Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Competition hopes start with Peaceful Doves

Wee Birdlife photo group's comp this month calls for pigeons or doves. Lacking anything decent or recent of either group, I spent some time crawling about the grass outside the caravan this morning when the resident Peaceful Doves (Geopelia striata) came picking and pecking at goodness-only-knows what (they have always ignored any offerings scattered by me).

Best view was a distant look at the cocoa colouring under the wing of a stretching bird. The colour is - I think -  used as a signal between the birds but doesn't seem to come into play during courtship.

No winners here so we'll just have to keep working at it and come closer to the ideal. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Young Jacana takes catch of the day

One species not put off breeding by the lack of flooding rains this year has been Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea). Plenty of immature birds about. This one faced flurries of challenges from a mature bird seeking to drive it off the feeding zone, a pool at the tail end of Palm Creek on Mungalla Station.

But the youngster persisted and was rewarded by the biggest catch of the day. I'll leave ID to others, but prey seems to be short of legs.

Elsewhere on the station, Red-backed Kingfisher (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius), a first for the Mungalla list, boosting total to 208 species. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

White-browed Robin luck only for the local

Why be expert when being lucky works so well sometimes? Chasing White-browed Robin (Poecilodryas superciliosa) in Tyto yesterday, with handheld 600mm lens, mistakenly ended shooting on pre-set aperture f11 rather than manual f11. Result was shutter speed of 1/30 instead of 1/800 (with fill flash, -1).

Miraculously one of three images proved almost tack sharp in spite of snail-speed shutter. But wait, there's more luck. For another hour or more tried to find a robin for two birders from Sydney. Not a peep or even the briefest of glimpses. Of course after they'd reluctantly been forced to quit the hunt another three birds showed themselves, without offering anything like so attractive a setting. Sorry, Nancy and Dirk!

Did get Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis) in super setting. Too far off and so a big crop, but all else is bang on (after minor twig removal).

Reverse case with Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta). Almost certainly the only one of its species in the wetlands, the bird stayed so close underfoot the 600 couldn't focus and all efforts to get in-flight shots failed totally. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Gobble, gobble, gobble - without turkeys

Australasian Figbird (Sphecotheres vielloti)

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae)

Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Plum-headed Finches 100, Birdbrain 1

Battle of wits continues with 100 Plum-headed Finches (Neochmia modesta) beside truck layby south of Ingham.

It would seem the score is roughly Birds' brains 100, Birdbrain 1. 

Perhaps Crimson Finches (Neochmia phaeton) simply show more sympathy because they see me so often.

And on the sale front (previous post)? Going, going...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Raptors sail by: lenses for sale: buy!

Cruising low over eastern edge of Tyto yesterday, Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) didn't find any prey in the tree tops and floated away east over Ingham.

Pair of birds are regular visitors to Jourama Falls - 30km south - but seldom drop in at Tyto.

Another raptor from another morning, young White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) shows all the size but not yet the grey and white plumage of a mature adult bird.

FOR SALE (further cut prices: last chance for all except macros!): Too many lenses and cameras, so:

Ex cond, Canon EOS 400L f5.6 nonIS     $800
Good cond Canon EOS 300L f4 IS   $700
Sold. Well used Canon 7D 1  about 85,000 clicks  $200. Sold
Sold. Near new Canon 2x mk3 converter  $200. Sold
Near new Kenko converters 1.4x, 2x  $40 each

Offers for: Older FD macros  50mm, 35-105, 70-210 (Kiron)
Plus FD-EOS adapter (nonlens, macro use only)

Monday, July 13, 2015

White-ear pops up at falls, Plumheads drop by layby

Lucky find at Jourama Falls yesterday with White-eared Monarch (Carterornis leucotis) foraging much lower in trees than usually the case.

And unlike recent encounter with an immature bird in Tyto, this one presented in its most attractive mature plumage. 

On the way to the falls looked in at truck layby beside Bruce Highway after report of Plum-headed Finches (Neochmia modesta) in the area. Very uncommon species anywhere close to Ingham. And here found 100-plus gathered. So many birds, no close images!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Spoonbill shows style, Sunbird shows off

Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes) steps out in style near Tyto's front lagoons.

Scruffier stuff beside water the shy and mostly solitary species' more usual surroundings.

And taking off the more usual reaction to seeing photographers and cameras.

PS: Talking of the latter, bumped in Gouldiae's mate Jim in Tyto this morn, on his way up to Cape York and Iron Range (lucky Jim).

So, bonus pic for them both: Sunbird and Troopy mirror. Sorry, angle prevented reflected selfie.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Surprise find tops glittering sights

Surprise find flitting about the outer foliage of trees at western end of the main lagoon today, immature White-eared Monarch (Carterornis leucotis). Been about three years since species last turned up in Tyto. The atypically dry year may bring even more uncommon sightings as drought takes a killer grip on almost all of central and western Queensland.

Much more common, but difficult to do full colour justice to, male Red-backed Fairy-wren (Malurus melanocephalus), one of many glittering in the sunshine today.

Another looking smart against clear blue sky, Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii), seldom quite so willing to let me walk close by.

And what brilliant morning in Tyto is complete without the local darling,  Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton).

Total species count for the morning: 74. Listed on eBird

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...