Sunday, February 17, 2019

Young Peregrine drops in with peer and grin

What does a peer and grin (of sorts) add up to? Peregrine Falcon, naturally. This juvenile made an  infrequent species appearance in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park today.

Peregrines breed less than three kilometres away on Castle Hill, a sandstone outlier looming over the inner city, harbour, inner suburbia and the airport. It also looms over many of the city's Rock Pigeons. And Peregrines love fat feral pigeons.

So why waste much time in the Common, harassed by solitary cheeky White-breasted Woodswallow, and looking down on Peaceful Doves or Rainbow Bee-eaters when flocks of chubby pigeons are closer to home? Lesson juvenile yet to learn. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Groping to explain Whistling Kite's missing Groper

Groping for words to go with pictures of Whistling Kite homing in on fish thrown up on sand at Pallarenda in gusting break during the 10 days and 1.5 metres of rain in Townsville.

Caught bird coming in to land beside what appears to be small Groper. But didn't notice the fish when taking pictures. Nor when Kite fed on portions of entrails (oh, all right, guts). Nor when it flew and Silver Gull dropped in to grab a bite. So didn't think too much of it when unable to pinpoint where the birds had landed. I'd missed little photographic catch-of-the-day.

Did better with mating dragonflies flying over pool in the Pallarenda parking area. So what? Well, it's a minor macro miracle, using 600mm from 5m to roughly manually focus on flying insects and thus enable very quick autofocus.

Another capture of note recently. Nothing to be proud of about the image but Little Egret's taking of Eastern Striped Skink isn't something seen too often. Water rising quickly into its habitat probably led to skink's demise.


Monday, February 4, 2019

Ill wind blow for Frigatebirds, bonus for birders

Short break in Townsville's persistent monsoon low downpours (or, lowdown pours) allowed quick outing just up the road this morning to look for Lesser Frigatebirds, making unaccustomed showings along coastlines as they escape harsh weather out on the Grreat Barrier Reef.

Found 15 floating effortlessly over Pallarenda township and foredune. Only 3-4 males amid the birds, but probably not much to read into the imbalance. Though the males all somehow avoided being photographed.

Also a bit uncommon near the road into Pallarenda, Plumed Whistling Duck.

And, close by, solitary Royal Spoonbill.

More rain expected tonight, adding to about 1.2 metres over the past eight days. Feel some guilt out and birding as thousands - mostly on city's south side of Ross River - are evacuated or in danger of being flooded out. But that's the random luck of major weather events. And I drew short straws in Ingham with cyclones and/or floods in '07, '09 and '11.

Here's to sunnier days.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Junior Bush Stone-curlew survives days of rain

Took my eye off these two Bush Stone-curlew eggs for a wee bit and 'hey presto' they were gone from trim gardens close to my overnight parking spot.

Along with stroppy protective male (presumed).

And less threatening female (presumed).

Five days later (four of them filled with rain) and much noise today close to my studio unit in Rowes Bay, Townsville. So, junior's about six days old.

The commotion possibly marked demise of second youngster. No signs, however, of marauding cat or goanna. Interrogated junior's companions but no answers from them.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Wedge-tailed Eagle allows camera up close

Wedge-tailed Eagles are big. They look big from 100 metres. Much bigger from 13m, the distance one allowed me to walk within at the southwestern end of the Ross River dam wall the other day.

Even after 'clear for takeoff' the bird relaxed again and held position atop concrete-filled steel post.

Pity the confidingness didn't include looking at me or the camera lens. Another close encounter on another day perhaps.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Making 'Hey' while the Sunbird shines

Eye-catching flashes of colour today in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park came from Olive-backed Sunbird darting to and fro across early stretch of the road in as she put finishing touches to standard dangling nest. 400 frames, most discarded. No need for more words:

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Noisy Miner gets 2019 off with a bang

Flying start to 2019 with first listing and pictures of Noisy Miner species in Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park.

Juvenile bird obligingly posed atop rusty steel pole.

Next day it did the proper thing and showed off in more natural surroundings.

Plenty of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos in the park, but can't get local statuary as background. Fluked this shot near Ross River Bush Gardens yesterday.

Mass takeoff also unintended shot. Birds feeding on ground were spooked by oncoming dog-walker. Arty blurring result of slow shutter speed set for low light beneath trees.

And must introduce the new boss of Payet Tower in the Townsville Common Conservation Park. Super-sized White-lipped Green Treefrog has taken over from possum sacked for always sleeping at her post.

Young Peregrine drops in with peer and grin

What does a peer and grin (of sorts) add up to? Peregrine Falcon, naturally. This juvenile made an  infrequent species appearance in Towns...