Thursday, August 13, 2020

Shining moment catching up with shy Flycatcher

Chased pair of Shining Flycatchers back and forth along section of tangled mangroves at edge of small wetland (mostly dry, but muddy!) in Townsville this morning after hearing male (above) calling.
It helps to know the species - especially the male - usually forages predictably, low, along the edges of heavily shadowed wet areas. So, first catch up with the birds, then try to get ahead of them and wait.
Allow for probability they'll turn back and leave you standing. Several times. Also allow for frustration in failing to get clear sightings most of the time.
As also with Leaden Flycatcher the other day. Great pose, pity about the shadow.
Bit luckier with Buff-banded Rail recently. Only this one shot saw bird's tail cocked enough to clear blade of grass otherwise obscuring it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Egret ditches salad before swallowing fish

Catch of the day for Intermediate Egret, fish with salad from pool in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park this morning.

Salad? That's for other birds. First one portion fell away ...

... and then the other. How? That's an Egret secret.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Take a tip on White-bellied Sea-Eagles

Here's a tip on White-bellied Sea-Eagles. They've got two-tone tongues. Standard pink, with grey-brown flexible tips. Looking like claws, as in above image, but actually front section of tongue tightly folded lengthwise (an ability that genetically divides people: many can, many can't).

Another tip: the birds can be remarkably tolerant of a patient open approach. Bit of chat doesn't worry them either. Don't expect much by way of reply. 

And it can be frustrating trying to gain their full attention. They seldom deign to look straight at the camera, no matter how much direction is being given from behind the camera. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Cuddlesome couple Wrensday offering

Saved up cuddlesome Red-backed Fairywren duo as concession to cute Wrensdays.

Male, not so prettily photogenic but equally true to natural setting.

Not so successful, recent efforts to capture Reed Warblers in their brief showings on edge of typha.

Nearby, Australian Pipits easier to spot on samphire.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Wedge-tailed Eagle no match for menacing Magpie

Magpies may attack passersby during the breeding season, but it's always open season on any Wedge-tailed Eagle passing by. So two Wedgies cruising over Woodstock southwest of Townsville this week drew aggressive response, specially when one had temerity to land in tree over a waterhole in middle of Magpie pair's territory.
David and Goliath interaction soon saw Wedgie sling his hook quick smart.

More D&G - on the ground - lately with Green Tree Ant heading for quick march across eye of Brown Snake. Missed the outcome as snake moved off suddenly into cover.

Looking for cover elsewhere in the Townsville Town Common Park, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos join ongoing stream of potential tenants scratching around longstanding hollow trunk. As usual, no sale. Lack of cover possibly the deal breaker.

Crimson Finches know how to build all-weather homes in cover. They've constructed and bred well since the Wet season with families showing 7-8 young.

That number topped by Black Duck (gender unknown) that appeared in front of Freshwater hide the other day with 10 ducklings. This after no ducks had been seen for quite some time.

Bit like this blogger, who decided to have a few weeks off.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Ospreys beg for privacy after latest tragedy

Sad news from pair of Ospreys in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park today.

'We've lost our expected increase,' one of the pair (above), asking for gender anonymity, said. 'We are too shattered to speak of the details.

'The loss has cast a pall over the second new home we were driven to build by people intruding too closely to our old nest area.

'Coming on top of being burned out less than two years ago, rebuilding, being blessed only twice since then . . . now this latest tragedy - it's almost too much to bear.

'We have decided to return to our old nest and hope and beg to be left in peace. Thank you.'

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Birdseed beats other Common dumpings

Bit big for Budgie seed but food is food so Australian Ravens picked and pecked the other day at someone's accidental or otherwise scattering on roadside in Townsville Town Common. At least birdseed beats garden waste, old tyres and other grubby dumpings from grubs 'using' the conservation park. Pity then that the automatic front gate is yet again out of action and thus failing to bar entry between 6.30pm and 6.30am.

At high risk from night-time hoons are the park's snakes, since many species are nocturnal hunters. Small Brown Tree Snake photographed in fig tree yesterday is just one such.

Also endangered, animals such as Agile Wallaby pair in the park this morning. Speeding vehicles bring dangers enough. The same vehicles not infrequently carry dogs unlawfully into the park. Yet another threat to its values.

On a cheerier note, it's starting to feel like springtime. And pair of Rainbow Bee-eaters busily get down to springy gymnastics on the airport fence this morning. No sign so far of any nesting tunnels being dug. Their enthusiasm may come to nothing.

Meanwhile, Zebra Finches juvenile and adult continue to add colour to trees, grasses and weeds near the park entry gate (that's the gate that's almost always out-of-order).

Let's pray for natural order to always outweigh disorder, the disorderly, and the out-of-order.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Life's looking up - much still in the air

Life's looking up! Lockdown's lifting! Much, though still up in the air. So, casting eyes skyward: Nankeen Kestrel about to make light of large grasshopper.

Blue-winged Kookaburra flashing across field of view, and taking off treewards.

Yellow-throated Miner quitting low perch.

Black-eared Cuckoo, second only listing of species in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park, on wing and shadowed perch.

Carpet Python close to touching sky, high in Leighhardt tree in Ross River Bush Garden.

And, down to earth, young pig reveals air of suspicion when met gobbling on greens in the park.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

On the road to seeing southern Black-throated Finches

So you want to see endangered southern Black-throated Finches? Simple. Drive from Townsville to near Woodstock. Turn right to old Flinders Highway. Drive up and down the five roads and the park leading off it. Repeat this 5-10 times through the year.

You'll almost certainly find many finches - and probably a few Black-throateds. You really want some good pictures? Simple. 20-50 trips should do it!

Pictures: 3 of 5 juveniles beside old highway on Monday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Welcome lack of speed when feed is seed

Juvenile Scaly-breasted Munia (was Nutmeg Mannikin, before that, Spice Finch) tucking into seed of Para Grass - the Town Common's worst weed by area covered - in the Townsville conservation park today. No need for speed for feed of seed. Though granivores are maddeningly quick to take flight.

So too Welcome Swallows, which are also maddeningly fast and unpredictable feeding in flight on assorted insects. And feed on prey so small as to be nigh invisible. About 90 minutes in chilly southerly blasts on Sunday morning produced no quality images. The birds did however slow low over the water at times to take a slender white unidentified insect from the surface or just under the water.

Shining moment catching up with shy Flycatcher

Chased pair of Shining Flycatchers back and forth along section of tangled mangroves at edge of small wetland (mostly dry, but muddy!) in ...