Saturday, October 29, 2016

Crawling about to compare Crakes and measure shakes

Bit of crawling about in front of the Tyto hide today and earlier in week brought White-browed Crakes more or less eye-to-eye.

Also brought chance to compare 600mm lens (top) with old 400+1.4x (above). The birds didn't seem to mind the huge 600 or the slender 400 being pointed at them from close across a narrow channel.

But most of the 600 shots were usable, unlike those from nonstabilised 400. Two exceptions above.

Same story- even with tripod - while chasing White-browed Robin juvenile first seen on the ground yesterday. Above 600 handheld of premature nest-leaver hugging the leaf litter.

Didn't want to upset chittering, flittering parent birds too much, so quit and hunted for the group again this morning. Took some time but found youngster looking much stronger (above).

Again though, even shooting from tripod and using various means to brace everything few shots with 400+1.4x combo truly sharp. So, back into the cupboard with the 400.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Welcome Swallows busy moving mud

Lot of mud on the move from Tyto drain to nearby Welcome Swallow building project this morning.

Not so keen on mud, Plumed Whistling Ducks stand at one of their regular daytime spots close to drain.

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin drops in to seek seeds.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Some lovelies in place of refound Lovelies

Got first glimpse in two years of Lovely Fairy-wren near the Tyto hide this week. But only Red-backed Fairy-wrens to show for many hours in the wetlands.

And males proving as always extremely difficult to capture in all their black and red glory.

Also active around the hide and elsewhere, Olive-backed Sunbird. Above, male yet to come into full breast colour.
And a Yellow Honeyeater showing off briefly on same paperbark branch in front of hide.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Some somethings in the water around Ingham

Is there something in the water in Ingham? Well, yes there is. Here's a large skink (Ctenotus spp) taking breather after causing White-browed Crake to jump as skink powered through water under bird near the Tyto hide today.

The Crake had being pottering around in muddy shallows before flying across narrow channel by the hide.

Elsewhere, in Tyto, loitering with more intent, Comb-crested Jacanas put their heads together over the issue of 'nest' for coming issue. Weed on lotus leaf was their fourth go at laying platform. Then down came 30mm of rain welcomed by all local gardeners. But the Jacanas must start over.

Elsewhere, at Mungalla Station, little Saltwater Crocodile pokes head from shallows, perhaps looking for any of 5-6 siblings in the lower Palm Creek wetlands. Or for 4m mum.

And what else is in the Ingham water? Fluoride, that's what. And that's as it should be. But yet again the flat-earthers are battering at the shire's door, demanding its removal. What care they that 99% of health and science is for fluoridation, they all know ... what? Scary, how little might hide behind three little dots!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Luck takes a hand in what's spied from the hide

Lady Luck got to work for me in Tyto today. Been haunting the hide of late because water levels gradually dropping and offering bit more mud for White-browed Crakes - in particular - to forage on out in the open. Doubly lucky to get a bird right below hide, after just missing great action shot yesterday.

And there have been teasing calls - mainly from afar, once quite near - from Australian Little Bittern/s. More luck. Today's sighting of female and male could not have been made from the hide. Distant picture above of male with treefrog (probably Peron's - usually brownish, but as with many frogs able to change colour) came as I was returning after quick check on nesting fantails and sunbathing python.

More luck. Walk to Northern Fantail nest led me to almost step on Large-tailed Nightjar. Blur of brown before my eyes and much diversionary fluttering followed. 

Bird kept trying to lure me away. I kept trying to locate egg/s/hatchling/s, oh so cryptic and laid or lying near the track. We both failed. But all the time being taken produced the lucky sighting of the bitterns.

So, just for luck I'll throw in a few more from the latest Tyto outings, starting with Brown-backed Honeyeater.

And ever-present Crimson Finch, female chomping weed seeds.

Solitary Sulphur-crested Cockatoo sitting a while before beginning to chomp chucks out of perch.

And Common Koel male taking break from noisy advertising for females. But he'll probably get lucky. Just not so lucky as this watcher.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Many questions about behaviour

Today we shall talk of bladders and behaviour. Fear not, you're safe from revelations about an old man's prostate. Bladder cicadas, which confine their calls to dusk and soon after dark, lead off.

Took almost an hour of searching for anything insecty to turn up the above pair this week. Usually only see these cicadas when they've fallen victim to larger birds.

Much messing about in annoying breeze produced few shots in focus. Yesterday, walked from patch of bush, felt something crawling up leg. Yep. Bladder cicada. None for months. Then three. Just like the buses: none, then three come (maths whizzes can explain the buses).

Next to young Rufous-throated Honeyeater (age shown in white edge to gape: back of beak). This bird picked away at growth on branch. Just the stuff for a nest, right? Yes, but ... but bird's too young for the job. Seemed to realise this and moments later let material fall. Copying elders? I don't know.

Now Crimson Finch male. They're building nests all over Tyto. They build, female inspects. Often he's wasted his time. She flies off, dissatisfied. But the males persist and will continue building even after rejection, or when site limitations make the job impossible. (Depth of the oval nest with entry from one end appears to be critical).

On to Cotton Pigmy-goose. Pair today swam onto leaves of pink lotus and used their support to assist with preeening. Years of watching the birds and suddenly a simple action I've never before seen.

 And behaviour that's always puzzled me: why Scrub Pythons are so passive. This 2.5metre beauty beside a Tyto track is in prime health and not so laden with recent meal as to be immobile. But with hidey hole close by and crushing strength Scrub Pythons often just sit out any encounter.

This one didn't even flick a tongue out till the lens was 30cm away. It beats me. Buty I love them all.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dragons watch over jewels

All know that a major task for dragons is guarding treasure (and trying to scorch fair maids). No sign of latter lately but below be jewels.

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...