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Showing posts from 2018

Goshdarnit-aint-that-somethin purty

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Cutesy doesn't always cut it. But sometimes ... Zebra Finch male will never know just what a goshdarnit-aint-that-somethin' pose he struck out Woodstock way.
And she's pretty purty, too.


So too, though less chocboxy, male Mistletoebird, caught in seldom-seen foray close to the ground avidly gobbling small lime-green dodder berries in Cape Pallarenda Park.
Red-backed Fairywren adds his black magic to the beauty parade

Great Egret pays little mind to missing bill

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Eastern Great Egret reveals missing chunk of upper bill as it lands on dead tree at edge of pool.

Hasn't weakened the bird, which vigorously chased off fellow Great trying to muscle in on the para grass providing meagre numbers of grasshoppers and frogs.


Background colour behind the boss bird in Town Common an unplanned bonus.

Snakes alive - and disturbing the Peaceful

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For all snakes lovers out there (both of you), Water Python at breakfast on Peaceful Dove.

Bird ambushed after dropping in for drink at puddle beside track.

About 50 minutes from strike (just missed it) to satisfied smile (pardon anthropomorphism) at Melaleuca viewing area in the Townsville Town Common.

Elsewhere, Black Whipsnakes playing romantic ring-a-rosy ...

...and another so intent on sunning it allowed approach to within two metres without more than  casual flickering of tongue.


Bonus for those who got this far, pet Macaw flying 200 metres from Cairns owner giving bird some exercise while visiting the Common a week or so ago.

Lovely day for rare find of four Lovely Fairies

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Lovely morning for a lovely walk and lovely find of four Lovely Fairy-wrens rarely ever seen in Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park, Townsville.

Also perfect timing just ahead of a planned Queensland Parks and Wildlife burnoff of upper slopes about 300 metres north of the birds' location. Slow burn from top down unlikely to threaten any part of birds' habitat, but who knows?

Two of the four clearly adult male and female. But sketchy info on immature birds little help deciding whether third bird -  clearly male - is immature, or adult going to eclipse plumage. My guess: immature, because eclipse seems unlikely in what must be family group. Fourth bird not clearly seen, but  may be immature female.

Also colourfully enhancing the park, Cooktown Orchid, probably long ago fixed on tree amidst about 12 buildings dating back to the park's quarantine station past.


Other birds today: Orange-footed Scrubfowl and Laughing Kookaburra.


And a recent find beside a track: placid 2-metre Ca…

Incoming! Osprey clutching lively Oz prey

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One of three resident Ospreys near entrance to Town Common wings in with mightily reluctant Gar. Fish fought on vigorously for several minutes.

Two other recent catches of Gar may indicate change of preferred catch, seasonal fish availability, or immature bird's switch from thicker-bodied fish species caught by parents.
Since all three birds have similar breastbands I've found it impossible to tell male from female from immature. Bad luck for the Gar if it was victim to just one of three predators.

Baza's call carries killer rhyme

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The Baza is an honest bird
Whose 'Ee-chew' rings true to word
For frogs and insects in the trees
'Ee-chew' equals  'Eat-you', if you please




Pleased to Eat-you. Oops, I mean, meet you.

Kingfisher catch one in a 1000

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One picture's worth  a 1000 words? Well, here's one worth 1,000,000. It's taken roughly 1000 failures to nail a Forest Kingfisher creating splash on Ross River at Aplins Weir, Townsville, and emerging in sharpish focus with catch, albeit ill-defined.

Here's one of six birds sporadically trying their luck yesterday from high perches in paperbarks edging the riverbank close to the weir wall. Forest Kingfishers don't in my experience dive deeply, preferring to splosh on fish. Most dives are aborted without strike and anyway aim for insects above the surface rather than fish under it.




They don't  often let their guard slip enough for close approaches. So preening sequence of bird in front of Payets Tower in the Townsville Town Common Conservation Park last week came after slow stalk towards busy bird.

Also from Town Common, early morning bird greeting those with eyes to see just before entrance to the park. Eyes to see? Sounds ever so slightly critical? There is a…

'Disembarking' Sea Eagle lands big catch

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White-bellied Sea Eagle sends chunk of bark flying as it lands big Tilapia along Ross River in Townsville.

Getting up to scratch with Australian Raven

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Getting up to scratch with interesting and little remarked feeding behaviour by Australian Raven picked up again lately with reappearance of shredded spider leaf nests on the Townsville Town Common Conservation Park road. Bird sat down yesterday for vigorous grooming after landing (below) on the road with small nest and fast finishing off the small inhabitants as they scurried in vain to hide under the road metal.

There may be seasonal elements to the spiders' breeding (beyond scope of this post) and the Australian Raven's liking for the prey, since remnant nests hadn't been seen on the road (where birds can see and run down or uncover fleeing spiders) for some months. Ravens began building or patching up nests about this time last year. As unlikely as it would seem, perhaps breeding and spider-hunting are related? Side note: quick scan of guides finds no mention of tufty crest showing on yesterday's bird.

Herein heron woes back up from here on in

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What's wrong with this picture? Well, not close enough (9 metres, not 6); too high above bird (not eye level); lacks killer moment (no prey capture). Too harsh? Too bad, another almost.

Another image of the Striated Heron moments earlier at the Ross River Bush Gardens.

Then there's the Town Common morning when the  prey's taken - by White-necked Heron. What's wrong? Bird, tolerant enough of camera, not close enough. Prey tantalisingly unclear.

This morning, again in the Town Common, Australian Raven gets stuck into leaf-sac spider's nest. The behaviour seems seasonal and somehow related to breeding. What's wrong? Poor light, wary bird too distant, no eye level (comes the time when backs refuse to lie down and take it any more, and lying on mud amid grass and reeds isn't what it used to be).


Young cormorants and darter in touching relationship

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Too chilly in Townsville this morning for birding in shivery shade. Riverbank by Palmetum Botanical Gardens promised desired east-facing warmth. And where were the birds? Sitting - several in clustered nests - along the sunlit Ross. Juvenile Australian Darter stands (below) in a nest touching two others holding pairs of Little Pied Cormorants (above) and close to another with three young cormorants.

Youth also on the water, with immature Comb-crested Jacana treading daintily across waterlily leaves.

Nearby, immature male Rufous Whistler shows breast and head markings about to become bolder mature colouring.


Not so young or close to the camera but always boldly coloured, Azure Kingfisher, one of a pair teasing with fast showings - and goings.

Finally, chance encounter between a Pacific Black Duck and seeming quizzical Freshwater Turtle wanting to know where the bird's right eye is. 'Gone'.