Thursday, December 31, 2020

Young Darter's sharp starter for 2021


Here's to taking flight for 2021. Just have to get these wing things up and flapping a bit more. Big decision to make first. Is it better to sharpen up before first quitting the branch?

Or stay soft and a bit downy? Downy? Mmm, doesn't sound the best direction to take, does it? Sharp and up it is then.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Great expectations fall into chastening hollows

 

Yeah, gidday. One of my less than many readers got in touch the other day. Not seeing much effort on the old blog lately. Was I OK? Touching, such concern for my wellbeing. Anyway, all's well with me. Can't say same for bloody Blogspot. Changes to assist mobile users have stuffed up my blog workflow. That's part of it. There's also a desire for more depth. Citizen science with touch more sci.

So, settled in for daily look-in on Barking Owls and Tawny Frogmouths pairs that began breeding in late October. Tawny Frogmouth male sat in clear view from scores of walkers and drivers daily passing by in Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park. Female Barking Owl settled inside big hollow stump in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park, watched over by male. Weeks go by, tick males' presence each day. Day 50 comes and goes. Nothing changes at or near nests. Then it does. Male owl not on duty. Male frogmouth not on nest. Sneaky scrape on owl nest trunk. No female owl appears. Gone. Check all about frogmouth nest. Male on nearby branch. With female, suddenly there after 50 days unseen. No youngsters. Lesson? No sure things in nature. Better luck next year perhaps. Though owls have now failed three years running. 

So, to the pictures. There's me, out from behind binos. But beware. It's not the real me. Look closely, it's me flipped. Left is really right because picture is shot via mirror in local cemetery (no, I've no idea why toilet block has external mirror).

And there's Mr Frogmouth sitting stolidly on duty during his fruitless days under the baking sun.

And Mrs Frogmouth suddenly returned from who knows where to again sit beside her mate.

And two Barking Owls, one consistently failing to meet my eye since quitting watch over the nest. 

And there's Mrs Owl, back in the days - and nights - of expectation. 

The birds just get on with life, the watcher feels an ironic and somewhat chastening hollowness. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Snipe triggers smiles on Sunday surveyors' dials

Latham's Snipe takes break from busy morning feeding close to tower hide in Townsville Town Common this morning and by so doing in plain sight pleasing members of Birdlife's regular monthly Sunday survey team. Also present, two, later three, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. Nothing remarkable about their presence, ordinarily. However small wader (shore bird) numbers notably low through all the 2020 post-wet season. Seems also unlikely that migrating Yellow Wagtails will drop in by the rapidly drying remaining pools. Low numbers of Australasian Pipits seen lately indicate lack of suitable conditions for the Wagtails.

Fish rounds on hungry egret

Last spin for fish rounding out action after being snatched by busy Intermediate Egret from waters of lagoon in Palmetum Botanical Gardens, ...