Sunday, March 31, 2019

Wizard lizard gizzard: Burton's curtains for Keelback

Burton's Snake Lizard found across track yesterday in Townsville Common Park carried big surprise.

The wizard lizard coughed up multifolded Keelback snake longer than its digestive track.

Lizard loses big meal. Keelback loses everything. Fly attends feast.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Male Jacanas just carry on parenting capers

Carry four youngsters under your arms? No problem, if you're a male Comb-crested Jacana. Spotted bulky bird on lagoon in Palmetum Botanical Gardens, Townsville, with too many legs, but only two on water plants.

Seconds later four young Jacanas were free to forage with father (females free of parenthood).

Make all four vanish in a flash? No, problem. Male uttered shrill orders and the quartet disappeared into debris beneath him (above) on edge of lagoon. My short, very careful search found not one bird.

But it caused male to flop 'broken' wings and splosh invitingly about - an easy meal for a predator. Soon after, perceived danger passed, male sounded the all clear, picked his 'invisible' four up, and carried them to other side of lagoon.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Life in the sticks stacks up for birds

Sticks. Some birds need stacks of them. Whistling Kite returns towards nest after seeing off cheeky young Brahminy Kite that ventured too close. But on the way home, why not stop off for a bit of extra for the relatively modest nest high in eucalyptus?

Young White-bellied Sea-eagle not so long ago stood upon stack of sticks vastly outweighing the kite's. Parent birds lately heard honking from their massive creation in Townsville Town Common Park. Be no surprise soon to see them carrying fresh stocks of sticks to the nest.

Then there's those that stick to standing stock still on sticks. Nankeen Night Heron, in early morning light, for example. Or Little Pied Cormorant.

Pheasant Coucal not sticking totally to the theme, half on, half off.

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike goes one better, all on and all off.

Little Friarbird, meanwhile, sticks to daily preening routine, stock-in-trade for all birds whether from the sticks or the heights.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Bushlark hunt thankless tale of bogeys and birdies

Can be thankless job trying to help travelling birders find that one species they're chasing. Some bogey birds seem always to be there yesterday and tomorrow for those desperate to see them and ever here today for those trying to help. Thus, Horsfields Bushlark amid samphire this morning beside road to Bald Rock in the Townsville Common. One of six for me, yet seemingly a species unsighted in three mornings by English visitors.

Also in the same patch - and worthier image - Australian Pipit ruffling plumage after skiff of rain whizzed by.

Tawny Frogmouths come high on some lists of must-sees. Female in small paperbark in Pallarenda Conservation Park yesterday watches unseen, often with male partner, as visitors come and go. But no guarantee that two directed to the site today will have seen the bird/s.

More generally many would love to capture Rainbow Bee-eaters - in all their splendour. Finding the birds isn't the problem. Finding them in exactly the right place (low down, close up, in focus, cleanly backgrounded) not so simple. Above image close as I've come for several months. Two out of four ain't bad.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Snake-bitten frog lives to croak another day

Frog distress calls and sinuous thrashings told the tale even before sighting of Common Tree Snake and Green-striped Burrowing Frog in life and death struggle beside track to Bald Rock in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park today.

Snake held on. Frog swam. Snake dragged frog back into grass. Frog fought. Snake regripped. Frog sensed moment. Snake bit again. Too late. Frog gone.

Snake stood sentinel for many minutes. Frog long gone.

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...