Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Darter catches the early sunlight and the eye

Struck gold early today with female Australian Darter displaying in the early morning sunlight at Aplins Weir on the Ross River, Townsville.

Male Cotton  Pygmy-goose finished second in the beauty stakes.

And male Little Bronze-cuckoo fittingly came an attractive third, after some cosmetic help.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Messing about along the river's banks

Ratty, Mole and Co loved messing about in boats. Without boat, next best is messing about on riverbanks. One river running through Townsville City, so been messing about along Ross River. Above, female Magpie Goose preening in paperbark growing alongside a footbridge.

Waiting hungrily below, Short-necked River Turtle (a natural Greeny), one of scores on view (and thousands along the Ross). Stand for a while looking down on the river and the turtles hurtle (speed is relative) closer in hope of easy feed.

Downriver the other day, Pacific Black Duck adult looks caring but all is not as it seems. Duckling should have been elsewhere with seven siblings and parents but had become separated, maybe ducknapped. It paddled off upstream alone soon after in search of family.

Also alone one day in the same area, where Aplins Weir holds the freshwater Ross back from the tidal Ross, Australian Pelican looks ever bit as content to be on the river as ever were Ratty, Mole and Co. Musn't be too boyhoodish though: paperbarks good, willows bad generally for Australian rivers.




Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ballad of the bold Brolga seeing off the Birder

Brolga family out for wander
Spy a birder over yonder

No worries, says the mister,
I'll  soon see off this blister.

Up he comes with low hisses
But fearsomeness he misses.

Worry not, says birder man,
Now with pictures in the can

You can forget hokey heroic
And stalk back to mum and chick.

Townsville Common early today





 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Female Blue-winged Kookaburra masters bill and coup

Old female friend crashed in on recent morning scout for early birds at entry to Townsville Common. Sudden rush of wings, rustling in bushes and Blue-winged Kookaburra emerged with breakfast firmly lodged in long-broken bill.

She's not merely a survivor but appears to be queen of a territory centred on the entry gate. But even so familiar a sight has - along with other kookaburras - been less often on show lately, perhaps because Forest Kingfishers are about in considerable numbers and outcompeting their larger cousins.

Hard by the entry gate, and  escaping the attention of predators (bar those with neat little new waterproof, shockproof microscopic-function cameras), Large Brown Mantid hangs around for a minute before returning to dangling upside down under fig leaves awaiting passing prey.

Upside down because sitting about on branches is not such a good idea. It's one thing to have a neat little new etc. etc. poked right in your face, it's altogether another as a vulnerable Green Treefrog to catch the eye of a passing raptor.

Today, saw the plunge, saw the frog grabbed, saw the munching in shadowy tree, but caught only distant images of immature Brahminy Kite sitting around before launching after another foray aloft.

Also saw immature Australian Hobby not so far away thinking about another fast circuit over and through the trees seeing what it could swoop upon.

Not so far away, Nankeen Kestrel coming in all flaps up after a sweep above the rampant para grass in the same area.

Good thing it's only someone with a neat new little etc. etc that uncovered Huntsman Spider's loose-bark hiding place today and not something hungrier for more than closeups.



 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Red-winged Parrot helps find Black-throated Finches

Red-winged Parrot not primary target of quick drive 40km west of Townsville but this male feeding on roadside weed seeds took the eye. Which was just as well since the stop near a cattle station gate led to finding a mixed lot of finches and mannikins feeding on fallen seeds.

Among Plum-headed and Zebra finches, four Black-throated Finches, two of which flew to within a metre of me at the gate before heading off across the road. But one of the two others paused in a nearby tree before darting away again.

Taking the eye elsewhere, female Figbird with the species favourite food.

And Red-tailed Black Cockatoo female getting to the tasty section of a coastal almond.

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...