Sunday, December 8, 2019

Yellow Wagtail rewards hours seated on Common mud

Finally! Eastern Yellow Wagtail sees things my way and comes close enough for decent image.

But all water is fast vanishing from main pool in front of Payets Tower, Town Common Conservation Park, Townsville. And the wagtail vanished a day or two later.


Couldn't con uncommon Little Curlews into coming near, particularly when a solitary bird drew another three to the site. All four went about same time as wagtail.


Sitting on wet grass early in the morning or the drying mud later in the day brought other rewards however, including wary Australian Pratincole venturing within handy range.

Pied Stilt more interested in food than photographer.

As also Horsfields Bronze-Cuckoo. Three active in the paperbarks near the hide over the past 10 days. Not so often on the ground.

Can usually count on a few Brown-backed Honeyeaters to be drinking at a small deeper pool nearer the hide.



The Black-fronted Dotterels have been the consistent stayers. First to appear as the mud began to appear. Almost certainly they'll be the last to leave.




Saturday, November 30, 2019

Unsound crows found to wear ravens' gear




 
Those birders in the know
Who hear corvids and crow
Of ability to ID by call
Should take all due care
Or they may fail to hear
What's abundantly clear
Their unsound crows
Wear ravens' gear

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Yellow Wagtails' cool distance creates the blues

Six days of chatting to Siberian visitors and still getting distant treatment and cold shoulder from Yellow Wagtails at Melaleuca viewing area in the Town Common Conservation Park, Townsville.



Perhaps they're from northern Japan and upset by my ignorance of their origin. Or worse, took offence at comments about their - in first two seen - total lack of yellow. Anyway, four birds stayed for more than two weeks last year. Here's hoping for closer sightings in next week or so.

As with Latham's Snipe foraging along edge of Melaleuca pool. Not often seen quite so close.

Bit much to expect sharp shot of Wagtail in flight. Pied Stilt much easier to track through the air.

As also Comb-crested Jacana, till quite recently main resident of the deepest Melaleuca water.

And I'm afraid there's little likelihood of Yellow Wagtail ever posing so perfectly as the Jacana. Pity!




Thursday, November 21, 2019

Fruit-Dove leads way in Common catch-up

Time for bit of catch-up from the Town Common Cons. Pk, Townsville. First with young Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, spotted yesterday in a fig tree right at the park entrance. Still a few weeks from maturity as evidenced by emerging rose crown and unfinished splotches elsewhere.

On opposite side of road, Yellow Honeyeater turns out in dinkum Aussie gold and green.

Plenty happening early morning in the pools in front and beside Payets Tower. White Ibis unusually stayed after several others flew off at my approach.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle thought about going, delayed, then flew seconds later.

White-throated Honeyeater one of several birds taken cautious route to drink from remaining small puddles beneath fallen tree in front of hide.

Nearby, Brown-backed Honeyeater at work putting finishing touches to nest: probably the pair's second nest - or possibly the third - for the year.

Popping up out of the para grass, Golden-headed Cisticola.

Too big to simply pop up, pair of Brolgas allow uncustomary close shots as they stroll across the fast-falling shallows of the main Payets pool.

Along the road, at Melaleuca viewing area, young Australian Raven reveals colours other than the sombre blacks seen under most conditions.

Above, Brahminy Kite also benefits from full morning light on its under surfaces.

Ending on sad note, but that's life! Wandering Whistling Duck started life on pool at Melaleuca with four siblings, and parents. Parents went off. Four siblings vanished. Parents returned 2-3 days later. Trio together for 2-3 days. Parents vanished. Duckling vanished. All three back day later. Parents gone again. Duckling alone. Gone day later. Can't help observing, anthropomorphically, how sad little bird looks in last picture.


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Jabiru adjusts for takeoff with lightening jet propulsion

Getting ready for takeoff, male Black-necked Stork lightens the load at Melaleuca viewing area, Town Common, Townsville this morning.

Job done, the bird decided it wasn't that concerned about my approach across the wetland weeds and would stick around

Not standing around by himself. Close by were juniors one and two. It seems from sightings at the area in recent weeks that the female seldom accompanies the youngsters. The four turned up a few weeks ago just as a family of five - whose nest is known to be somewhere slightly northeast of Melaleuca - began to drift apart, though all the birds have on occasion been seen more or less together elsewhere in the conservation park.

Missed the young birds' departure but here's the male on his way, spooked by some mild alarm from ducks and assorted waders further away.


Not a cause - this time - of the alarm, untidy Swamp Harrier overhead at Melaleuca the other day.
Just missed getting bird into the frame originally. Quick bit of added frame and some clumsy cloning and the picture's a little more complete. Do try this at home. With more care than I care to use it's a great tool.


But some potentially great shots just cannot be easily tarted up. This Little Pied Cormorant has become regular chat partner at the Freshwater hide in the early mornings after claiming ownership to standing rights on the log that's emerged at the water level drops. After fishing (diving underwater and chasing prey) the bird washes by part-rolling busily in the water. No easy way to remove unwanted stalks, I'm afraid.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

High ISO slows high-speed Sunbirds down

Olive-backed Sunbirds light up the understorey with their nest-building comings and goings near the Freshwater hide in the Town Common Conservation Park, Townsville.

Of possible interest photographically pictures taken at very high ISO (25600) and shutter speed (1/8000thsec). Remarkably little 'noise' on sensor for such high settings thanks to Canon 1DX performance. No postprocessing noise reduction used. Need even faster shutter to stop rapid wingbeats.


Tawny Grassbird in Tyto Wetlands (brief return to my old stamping ground - no Grass Owls seen) on Monday easier to freeze in action while hopping along a branch.

Back in the Common today,  Swamp Harrier stirred plenty of fast wingbeats at Melaleuca viewing area as birds feeding below -  already spooked by two White-bellied Sea-Eagles - took off with the wetland predator's arrival.

No feed for the harrier, and nothing for male Dingo crossing the water in front of Jacana hide early this morning. In fact, egrets and ibises nearby barely turned their heads to look. Lacks that lean and hungry look, so perhaps not fullblooded specimen.

Finish on a Peaceful (Dove) note. One of four birds in front of Freshwater hide this morning taking turns to take fast drink and (usually) take off rapidly away from the dangerous area and activity. But this bird chose to puff up a little and show off its subtle colouring.



Saturday, October 26, 2019

Look sharp to catch Sharpies in action




Sharp-tailed Sandpipers seem under orders to look sharpish and fly sharpishly at all times. Makes life hard for those trying for action pictures with reflexes no longer so sharp. Took three hours sitting at edge of grass island at Pandanus viewing area, Town Common, Townsville, one day this week to finally catch the high wing stretch the birds almost always use on landing.

And didn't get the entire bird in frame for the only takeoff image captured all week. Needed a bit more luck, on top of faster reaction times.



Got the luck today with so-so flight shots of White-browed Crake, the first two of which came as big surprise as at no time did I see the bird in the viewfinder. If in doubt hit the shutter and hope. Once in every year or so the instinct pays off. It's the great plus of digital, almost no cost to taking 500 or so images for 5-10 keepers.

But failed to get anything usable from much aerial tracking of wee Fairy Martins so resorted to the next big bird that came along overhead, Straw-necked Ibis. No beauty, but looking a wee bit sharp.


Yellow Wagtail rewards hours seated on Common mud

Finally! Eastern Yellow Wagtail sees things my way and comes close enough for decent image. But all water is fast vanishing from main ...