  in the clutches of Pacific Baza today.

Rufous Whistler about to cook caterpillar's goose.

Praying Mantis hooks on to some slow food.


Golden Orb Weaver getting ready for dragonfly roll.
Bonus spider footnote: scientists this week said they had identified 28 silk protein mixes produced by Orb Weavers. Be nice to know how many might be found on above web. And what many others are used for. Get to work, scientists.  


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Kingfisher kindly gives up sitting on the fence

Came upon Red-backed Kingfisher on the barbed wire topping Townsville Airport's perimeter security fence yesterday. Chatted to bird about need to get into natural surroundings. Three shifts later and we were close, bird on lowish limb, me able to move around freely within eight metres.

Sadly, no stepladder to hand, so bird retained upper hand in negotiations about me getting to eye level. Not unusual behaviour from the species (more at home on the other side of the Great Dividing Range) but resident Forests and Sacreds have no time for what they see as naive trustingness.


Young pale morph Brown Falcon recently moved into the Common close to the fenceline, possibly along with adult pair drawn to newly slashed and mown airfield grasslands. Snatched quick images of bird taking off from tree.

Nearby, distant young Australian Hobby shows the posture of a bird that won't allow closer approach. Turning away and pretending an interest in anything other than the target may sometimes allay the suspicions. Not too often, and not in this case.