Thursday, July 31, 2014

Friendly face more than welcome

Young Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) made several welcome returns to windswept wetlands perch at Mungalla Station yesterday morning.

Not the glowing colours of a mature adult.

But a friendly face is always welcome , right?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Reed Warbler stands in as guineapig

Used Australian Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus australis) as guineapig for lens tests in Tyto today. Birds weren't too co-operative but over a few pleasant hours of chatting in hide to visiting birders a few came to the edge of scleria. 

First up, 600 lens plus 1.4x.

Then, 600 plus 2x.

Bonus, bird snatches long-legged insect or spider.
Verdict: steadier camera mount needed.

Second bonus, back to 600+1.4: Brush Cuckoo (Cacomantis variolosus). Full frame uncropped, portrait, tripod used as shaky monopod.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Damn, damn, damn! But all is not always lost

Damn! Too much foliage. Damn! Wrong settings. Damn! Not close enough. Damn, damn, damn. But all is not always lost. Recent before-and-afters.

Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii) too far off?

Crop it.


Clone it.

Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) too light?

Tweak it.

Too hot?

Cool it.

And remember to grin and have fun doing it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fantail, Monarch flit into sharp focus

Rewarding session in Jourama Falls forest brought Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) onto favourite perching place and into sharper close focus than the quick-flitting species usually allows.

Shame that all the tail didn't quite fit into this full frame image.

But Spectacled Monarch (Symposiarchus trivirgatus) on the same perch did fit the full frame almost perfectly and needed no sharpening, though it's possible in-camera sharpening (jpeg) shows on some monitors..

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Immature Mangrove Robin stands out

Couple of youngsters stand out among captures with big new toy. Immature Mangrove Robin (Peneonanthe pulverulenta) leads the way, after clumsy tripod-toting chase through dry coastal forest near mangroves at the end of the road through Orient Station, near Ingham.

Spotty remnants of immature plumage will soon disappear.

Another young bird popped up yesterday. Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) juvenile about 60m away peers from huge nest high in Leichhardt tree at Mungalla Station. There had been two chicks. No  sightings at all for weeks. But this bird at least must have been lying doggo.

And another relative youngster lying about the place is 2.5-3m Saltwater Crocodile, sunning at western end of island in the main lagoon at Tyto Wetlands. First confirmed sighting of the species in Tyto for several years. Picture taken with old 400mm lens from about 80m, nearest point of dry land to the croc's  basking place.   

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Face to face with the fibber

Face to face with the fibber from Tyto carpark garden: Bush Thick-knee (Burhinus grallarius) featured in blog last month faces up to the truth ...

... one of two juniors in evidence these days. 

And following up on tame Cattle Egret (Ardea ibis), another frog and another closeup at Orient Station. But bird seems now to have moved on.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Black-shouldered Kite catches the eye

Catching the eye this week, Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) pauses during long spell of pair bonding above a creek near Ingham.

Here's another kite inspecting possible roost in pandanus along Orient Station road after also doing aerial manoeuvres with its partner.

Also at Orient Station, two looks from and at Australian Hobby (Falco longipennis). Hobby numbers remain higher than formerly.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cattle Egret settles for long sitdown chat

What could be better than sitting in the grass chatting to a Cattle Egret (Ardea ibis) on a crisp July morning?

Sitting so closely the bird stayed within touching distance for about 30 minutes.

The magic started when the solitary bird flew to the road near the parked Troopy. It was not bothered when I emerged for what would usually be a quick shot or two before the target took off.

But this bird came ever nearer as it hunted for frogs  in the coarse reedy grasses. A lower mandible cracked and askew did not hinder the hunting.

It walked towards me with its best catch, a large doomed frog.

And when it began a long session of preening we settled down for a lengthy talk that ended with the bird walking on and across my outstretched legs to start terrorising frogs again.

All this, and the World Cup, and Game of Thrones 4 DVD in the post. Could life be any better?

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...