Big booboo last post - since mostly corrected, but clue left as challenge. Error came from initial assumption of bird's identity. Mistake then blocked any chance of self-correction. Here's a look at recent examples of ID problems, all from within limited confines of Townsville Common Conservation Park, starting with one of most frequent, Collared Sparrowhawk (juvenile above and below: but barred adults also look alike ) versus Brown Goshawk.
Sparrowhawks stare, Goshawks glower. Easy! Except Sparrowhawks often glower a bit. And their tails (square tipped with notch, against rounded unnotched) fold inconclusively in the field. And their very long middle toes and thin legs look less impressively different in the field than in the field guides. Ditto colour, head, bill, and, specially in the north, size differences. So, no surprise if Collared Sparrowhawk ID should be challenged.
Less contentious, though commonly mislisted as Grey Shrike-thrush, Little Shrike-thrush. (above and below), previously called Rufous Shrike-thrush. Above image closely matches what birders expect to see.
Same bird taken a day earlier in less sunlight shows why Little becomes identified as Grey, which is larger, lighter grey, sounds different, and in North Queensland prefers higher and drier inland woodland.
No question about Australasian Pipit. Until it's identified as Anthus australis australis. Because across the Top (of Australia) there's another subspecies, Anthus australis rogersi, which stands very upright, is more heavily streaked down the breast, is said to have a shorter tail and longer legs than the three other Pipit ssp.
It seems rogersi may have snuck southeast hundreds of kilometres down the NQ coast without drawing field guide attention to itself. Problems: every Pipit locally stands very upright, but often without extra heavy streaking. Tail and leg lengths difficult to measure without bird in hand.
Here's to further challenges (and fewer booboos) in 2018.
Months of seeing back half of snake slipping away into long Town Common grass without being absolutely sure of species ended with Greater Black Whipsnake yesterday finally presenting front half to camera. The para grass surrounding the pool at Payets tower is probably home to more than six snake species. Mostly they're seen when swimming across open water.
One of their prey targets, Two-lined Dragon well out of snake danger on bonnet of Troopy. Nope, not my doing. It appeared from 'nowhere' the other morn. Clear bonnet one second, Dragon hood ornament the next. Odd, because dragon claws don't grip like skinks'. As seen when it nipped through open driver's door to inside Troopy but was easily scooped up as it kept trying to scale rubber matting over transmission tunnel, getting halfway up only to slide back down again.
Wouldn't be easy scooping metre's worth of Yellow-spotted Monitor from inside Troopy. But though the invitation's been made a few ti…