Monday, November 24, 2008

Heading for a falls

How about some sightseeing, with striking birds thrown in - and a blue frog?

Starting at the beginning, a 20-minute, 2-hectare transect across the reed flats and through the Scleria, looking for Little Bitterns. Furtive movement high in Razor Grass. Away flies male bittern, showing typical glorious chocolate and custard yellow colouring seen from behind. Top start!

On to the pool of death. Almost all evidence of total fish kill sunk without trace. But here's a blue frog drawing the flies. Blue? Yes. It's a dead Green Treefrog (Litoria caerulea).

Scientific name is said to spring from specimens pickled in alcohol when preserving fluid ran out during Joseph Banks' collecting. Blue and yellow equals green. But the frog yellow is alcohol soluble. So the taxonomists in England poured blue frogs from the bottle.

Still early morning and bright, clear sky. Time for a change. Out west 45 kilometres to Seaview Range, rainforest, and Wallaman Falls, Australia's longest one-step drop. I'm not one for waterfalls but at least they don't hide in trees, or fly off while camera dithers.

The birds, though uncooperative, are worth a few words. First up was a Wompoo Fruit-Dove, 'wollack-a-woo-ing'. Sorry about the picture. Bird refused to leave the shadows.

Even harder to see and impossible to snap, a pair of hyperactive Spotted Catbirds. Their mewing and yowling forces smiles from the glummest birdo. Fifteen minutes with the green clowns and I'm laughing for the rest of the day. In the same patch of rainforest, a Noisy Pitta, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, and Black-faced Monarch.

Highlight still to come: on a forested track by Stony Creek (which feeds the falls). Series of one-note calls. Glimpses of biggish dark bird. Finally, some distant light - on orangey-brown breast, red bill and blue head of a migrant Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher. Azures pale in comparison. But couldn't see anything of white tail streamers. And no picture.

But while chasing after a pair of Dollarbirds I did catch up with a Grey Whistler.

A final bonus. I caught sight of a leech on my leg before it put the bite on me!


Denis Wilson said...

Great to beat the Leech to the Bite!
Sounds like good birding in the rainforest. Hard to photograph them there. I understand that.

Gouldiae said...

G'day Tony,
Nice trip, thank you. What a bird list! Just looked up that Kingfisher - wow! Bet you lust after a pic of that one.

Mosura said...

Sounds like it was well worth tripping and falling.

Do you get Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfishers back at Tyto Wetlands?

Tyto Tony said...

Gidday Denis:

Yes, if I spent a lot of time in true rainforest I'd have to add good flash and beamer to my kit.

Tyto Tony said...

Gidday Gouldiae:

Lust is too weak a word for it!

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Mosura:

Two juveniles, one very young, in five years. They usually stick to the ranges, coming and going.

mick said...

Great description and birds. Wish I could see some of the ones you have up there. Never satisfied with what we have.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Mick:

Which of us is ever satisfied? The Catbirds are always greener on the other ...

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