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Water Python puts lethal squeeze on White Ibis

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Just caught sight of Australian White Ibis's final seconds alive at edge of pool beneath Payets Tower in Town Common Conservation Park today. A forlorn wave of wing as snake dragged bird into pool. Quick walk back to Troopy for camera change and gumboots. Snake quit kill soon after this picture, perhaps realising it was wrapped around more than it could swallow. But can't rule out camera-shyness.

Sticking up for birds on sticks

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Sick of birds on sticks? Too bad. They've got to go somewhere, apart from with atlas listings. And I've vetoed barbed wire and similar artificial perches. But BOS 'savers' do build up after failing to fit into blog themes. Apart, that is, from theme of birds on sticks. Original, huh? Above, Sacred Kingfisher near takeoff, Ross River.
Horsfields Cuckoo in early-morning light, Townsville Town Common Conservation Park.
Forest Kingfishers in light and shade, Town Common.
Nutmeg Mannikin male, Ross River.
Mistloebird male with fig, just metres away from Nutmeg.
Pale-headed Rosella, Bald Rock  area, Town Common.
Striated Pardalote, one of pair beside Old Flinders Highway.
White-browed Robin, in thicket by Town Common entry gate.

Brown Tree Snake flexes muscles in fig tree

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Small fig tree just inside entry gate to the Townsville Town Common Conservation Park draws little attention from visitors yet outdoes all other trees in park for the living treasures it attracts. A major factor is the nightlight shining upon it and it alone.
So, curled up this morning after a night presumably targeting dwarf tree frogs, a small but typically feisty nocturnal-hunting Brown Tree Snake. (Close by, one of the frogs that got away.)


Then, show of muscular strength and flexibility as it faced big glass eye pressing towards it. After a tentative strike snake contented itself with flickering tongue and patient watchfulness. The glass eye withdrew and all went off pleased with upshot(s) of encounter. 


Stubby-tailed gecko spotted in leaf litter

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Quick grab at leaf litter got reptile new to my Townsville list in the bag briefly at the Town Common. At first sight it seemed Northern Spotted Velvet Gecko had sacrificed tail - survival strategy to distract predators with wriggling discard. But the stubby tail is characteristic of species.

Not so stubby toes characteristic of Comb-crested Jacana. Explains how species seems able to walk on water (with help of minimal vegetation) and thus is still known by some as the Jesus bird.

Standing grounded, or, as in this case, samphired, characteristic of Australian Pipit. Bird's-eye view for this species most often means close underfoot. Desired bird's-eye camera angle means photographer must also get grounded.

Or not fully, perhaps. Samphire bokeh behind the bird adds 'colour' lacking from lower angle. And a quirky side note: the bird's feet and legs look almost like organic offshoots to or from the bird. Worth getting bum wet and muddy for, I reckon.

Osprey takes off with Long Tom after long weir wait

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Long chat with fellow Kiwi today on footbridge across Ross River at Aplin Weir waiting for Osprey to launch from Leichhardt tree down into fish-filled seawater below. Nothing happening. Walk under tree. Nothing. Return to footbridge. Nothing. Try for flight shot of passing tern. Turn back on Osprey ...

... And, yes, Osprey strikes - and whooshes up behind my back, over footbridge, and upriver with Long Tom catch to 'feeding' branch in melaleuca  well upstream. Frustrating. Interesting too. Bird didn't do the usual and change grip to carry fish torpedo fashion with head pointing forward.

Much more active at base of weir this morning, Striated Heron (one of six squabbling over perches and catches of small fish)...

... and Little Egret (one of 11, mostly disdaining to squabble over anything).

Solitary Silver Gull, perhaps feeling outnumbered, found nothing much to eat and had nothing to say.

Closer to home, time for a cleanout.

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Long, long time to find short, short snake

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It's only taken nearly forever to find the supposedly common Red-naped Snake. But then I don't live in Ipswich where gardens are said to be alive with the small harmless cuties.

Specially small and cute when found as pint-size (20cm) juvenile under a dead log near the Townsville Town Common entry gate. So, within, say, another lifetime should find a 40cm adult. Lot of logs to be shifted.

No need to shift logs to find bad-tempered Carpet Python sunbathing in Payets Tower. That big lump at the rear helps explain the don't-mess-with-me attitude.

Uncertainly tempered at best of times, Carpets dislike being approached when weighed down with a heavy meal. Argument that the tower is for people not snakes made no headway.

Another Common-dweller appreciative of human structures, Mud-dauber Wasp, in gentle pursuit of gathering nectar (in competition with honeyeaters). Gentle as compared with waspish habit of paralysing prey and popping it into mud nest as food for solitary implante…

Huntsman bagged, turtle jagged, mantids snagged, kite ragged, monitor flagged

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Wasn't hunting the Huntsman when this Huntswoman turned up in carry bag discarded by the Ross River. She didn't need a bag because she supplies her own to carry her large family of tiny offspring about.

Though looking frighteningly big and speedy to some, Huntsmen merely tickle slightly crawling up an arm - mine. Can't report on the youngsters because all were quickly returned to the bush.

Wasn't after dead Turtles either. But came upon this one initially being ripped into by pair of White-bellied Sea-eagles (their favourite food, I think). My sudden appearance led to killers fleeing and secondary feeders, pair of Australian Ravens, dropping in.

They, in turn, were driven off by immature pair of sea-eagles, which, in their turn, gave way to this immature Wedge-tailed Eagle. The eagle tried to fly off with turtle, dropped it deep in paragrass, .and all ended up missing out. Chances are pigs or dogs sniffed it out later.

As with sea-eagles, Brown Falcon likes to sit and…