They're driving me mad, these three Forest Kingfishers. After flying out of sight with a parent several months ago they're back. I think they've been to black bird-magic school. Now you see them, now you don't. Some days one, next day two, then three, then with their equally evil parent.
But I'm onto them and their plan to drive me nuts. Ha! Popping up in front of me and vanishing. Laughing at me behind my back. And, today, in my face. Cunning, they are. Sitting there, all nice as pie right in front of me. Always in the shadows. That's because they know I don't carry a flash.
Like today, up pop the evil hunchmen at Payets, 'kik-kik-kikling' like avian screechers from Endor. Two are on sunlit branches, but too far off. One really close, in shadow. The close one gives the signal, the other two fly by and land nearer. Then one flies right. And while I'm tracking it the other flies in, and perches unseen two metres above the first, which distracts me by giving a silent laugh and yawn. One's right in front, ignoring me, one's just above in silent stitches at my unawareness. the third's clearly gone off to tell ma or pa about the fun they're having with me. Well tomorrow I'll be flashgunning for them and we'll see who's laughing then.
Lookalike Tawny Frogmouths face intrusion this morning in the Townsville Town Common with unalike reactions: Don't care. Manic stare. Stern glare.
Soon after, all three lost interest and returned to staring fixedly straight ahead. It's what you do to while away the day till nightfall signals time to go chase up some food. And with luck the trio will be on the same branch tomorrow morning. We'll see.
Jabiru junior shows robust health morning after alarming visitor with much head tossing and wing flapping interpreted as throat obstruction but more likely demands for food from parents.
Last pools at best viewing areas remain wetter than same time last year. But without rain by end of month mud will show through almost everywhere.
No more images of Jabiru (Black-necked Stork) senior jabbing into the water for slippery catches.
No more Black-fronted Dotterel immature poking about at edge of water.
And fewer close views of Brolgas flying in to forage through grasses and, less often, pools.
And no more chances to stand relatively close to Royal Spoonbills, trying combinations of cameras and lenses (top down: 1D+600; 1D+1.4x+600; 7D+1.4+600= 1344mm! Conclusion: kiss - keep it simple, stupid - is best).
Too much greenery to allow crawl up on Horsfields Bushlark. The species can, however, be surprisingly tolerant of people walking patiently toward them. Not at all tolerant, and thus unphotographed, pair of Brown Quail and a Red-backed Buttonquail unseen till flushed from long couchgrass nearby.
If only their behaviour matched that of Owlet Nightjar. Haven't got daytime look at species in the Town Common. Got lucky early in the week at western edge of Townsville while having casual look for honeyeaters near bottom of highway climb up local range. Spotted huge scar 20-metres up towering gum - with curious grey blob.
Which resolved through binoculars into alert nightjar. No way down 20m drop off highway and 40-50m across to gum, so lucky find could not become lucky sharp image.
If only nightjars thronged like Rainbow Lorikeets. In this case, to rose gums flowering at eastern fence edge of the Town Common. Plenty of action again today: bird above feeding on Thursday morning.
No thronging for Eastern Koels, but above female and a male tucked into a mixture of native figs beside the entry gate this morning.
And to polish things off, immature Pacific Baza about to end several minutes of carrying big colourful caterpillar and polish it off with one quick swallow.