Sunday, October 31, 2010

Eyes out for Little Black Cormorant

Fluked capture of Little Black Cormorant's (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) brilliant eye colour yesterday.

Today, got much closer to one bird for long time. Wouldn't you know it, colour nothing to write home about. Sometimes it's breeding stage, sometimes angle of light and lens. 

So, I've written it up here anyway. And I'm not writing off hopes of better to come.

Also wishing a few more Australian Pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus) might cruise by Tyto. Closer to the camera.

And that the Australasian Darters (Anhinga novehollandiae) would get down from the heights of Leichhardt trees. 
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monarch on a mossy 'throne'

Search for Noisy Pittas in Broadwater Forest Park today collected a few blurred images, many mosquito bites and a mixed bag of other birds, starting with Spectacled Monarch (Symposiarchus trivirgatus) on deep mossy nest. Species busy breeding and feeding throughout the rainforest park, 40km west of Ingham.

Grey-headed Robin (Heteromyias cinereifrons) willing as always to pose briefly. Earlier, came upon a Grey-headed being dive-bombed by two (much smaller) Pale Yellow Robins.

Conflict also seen between Lemon-bellied Flycatchers (Microeca flavigaster), but this bird was just getting on with foraging.

Last, but for size of catch not least, Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii) about to finish off small skink (one of the many copper-heads).
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Little Bitter among minor miracles

Much made for and against in Australia lately about two miracles needed to create this nation's first saint, but among unsaintly types minor miracles roll out without nearly so much fuss. Thus, sighting today and yesterday of Tyto's rarity, Australian Little Bittern (Ixobrychus dubius). Each time bird flew from flooded lagoon edge, across 40m open water and dropped down into scleria. One flight and sighting is a blessing, two in two days nothing less than birdwatching miracle. Three in a row too much to contemplate!

And another good news tale. White-browed Robins (Poecilodryas superciliosa) yesterday frantic to protect grounded fledgling from opportunist green ants. Parents kept picking at the biting menace. Junior fluttered around feebly. Finally scrambled off the ground. Today, no sight or sound of family so presumably all's well. Just a very minor miracle.            
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Red-backed Fairy-wren betwigged

More chasing of Red-backed Fairy-wrens (Malurus melanocephalus) in Tyto today, without getting one to sit still outside a clutter of twigs (above and below).

Here's an older soft image, with bird clutching little love token.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thick-knees stand up to pesky peafowl

Rare standoff pits Bush Thick-knees (Burhinus grallarius) against possibly predatory or maybe merely inquisitive Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) in Ingham suburbia beside Tyto Wetlands yesterday. 

Flurry of wings followed before intruder departed to its own backyard nearby and left junior in relative safety.

Thick-knees are endangered in southern Australia but more than cope against cats, dogs, snakes and other birds here in the north. What's missing here? Foxes. Too simple? Yes, but I'd argue a big factor.

And another thing: Blogger in draft image uploads out today for two hours. Back up, and insert problems worse than ever. Seems odd the generous giant can't get such little things right.

And reply to CygnetBurger: why not right click on the image, save it, resize it to suit and then do whatever you wish with it on Facebook? Willie awaits .   
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Heron's swallow follows 'mud in your eye!'

'Here's mud in your eye' perfect toast to Striated Heron (Butorides striata) yesterday on tidal mud where Herbert River meets Hinchinbrook Channel east of Ingham. Bird waited without movement for more than five minutes close to water-filled hole in mud.

Sudden strike came too fast for me.

'Whole lotta shakin' goin' on!' (with nictitating membrane protecting eye).

Mud mostly gone, time for the swallow.

Big gulp. Fish gone. 

Time to move on. Field guide does say birds can become tame near boat ramps. Not usually quite so forward as this one! 
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Golden Bowerbird tempting before Wet sets in

Spotted patch of blue to the south and headed off to heights of Paluma dam road yesterday to check on Golden Bowerbird (Amblyornis newtonianus) before the Wet really sets in.

Male showed up close to bower but then didn't stick about for long. No sign of females or any immature males.

Tooth-billed Catbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) in same area active and noisy as ever on favoured perch near its display area of upturned green leaves.

Had to sit on wet ground to get clear view of bird. Finished morning with sodden shorts and muddy car.

Caution: slippery sections of the much-potholed unsealed road to the dam will be barely passable for 2WD if wet weather persists, as seems certain. 
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Crimson Finches beat the ants

Male Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) by nest hole in trunk of paperbark outside the Tyto hide on Saturday. Seems the ants that took over the hole have given it up, as hoped. No evidence of birds actually attacking the ants.

Perhaps, though, just to be on safe side, Crimsons are building another nest in a fork a little above the hole but obscured from the hide.

Male was doing some weekend posing alongside the tree, amid blustery breezes and plenty of stiff showers. (More rain yesterday and even heavier falls overnight.)   
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Wet scenes swamp the dry season

Water, water everywhere - and it's the dry season! Recent Tyto scenes. Green Pygmy-goose (Nettapus pulchellus) pair on the main lagoon, close to capacity.

White-browed Crake (Amaurornis cinerea) steps down scleria toward water that would usually be at least 30cm lower at this time of year.  

Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) pauses between terrorising passing dragonflies, on perch that should be over drying mud.

Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) shows wing spurs on flight past the lookout.  Nothing unusual here, watery background simply suits the theme.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Brown Falcon grabs green grasshopper

Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) spells doom for large green grasshopper along my favourite country road today.

Long grass blocked view of the capture.

But fence posts come in handy for birds, and photographers!  
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Red-browed Finch hard to pin down

Crafty Red-browed Finch (Neochmia temporalis) gathers nest material near Tyto hide today.

Hard to spot nest because bird enters one tree and then sneaks across high into another, where the nest is hidden.

Good chance, however, to get bit closer to the wary species.

Yesterday, chased in-flight images of Rainbow Bee-eaters (Merops ornatus) in high winds along my favourite country road.

But couldn't shoot fast enough in the cloudy conditions.

Anyone else finding their multiple picture uploads no longer working properly?    
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Friday, October 1, 2010

La Nina falls keep species down

September didn't see any Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (Calidris acuminata) in Tyto. (Above bird seen this week, with Common Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit, on tidal lagoon beside my favourite country road).

It seems with La Nina's hold deepening, more rain falling and Tyto Wetlands water levels at capacity there'll be no muddy shallows to attract migratory waders before the Wet proper sets in. Species count for September, 113, 10 down on 2009.

So, off west to see nesting Wompoo Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus), peering distantly through the rainforest gloom, near the Wallaman Falls road. Impossible to gain clear view of bird. Will try again in a week or so. 
Click pix to enlarge  

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...