Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Freshwater Crab pops up after week's rain

Look what a week's rain brought out in the Townsville Common. Inland Freshwater Crab, little more than a stone's throw from the coast. Queensland Museum website says Australia has but two species of freshwater crabs. However, JCU research speaks of 6700 world species with thousands of species yet to be scientifically ID'd. Who knows, could be a rarity or two, even in the Common? Barrier Reef  background above not crab's habitat, merely magazine page slipped in for photograph.

Today, scene from Ross River with something thousands of Freshwater Crabs would enjoy, if it weren't for turtles getting there first: barramundi makes floating meal for attendant feeders.

Nearby today, more threat than treat for wandering crabs, Striated Heron in tree overlooking Gleeson's Weir.


Also along riverbank today, resident Muscovy ducks, large and small. Just the one little 'un, possible because of dogs running free along the walkways. Adding insult to etc, dogs seen scoffing bread intended for the ducks.

And a wee cutie to finish: skink on top of its world.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Takes time to gather in Koel family

Three Koels frequenting Townsville Common entry area refused requests to gather for family portrait and it's taken some time to get them together even singly. Above, male, less often seen than female (below).


Seen least often, juvenile. Probably raised by Torresian Crows, but not seen until being fed by Mum.

Well able to feed itself, juvenile Brown Honeyeater hard at it yesterday morning.

Nearby a few days ago, Rainbow Lorikeet tucks into last of Rose Gum florets.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Changes in the air for Ospreys



Resident Osprey pair and their not-so-immature youngster showing hints of pending changes with minor nest titivating and some shifts in customary feeding and perching positions. Above, male adult rips into fish today, on branch regularly used by female. Top, same bird against a bluer sky a few days ago.

Close by, female, watches warily from uncustomary position close to nest tree after spending a few minutes arranging the scraggly branchlets she had brought in. (Above picture, same bird, same pose as few days ago.)

Immature bird stayed in position on nest tree, seemingly without interest in male's feeding, or female's additions to nest. Might be 'encouraged' to move on soon. (Above picture, same bird, same pose as few days ago.)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Grub's up for young Great Bowerbird


Grub's up for juvenile Great Bowerbird (top), being fed, as usual by Mum (above).

As usual because the Old Man's too busy rejigging bower and its attractions.

And showing off not merely nape (nuchal) crest (not visible above) but adding to it with head colour. So he's far to busy to have anything to do with nests or raising young.

Perhaps in 5-6 years the juvenile, if male, will also be busy at a bower.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dollarbird launches into feeding flurry

Watch out, insects, here I come!

Young Dollarbird sets off after aerial prey. Bird was one of four in feeding flurry with several other species near Townsville Common gate yesterday.

All the Dollarbirds showed the dull plumage of immaturity, with more colour to come before they head off to Papua New Guinea about April.

Fiendishly difficult trying for flight pictures as the birds zigzgged the sky chasing their invisible (to me) food. One fuzzy image from hundreds of shutter clicks.

Also hunting in the air yesterday, Nankeen Kestrel, clutching small catch.

Willie Wagtail takes reverse approach: on ground for catch, toss it up, ready for final swallow.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Samphire step-out with flighty Bustard

Saunter over samphire and other salt-loving stunted stuff today turned briefly into long-range stepping out withAustralian Bustard.


Distance between us narrowed slowly before the bird chose company of two others well away from me.

Which left the plentiful Horsfields Bushlarks free to tease with flights all around me. Fluked just one aerial frame.

But similar walk the other day - and some knee-walking-crawling - turned up one Bushlark more trusting than commonly.

More crawling elsewhere led to closeup of Australian Pipit.

And nearby found Lesser Black Whipsnake sunning on ground turned over by pigs. No crawling, not for fear of snake, rather because it let me walk within touching distance.

Top picture taken from 5metres with 600mm lens, above picture from 20cm with newish iPod. Note the difference in image quality.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Forest Kingfisher trio maddening hunchmen

They're driving me mad, these three Forest Kingfishers. After flying out of sight with a parent several months ago they're back. I think they've been to black bird-magic  school. Now you see them, now you don't. Some days one, next day two, then three, then with their equally evil parent.

But I'm onto them and their plan to drive me nuts. Ha! Popping up in front of me and vanishing. Laughing at me behind my back. And, today, in my face. Cunning, they are. Sitting there, all nice as pie right in front of me. Always in the shadows. That's because they know I don't carry a flash.

Like today, up pop the evil hunchmen at Payets, 'kik-kik-kikling' like avian screechers from Endor. Two are on sunlit branches, but too far off. One really close, in shadow. The close one gives the signal, the other two fly by and land nearer. Then one flies right. And while I'm tracking it the other flies  in, and perches unseen two metres above the first, which distracts me by giving a silent laugh and yawn. One's right in front, ignoring me, one's just above in silent stitches at my unawareness. the third's clearly gone off to tell ma or pa about the fun they're having with me. Well tomorrow I'll be flashgunning for them and we'll see who's laughing then.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Tawny time: Don't care. Manic stare. Stern glare.

Lookalike Tawny Frogmouths face intrusion this morning in the Townsville Town Common with unalike reactions: Don't care. Manic stare. Stern glare.
Soon after, all three lost interest and returned to staring fixedly straight ahead. It's what you do to while away the day till nightfall signals time to go chase up some food. And with luck the trio  will be on the same branch tomorrow morning. We'll see.


Life in the sticks stacks up for birds

Sticks. Some birds need stacks of them. Whistling Kite returns towards nest after seeing off cheeky young Brahminy Kite that ventured too ...