Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Birds bit noisy, pictures less so

Looking sharp along my favourite country road today, an Australasian Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae), one of scores active and even singing a bit on road, grass and fencing. 

Awkwardly posed, but also sharp, a Horsfield's Bushlark (Mirafra javanica). Plenty of song from this and a few others of the species.

And from Tyto today two views of a cheery churry Brown-backed Honeyeater (Ramsayornis modestus), building, yet again, in front of the hide. 

Those bored by camera details should look away now. All the above images shot at ISO 400. No noise reduction applied. Lately been told Canon uses under and over exposure tweaking to provide intermediate ISOs from the primary 100 200 400 800 etc. Pushing 200 to 250 (my previous preferred setting) creates picture noise. Helps explain high ISOs many use. Nikons don't have the problem.

Back to today's birds. Bit of takeaway food for immature Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus). 

But turtle proved too tough a nut to crack. Even mature birds try and fail to open turtles up. I suspect, on rather limited observations,  that White-bellied Sea-eagles get to the meat of things by carrying turtles up and dropping them. However, I've only ever seen the pickup.                 
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Crimson leads the red brigade

A few bright reds stood out from all the green under plenty of cloud in Tyto today. Male Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) busy outside the hide, looking for nest positions after two false starts under the eaves. Bird checked former nest hole in paperbark trunk, taken over by black ants. Eviction unlikely, but fingers crossed.

Male Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) jigged about in favourite habitat without  ever dancing clear of it.

Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) also seemed to be going out of its way to hide behind reeds, grasses and flowers as it picked a path across the lily pads.

Finally, in keeping with colour theme, holdover picture of Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta) amid bottlebrush flowers they cannot get enough of.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Listen, Mistletoebirds glisten

Lots of noise from Mistletoebirds (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) in Tyto these days, but seldom any birds sitting close to the ground. 

Came upon this one yesterday while riding around the main lagoon. Bird kept moving so no chance to get off bike and take steadier pictures. But at least they show glistening colours of adult male.  

Female Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris) gets set for bit of green breakfast. Bird took insect from upper foliage, lost it twice and finally snatched it up out of grass and leaf litter.

And here's a Rufous-throated Honeyeater (Conopophila rufogularis) looking for an evening morsel in overcast gloom.

Picture taken in area usually parched at this time of year. But La Nina is taking hold. Latest rains have pushed main lagoon to capacity. If reed bed shallows do not dry out wader counts will be low this 'dry' season. And fewer water birds will gather on Tyto lagoons, given plenty of water everywhere in the area.
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rufous Whistler gives game away

Male Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris) gave the game away by flying to and fro with green caterpillar near a Tyto track today. 

Why not eat the juicy morsel? Because nearby juvenile needed food more. Youngster must have fluttered down from a nest. Quick pictures and left the pair alone. Both gone   an hour later.      
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Noisy Pitta not quite flash enough

Edged closer to lining up sharp shots of Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor) in small patch of rainforest near Ingham today.

But sunlight falling on patches of the leaf litter and the risk of scaring the bird caught me in two minds about using flash. I'm dim enough in just one mind, so results not so flash. Hope to do better soon in same spot.   
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Golden glimpses of Mr Gorgeous

Ignored misty cloud and pothole peril to seek Golden Bowerbird (Amblyornis newtonianus) along Paluma Dam road today.

Car's life shortened, but mine expanded with memorable minutes watching Mr Gorgeous.

And he even gave out a few of frog-like croaks. 

Now I know what to listen for when close to the mighty bower.

Also in same area, and singing mightily above his upsidedown-leaf-strewn bower, Tooth-billed Catbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris).

Species used to be Bowerbird. Before that, Catbird.

Bowerbird's more apt, but he probably couldn't care less. 
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wompoo twigs to nest viewer

Trouble with rainforest, it's full of damned trees! Wompoo Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus) peers from part-built nest in high forest west of Ingham today. Took several minutes to get partial view and this dodgy, distant image after spotting pair coming and going through dense growth. Birds waited till I got tripod in place - and then took off! So I did too.  

Glimpsed a few Pale-yellow Robins (Tregellasia capito) but caught bird above during an earlier drive up the range.

And no Grey-headed Robins (Heteromyias cinereifrons) around, so here's one from another recent trip into rainforest.  
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Little Bittern fourth issues forth

Fourth sighting for 2010 of Australian Little Bittern (Ixobrychus dubius) in Tyto this morning coincided with copy of The Bittern Chronicle ('Reed all about it') in day's mail.

For 2009-10, 38 Littles were recorded at 26 wetlands (mainly southeast and southwest mainland Australia); 94 Australasian Bitterns were recorded in 63 wetlands (mainly southeast and southwest, and Tasmania). No estimate is offered of total Littles. 'Threatened' status is sought for Australasians, which may number fewer than 1000 (NZ has 500-2000).

I am certain many more Littles are out there. But being smaller, quieter and living farther from birding hotspots means fewer reports. The surveys continue.

No shortage ever of White-browed Crakes (Amaurornis cinerea) in Tyto, though high lagoon levels mean many are stalking unseen through reeds and fewer are out treading the lily leaves. 
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Red-capped Plover hot-foots it

What's this, hot-footing it down my favourite country road today? 

Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus) ran away down unsealed road and back towards car before taking off. First I've seen in the grazing area, though not an uncommon inland visitor.

Also of note, great increase in numbers of Australasian Pipits on the road, possibly a hint that other grassland species may soon be back.

In the meantime, four holdovers from the roadside.

Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)

Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo (Chalcites basalis)

Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella)

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton). Best I've got outside of Tyto.
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Python pokes tongue at prurience

Is there no end to your interest in my sex life? (Female still in pandanus today.)

Go away, prurient human person! Click pix to enlarge

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Amethyst Pythons shine in coital coiling

Coital coiling by Amethyst Pythons (Morelia amethistina) in Tyto. First sighted four-metres plus female and smaller male close to main entry track early yesterday.

No hurried sex for pythons so little changed till mid-morning today. Male vanished first from the head-high pandanus clump. Two hours later the female also was gone. Perhaps she'll produce and care for her eggs in the wetlands. But it would need  a microchip and tracking to confirm such a hope.  
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Brown Goshawk drops in for brekkie banter

Gidday. Just flying up this track and thought I'd drop in and have a dekko for bit of brekkie. Scared? Why'd I be scared of you, sta...