Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Bad, the Ugly and the Beautiful

Steamy stuff in the daytime? Sounds a bit like soap opera to me. We'll call it The Bad, the Ugly and the Beautiful!  

Not so bad to look at, but ugly is as ugly does. And what the Cane Toad (Bufo marinus) does is reproduce its poisonous self in noisome numbers: up to 30,000 eggs per female a season. Perhaps 99% will not survive. Still leaves 300 to do their worst. Look closely and you'll see a chain of black eggs stretching along the flank of the male toad (above, at work in Tyto. Click to enlarge).

Hard to see bad barbed wire as anything but ugly, even with an attractive young Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) taking a comfort stretch upon its rustiness. But I was taken with the colour match between rust and parts of the bird. (Note to barbed wire collectors: I don't think this is a rare piece.)

Nothing ugly about the Ulysses butterfly (Papilio ulysses), though the brilliant blue coloration signals a warning against swallowing the swallowtails. The males sip salts from small puddles, in part to produce pheromones to attract females. Their liquid uptake - and throughput - must be considerable as this butterfly spent several minutes moving from puddle to tiny puddle and produced scores of drops, such as that shown.

Nothing ugly or bad about Plumed Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna eytoni). Two have taken up temporary quarters in a waterlogged corner of the caravan park. Funnily enough, Plumed Whistlers can give the impression they are averse to water. They stand around by day, prefer ground landings to splashdowns, will breed far from water, and feed nocturnally on grasses and other low growth.

Well, that didn't go so badly, did it?


mick said...

I like the ducks the best - and especially like the pose you have captured!

Gouldiae said...

G'day Tony,
Yeah, those toads don't have a lot going for them do they? Looks, reputation... - only their mothers could love them.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony
Nice images - even of the Butterfly wee. Who would have thought?
Loved the Whistling Duck. It looks like it is a cartoon character.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Mick

Yes, I was drawn to the pose and used it - though one bird a bit soft - ahead of shots of just one or other of the pair.

Tyto Tony said...

Gidday Gouldiae

Not at all sure those loving mums don't lap up the odd little one when times get tough.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Denis

You wouldn't believe how many shots it took to capture that one drop in the right place.

There is a comical look to Plumeds, but I've always thought that most waddlers give off a certain pomposity that denies them - rightly or wrongly - any sense of humour.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony.
You mean you didn't "get lucky" with a single image. ;-)
Don't spoil my illusion that you are the perfect naturalist/photographer, Australia's answer to David Attenborough - who just appears in the forest (swamp), and things "happen" in front of him.
Shame he never shows the poor leech-bitten researcher who staked out the interesting insect, or creature, for 6 wet and sticky months, before the Great DA turned up, to whisper from behind a tree!
I thought that Whistling Duck did have some comicality about him.

Duncan said...

Good ones Tony, I reckon the duck shot looks like a composite of one duck at the Australian Open tennis.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Denis

I'm sure DA would be the first to acknowledge all those whose work precedes his own, but only those like us trying in our small ways to tell a nature story know how bloody hard even the seeming simple things can be. What upsets me most with many nature shows is the intercutting of unrelated moments, with accompanying phoney dramatic voiceover.

Hi Duncan: Must have missed that one. Have seen a goose or two in the early rounds, but at least the biggest ever is no longer in Jelena's corner.

Hurrah, hurrah for Radjah Radjah

What's in a name? More in some than others. Take above Radjah Shelduck ( Tadorna radjah ).  Also known as Burdekin Duck. Also now ( Ra...