Thursday, February 15, 2018

Grub's up for young Great Bowerbird


Grub's up for juvenile Great Bowerbird (top), being fed, as usual by Mum (above).

As usual because the Old Man's too busy rejigging bower and its attractions.

And showing off not merely nape (nuchal) crest (not visible above) but adding to it with head colour. So he's far to busy to have anything to do with nests or raising young.

Perhaps in 5-6 years the juvenile, if male, will also be busy at a bower.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dollarbird launches into feeding flurry

Watch out, insects, here I come!

Young Dollarbird sets off after aerial prey. Bird was one of four in feeding flurry with several other species near Townsville Common gate yesterday.

All the Dollarbirds showed the dull plumage of immaturity, with more colour to come before they head off to Papua New Guinea about April.

Fiendishly difficult trying for flight pictures as the birds zigzgged the sky chasing their invisible (to me) food. One fuzzy image from hundreds of shutter clicks.

Also hunting in the air yesterday, Nankeen Kestrel, clutching small catch.

Willie Wagtail takes reverse approach: on ground for catch, toss it up, ready for final swallow.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Samphire step-out with flighty Bustard

Saunter over samphire and other salt-loving stunted stuff today turned briefly into long-range stepping out withAustralian Bustard.


Distance between us narrowed slowly before the bird chose company of two others well away from me.

Which left the plentiful Horsfields Bushlarks free to tease with flights all around me. Fluked just one aerial frame.

But similar walk the other day - and some knee-walking-crawling - turned up one Bushlark more trusting than commonly.

More crawling elsewhere led to closeup of Australian Pipit.

And nearby found Lesser Black Whipsnake sunning on ground turned over by pigs. No crawling, not for fear of snake, rather because it let me walk within touching distance.

Top picture taken from 5metres with 600mm lens, above picture from 20cm with newish iPod. Note the difference in image quality.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Forest Kingfisher trio maddening hunchmen

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.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Tawny time: Don't care. Manic stare. Stern glare.

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.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Great Bowerbird tucks into last of figs

Great Bowerbird about to swallow one of fast-diminishing sweet figs from fruitful and recently fruit-full tree at entry to Townsville Town Common Conservation Park early this morning.

Earlier in week of scattered showers and some (but not enough) heavy rain found Galah tucking into morning greens alongside road to the Common.

Brief chat today with pair of young Magpies, but above image came during a previous walk across dry section (looking in vain for button-quail).

Continuing efforts to sort Torresian Crows from Australian Ravens, caught crow at Pallarenda showing diagnostic purple sheen in morning sunlight on breast.

Another happy sunlit shot (though better would have been natural perch), Pheasant Coucal beside road through the Common.

And Red-tailed Black Cockatoo launches from low during another recent early morning outing.



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

All's well after wee flap over flapping junior Jabiru

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).

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Pipit swims into view after dry Aussie crawl

Bit of dry Aussie crawl across baked mud at Melaleuca viewing area today brought Australian Pipit closer than commonly - for a few frames.

Pity, bird didn't offer 'that' perfect pose. Then, better pose, but greater distance.


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.