Monday, July 30, 2018

Snakes alive - and disturbing the Peaceful

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. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Lovely day for rare find of four Lovely Fairies

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 Carpet Python.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Incoming! Osprey clutching lively Oz prey

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.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Baza's call carries killer rhyme

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.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Kingfisher catch one in a 1000

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 point to the pointedness: birds may be everywhere around us, if we really look and really listen. Enjoy!

 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Monday, July 2, 2018

Getting up to scratch with Australian Raven

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.

Great Egret's great catch, snatch, despatch

Freshwater hide, Townsville Common, Friday Nov9: 1990 words left unsaid