Sunday, February 17, 2019

Young Peregrine drops in with peer and grin

What does a peer and grin (of sorts) add up to? Peregrine Falcon, naturally. This juvenile made an  infrequent species appearance in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park today.

First image bit messy. Quick clone job bit tidier but far from full fix.

Peregrines breed less than three kilometres away on Castle Hill, a sandstone outlier looming over the inner city, harbour, inner suburbia and the airport. It also looms over many of the city's Rock Pigeons. And Peregrines love fat feral pigeons.

So why waste much time in the Common, harassed by solitary cheeky White-breasted Woodswallow, and looking down on Peaceful Doves or Rainbow Bee-eaters when flocks of chubby pigeons are closer to home? Lesson juvenile yet to learn. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Groping to explain Whistling Kite's missing Groper


Groping for words to go with pictures of Whistling Kite homing in on fish thrown up on sand at Pallarenda in gusting break during the 10 days and 1.5 metres of rain in Townsville.

Caught bird coming in to land beside what appears to be small Groper. But didn't notice the fish when taking pictures. Nor when Kite fed on portions of entrails (oh, all right, guts). Nor when it flew and Silver Gull dropped in to grab a bite. So didn't think too much of it when unable to pinpoint where the birds had landed. I'd missed little photographic catch-of-the-day.

Did better with mating dragonflies flying over pool in the Pallarenda parking area. So what? Well, it's a minor macro miracle, using 600mm from 5m to roughly manually focus on flying insects and thus enable very quick autofocus.

Another capture of note recently. Nothing to be proud of about the image but Little Egret's taking of Eastern Striped Skink isn't something seen too often. Water rising quickly into its habitat probably led to skink's demise.

 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Ill wind blow for Frigatebirds, bonus for birders

Short break in Townsville's persistent monsoon low downpours (or, lowdown pours) allowed quick outing just up the road this morning to look for Lesser Frigatebirds, making unaccustomed showings along coastlines as they escape harsh weather out on the Grreat Barrier Reef.

Found 15 floating effortlessly over Pallarenda township and foredune. Only 3-4 males amid the birds, but probably not much to read into the imbalance. Though the males all somehow avoided being photographed.

Also a bit uncommon near the road into Pallarenda, Plumed Whistling Duck.

And, close by, solitary Royal Spoonbill.

More rain expected tonight, adding to about 1.2 metres over the past eight days. Feel some guilt out and birding as thousands - mostly on city's south side of Ross River - are evacuated or in danger of being flooded out. But that's the random luck of major weather events. And I drew short straws in Ingham with cyclones and/or floods in '07, '09 and '11.

Here's to sunnier days.



Jabiru adjusts for takeoff with lightening jet propulsion

Getting ready for takeoff, male Black-necked Stork lightens the load at Melaleuca viewing area, Town Common, Townsville this morning. ...