Sunday, November 19, 2017

What's a little mud, grass, tidy, tickle between friends?


White-browed Crake strolls across drying area at edge of Payets Tower pool in Townsville Common, ignoring intruder slopping alongside in mud-enclosed boots. But what's a little mud between friends?

Bit wetter underfoot for Comb-crested Jacana. Not quite in the clear either. But what's a little grass between friends?

Below the tower, Crimson Finch cleans up (as requested) after getting stuck into sticky grass seeds. But what's a little tidiness between friends?

In the tower itself, resident Possum also happy to smile (well, sort of) for the camera. No madness this, being up the pole: warmth, protection, peace (most of the time). But what's a little tickle between friends?







 






Thursday, November 16, 2017

Yawny Tawny ignores Aussie mozzie

Deep in the heart of Mozzieland sits the Tawny Frogmouth. Unmoving, as usual.

But wait. Things are stirring. Pesky Brown-backed Honeyeaters want the Tawny gone.

Which brings what counts as frenzy from Tawny. Sleepy eye opens. Head turns. Nothing to see here. Back to snooze.

Mozzies? Let them join crowd and cloud around photographer.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Flycatcher flurry of feeding for lucky little Leaden

Little winner today, juvenile Leaden Flycatcher fresh from nest with devoted parents shuttling food in every few seconds.



No surprise having the young bird appear from 'nowhere'. Leadens build dainty camouflaged bowl nests which defy sighting from below the limbs and forks supporting them.

Little losers today, Brown-backed Honeyeaters with part-finished nest almost within touching distance outside tower hide. Nest found at base of paperbark, blown down by ongoing gusty winds.
A minor setback given the industry and persistence of Brown-backeds.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Kookaburras find life full of laughs

Kookaburras like to laugh, and might often do so as they watch other birds toiling to build complex nests. They just don't dig such toil. Better, they chortle, to take over readymade hollow, or do minor mining on used termite nest in tree.

Here's a prime possie right by the beach, plenty of food on the surrounding paperbarks, eucalypts and acacias, and mostly congenial neighbours, though bit of a problem with flies (Kookaburras don't rate nest hygiene highly).

And perhaps unseen nestlings can be fussy. Parent bird made several efforts to pass on spider, and couldn't find a taker. No such reluctance from within the nest when insects were offered. Imagine comment inside the nest: Spiders? You must be joking! Having a laugh, are you? Yuk, yuk, yuk.

Not far away, female Olive-backed Sunbird goes about serious business of weaving a 'real' nest. No time to mess about laughing the day away here!   

 


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Rainbow Bee-eater tunnels take their toll

Many Rainbow Bee-eaters turn up on migration from the north looking rather spiffy.

But that sharpness often gives way to wear and tear - at both ends - as the sand flies from nesting tunnels.

Many birds show blunted and broken tips of bills, and tatty tail streamers.

On the other hand, imagine looking this good at one's worst!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Who's a pretty sweet little bird then?

Mistletoebirds would be said to have a pretty sweet tooth - if they had teeth. Not much that's sweet about our native figs, you say? Tasteless, mostly, right?

Right. But that's not just water on the underside of the figs. It can at times be intensely sweet, a nectar rivalling artificial sugars.

Pretty sweet? I'll say! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Silly-Billy Frilly willy-nilly uphilly

Frilled Lizards like a spot of sunbathing on or near the ground after a spell of rain. Warmth then can make them a bit dozy as danger nears. Which can lead to a mad scramble up the nearest tree. Not all trees offer sanctuary.  Outcome: Frilly stuck between impossible ascent and risky descent. No way up smooth trunk. Camera-wielder below.

Maybe same lizard a day later, secure in grip on smaller coarse-barked tree.

Running into thick cover rather than climbing needs thought before presenting back to danger.

Sitting still can work, but parking rails don't allow any blending into the background.

Nor does posing atop sawn-off old trunk.

Just as well most people just want to admire nature . . .

. . . even as they persist in trying to improve upon it - just a little!



 





Sunday, October 22, 2017

Opportunity knocks with Wolf at the door

Fell into little trap upon seeing rounded white 'door' flap open and shut before vanishing in spiky tuft of coarse grass yesterday. Trapdoor Spider or Funnelweb, mistaken conclusion.

Back this morning with macro lens and flash at ready, gently poke soft straw down funnel/tunnel and suddenly there's a Wolf Spider at the door. She's not alone. Web ball of Wolves-to-be tagging along tied to her stomach.

She seemed more curious than furious at the intrusion and turned back into her tunnel after putting up with some wrangling for the camera. All going well she'll bite the ball open and carry her young on her back till they get hungry and go their way.

Those wanting to make a name for themselves - and for many other things - might consider looking in their own backyards. There are thousands of things living there yet to be described fully and named precisely. Which Wolf Spider is that knocking at the door? 

   

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Young fairy-wren turns up head, not nose, at greens

Unlike young children juvenile birds want to swallow anything elders give them. But what if the juicy green caterpillar looks too large?

No problem, young Red-backed Fairy-wren might have said (could it but speak) in Town Common today.

Playing with your food isn't always such a bad thing. Bit of a flick and twist of the head wraps caterpillar up.


No need to slurp it spaghetti fashion. Open wide and down she goes.

Who says kids won't eat their greens?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Reality of the fish that got away just old crap

Plenty of fishing stories boil down to little more than boring old crap, as Black-winged Stilt feeding today in shallows near Payets Tower might attest. Might, if it had bought into above inadvertent illusion.

'Fish' turns out to be boring old crap stuck on the mud. Just another story about the one that got away.

Whited-faced Heron (same site, two days ago) comes up with dinkum catch. Not a fish, but anything living in or near the water is fair fare.

Brolgas don't come up with many fish but like getting stuck into the mud. And muddy water. Many these days showing necks stained brown by the now fast-evaporating water.

Getting a bit dry on slightly higher ground.

Higher still, Brahminy Kite (once often miscalled Fish Eagle) circles the Payet Pool. Species can tell few fishing stories as it's more likely to be seeking to hook insects or frogs from sedges and reeds.

Whistling Kites also show little fishing ability, though a few (ditto Black Kites) learn to watch for and snatch dying fish as they rise gasping to the surface of stagnating waters.