Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kingfisher's fish catch of the day

Caught this Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii) zeroing in near Tyto lookout.


'Sharky' shadow.

Dinner spinner.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Ulysses continue to flutter by

Ulysses (Papilio ulysses) butterflies close wings upon landing and thus hide their startling blue colours. Their erratic and swift fluttering makes photography difficult.

Almost got the full blue image in Tyto yesterday, only to have butterfly turn and offer underside view as it left tulip tree flowers.

More Grey Goshawk chasing but this Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) the only usable picture after five clear sightings. Lapwings sped down main lagoon, tailed half-heartedly by the goshawk, which had probably been chasing other prey.

Also in the air over the lagoons, White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster), and an Eastern Great Egret (Ardea modesta), on Saturday. Egrets and ducks all take off when sea-eagles appear. Wisely. Big raptors have big appetites. (Today, more panic with Swamp Harrier taking keen interest reed shallows at western end of lagoon.)

An earlier picture shows egrets don't offer much meat. Wouldn't want to live on pickings from those wings!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kite and heron help save the days

Chase after Gey and Brown Goshawks most of a cloudy week and what does one get? A few seconds of posing from a Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus). And this bird only stayed around because it was eyeing a dead wallaby nearby.

Drizzle joined the cloud today, but this White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) lifted spirits a bit. White-faces on ground seldom allow one close,  less wary when they are higher up.

Often impossible to spot higher up, seldom seen in Tyto, and always wary, Frilled Lizard (Physignathus lesueurii). Small youngster enjoying sunny spot above concrete culvert a few days ago.

Finally, image of White-browed Robin (Poecilodryas superciliosa) shaded in pandanus clump, reworked slightly after helpful pointers on photo forum, BirdingOz.

Click all pix to enlarge. Critiques always welcome.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Finches to the fore

Red-browed Finches (Neochmia temporalis) dwell doubly in the shade in Tyto: overshadowed somewhat by Crimsons, and preferring under-tree areas to sunlit grasses.

Both species enjoy sheltered margins of drying creek pools. Red-browed likes getting down to the muddy bits. And all too often behind some twig.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) spends more time surveying things below. Little wonder Crimsons feature more often.

And, mopping up the finches, here's a Double-barred Finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii) feeding on seeds from grasses dying off in middle of dirt road.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Barred Finches finally drop in

Taken four mornings to catch Double-barred Finches (Taeniopygia bichenovii) up close on the fringe of coastal woodland south of Ingham.

Birds spent little time in the open after landing on rutted dirt road.

Safety is a rusty fence.

Awful picture, interesting moment: Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) taking ants on pandanus trunk. Perhaps turmoil in ants' nest and ensuing insect hyperactivity drew finches. Switch from seeds to meat lasted about five minutes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Honeyeaters yellow and grey

Never many problems identifying Yellow Honeyeaters (Lichenostomus flavus). They're just so, well, very yellow, noisy and busy. And, as with quite a few honeyeters, grey-eyed.

They seldom sit still, and prefer to forage away from in open sunlight. Had hopes for above picture, on tulip tree, but image too soft.

White-gaped Honeyeaters (Lichenostomus unicolor) share eye colour and much else with Yellows: side by side in bird lists, on same branch in one field guide, share habitat in north Queensland. Above bird kept returning to old Shining Flycatcher nest and eating bits of lining.

Bovine bonus: Cattle Egret and adopted family watch me seeking Double-barred Finches yesterday (post upcoming).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Crakes come out as creek goes down

Young White-browed Crake (Amaurornis cinerea) ever present lately beside most heavily trodden area within the wetlands.

Bird's territory is 40-metre drying section of creek crossed by low footbridge leading to the main lookout.

Most of the dry season's growing numbers of visitors are unaware they're almost walking on top of the fast-maturing crake.

Which is a pity. For, as often proves the case, one bird's boldness brings others out.

No surprise to find similar-sized Spotless Crake (Porzana tabuensis) picking over the same muddy shallows. This mature bird quickly gives way if challenged by the youngster. Explains in part why the shyer species is greatly outnumbered.

Yet neither species gives way to Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis), more than half again larger than their 20cm. Could be because crakes breed in Tyto and the rail, though local, is a mere visitor: a much sharper eyed one than most humans passing by.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Egrets, I have a few; Falcon too

Plenty of Cattle Egrets (Ardea ibis) around Ingham and at times in pony club next door but not often seen in Tyto Wetlands.

More coastal cattle roading yesterday brought shaky images - some taken (in isolated safety) from moving car. Needs must on occasion.

Also hard to get it sharp at long range.

Unhappily,couldn't stop and steady for Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) on post because it was obviously not prepared to stand around on fence post.

Dark bird is partner of light morph from post last week.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Junior Lapwing steps forward

Almost missed seeing young Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) beside cattle road near coast yesterday.

Screaming parent gave game away. Birds settled down when car stopped.

Used passenger-side window as camera support. Sprawled from driver's seat and fought cramp and aching knee. The things we do ...

Earlier, came upon Lemon-bellied Flycatcher (Microeca flavigaster) in coastal woodland. Species used to turn up in Tyto, but largely absent for past four years.

Unhappy first sighting near Ingham (for me) of Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella) on cattle road. Bird ran along road. Behaviour, drooping right wing indicate fracture. Water, food and cover enough for short-term survival.

Monday, June 7, 2010

'Tis Little Kingfisher biz, tizz, whizz

Find Little Kingfisher (Ceyx pusilla) in noon sun on Saturday.

Unworried by my walk on to scene.

Intent on water below scleria perch. Seems the fish are hard to spot.

Sudden flap as Red-backed Fairy-wren darts by.

Little Kingfisher stands up for itself.

Further flap.

Without warning, dives to water. (Catches fish: darts elsewhere with it)

As we were. Life's yummy! (click pix to enlarge)

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