Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Takes a Sheila to show Aussie birders Satin rarity

Oooh, look! What's that shiny black and white bird? It's so smooth and black on back and head. Could it be a rarely seen Satin Flycatcher in the Common today. Yes, it could. And it took a visitor from Wiltshire way, Sheila Ashley, to see it first. Proving that one good turn deserves another, she and husband Paul were being shown around by Len and Chris Ezzy. I tagged along. Lucky all of us.

Not so much luck involved in seeing a few other species commonly seen lately. Rose-crowned Fruitdove seems content to stay forever close to favourite feed trees near Freshwater hide.

Which is close to where immature Australian Raven was today tucking into fish, without parents or sibling trying to cadge a bite.

Not so many Sharp-tailed Sandpipers at Pandanus viewing area today, but caught some showing off in recent times.

Male Barking Owl certainly not one to show off, but every now and then he glowers for the camera.

More glow than glower from Nankeen Night Heron, missing today from Melaleuca hideout but almost whitewashed me nearby just the other day.

Much noisier and more easily spotted, adult Dollarbird one of four calling and shifting position often this morning near Payet Tower.

But no sign today of immature Spectacled Monarch, above with, I think, Crane Fly.

Crimson Finches seldom fail to turn up, nor did they today.

And one of highlights for Sheila and Paul, apart from the Satin of course, male Great Bowerbird busy, busy, busy about his bower. Happy too, crest-risen, as opposed to crestfallen.

What a pity we're too far northeast for Satin Bowerbird and Satin Flycatcher in one day. That'd just be greedy though, eh?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Hibiscus Harlequin females flashest

Here's a bug. A Hibiscus Harlequin Bug. On a Coastal Hibiscus at Freshwater in the Townsville Common. And unlike birds, bug females get the flashest colours.

But he doesn't look too bad either. Much more on bugs here:

Back to birds. Sharp-tailed Sandpipers prominent at Pandanus viewing area.

And Black-necked Stork showing out from hundreds of Pelicans, Herons and
Egrets and Stilts at Melaleuca viewing area.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

White-faced Heron strikes again

Week ago missed White-faced Heron's strike, grab and swallow but today did slightly better as similar fish rose and descended to its doom.
Took four return trips to pool in Townsville Town Common before bird obliged with repeat performance. Who knows, our chats together may have helped?

Elsewhere in the Common, former Black-winged now Pied Stilt stood out one morning at Pandanus viewing area.

And Red-kneed Dotterel seemed worth more than one look.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Back off and leave the Brown Snakes be

Meet Mr or Mrs Brown, warming up in the Townsville Town Common. You'd rather not? Wise. But the Browns, and Blacks and Lesser Blacks among others, are out and about. What to do? Leave them alone. Back off quietly. Warn others. In the wild, let the snake slip away. At home, don't play the hero. Call for help. And for repetition's sake, leave them alone! 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ospreys rise above Parks and Wildlife burnout

Look who's back on top of life after having nest and host tree burned down by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service: Osprey pair rebuilding lives and nest in nearby tree in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park. She's toey, but staying close to new nest. He was eating fish on tree across road this morning. Last year's sole youngster may have departed. 

Meanwhile, new life down the road. Bush Stone-curlews with two eggs plonked in plain view close to entry gate. In turn, I've plonked bit of cover around them. Didn't expect thanks and, naturally, got none. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Dusky Moorhen stands out after owl's no-show

Dusky Moorhen pauses while attending to morning toilette in Townsville Palmetum. Not my target bird, but couldn't find Rufous Owl reportedly returned to former roosting spot near front gate.

Another consolation prize after mystery shorebird vanished, Black Kite gets glowing makeover from rising sun on sands beside the Ross River.

Struck gold with Golden-headed Cisticola against golden background (distant dry grasses) in the Town Common.

Crested Pigeon sits in tiny patch of green grass (from leaking pipe) amidst otherwise bone-dry blocks along beside the Ross River Dam.

Apology: Bit of a limp blog. Dropped soap on foot last week. Haematoma: big bleed under skin. RICE: rest, ice, compression, exercise. Exercise too soon. Extend rest, compression. Blog on. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Parks and Wildlife Service burn destroys Osprey nest

Remember this?

And this?

Or this?

Now the scene is this.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife burned east of road in Town Common Conservation Park yesterday. Nest - with, possibly, hatchling/s - gone. Tree mostly gone. Only one of the three resident Ospreys close by today. Probably last year's youngster, late and yet to go off on its own, nervily calling and being harassed by Black Kites looking for after-burn pickings.

Further up the road, juvenile White-bellied Sea-eagle fared better. Base of nest tree charred and ground around it covered in ash but youngster alert and confident today. Parents not sighted: almost certainly out hunting, maybe to add to the 16 turtle shells at base of tree.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Jacana puts best foot forward on the river

Few birds better at putting a best foot forward than Comb-crested Jacana. And few look better than this one in morning sunshine at Ross River Bush Garden, Townsville.

Just up the river, Australasian Darter soaks up the sun.

Close by, Little Bronze-cuckoo pauses in its hunt for hairy caterpillars.

And an Australian Reed-warbler makes a rare appearance outside its bulrush habitat.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Osprey flutters to deceive

Looks so powerful, balanced and in control, Osprey, wings outspread, about to land on prime perch, yes?

But no, young (about 18 months) bird - formally Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus) - is clumsily flapping a metre off perch down to fork in dead tree.

Then comes scrambling progress up other branch of fork.

Followed by triumphant return to starting point. Why? Who knows. Such questions may really be only for the birds.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Grey Whistler so-and-so allows so-so not just-so

New bird today - old problem. The previously unlisted (on eBird) Grey Whistler won't sit still for a picture worthy of its noteworthy arrival.

So two so-so images must do until, hopefully, another sighting that catches the bird 'just so'.

Also added to my list of first sightings - and image regrets - for the Townsville Common, Owlet Nightjar, sitting high in its eucalyptus hollow near Pallarenda this week.

And, last of poor pictures accompanying rich sightings, Black-throated Finches near Old Flinders Highway at Oak Valley yesterday. Interestingly, the species often described as 'endangered' or 'vulnerable' carries no such labels on one recent list of Australia's threatened birds. 

Takes a Sheila to show Aussie birders Satin rarity

Oooh, look! What's that shiny black and white bird? It's so smooth and black on back and head. Could it be a rarely seen Satin Fly...