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Showing posts from October, 2014

Stint works hard for balanced feed

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Getting 'balanced' diet hard for Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) holding injured leg close to body ... 


... good thing wings still work.


Nearby, Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops) takes one-leg rest.


And Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata) tucks in. 


Elsewhere, Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae), unlike Stint, enjoys stretch of beach.

Metallic Starlings sterling condo builders

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Construction by a labour force of about 200 Metallic Starling (Aplornis metallica) continues apace in their chosen two rain trees at the  western  end of Ingham's main shopping thoroughfare.

A spokesbird for the condo co-operative said work was on schedule and all performance targets were being met. 


'The team is doing starling, sorry, sterling work, as usual.'

Mungalla mob masses amid mud

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Massed Egrets and Spoonbills crowd Mungalla Station wetlands for final feeding flurries before the shallows become fast-drying mud, probably  within a fortnight as the dry season intensifies.



Some migratory visitors are more than happy to see more mud. Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) numbers lower than in past seasons but starting to rise.



Also showing up to spend time on the mud, Red-capped Plover. Nonbreeding plumage gives only hints of the birds' breeding colours. 


From an earlier, rather colourless day, pair of White-browed Crake (Amaurornis cinerea) poke about among blue waterlilies.

Shining moments with Flycatcher

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Shining moments with Shining Flycatcher (Myiagra alecto) at two nest sides along tidal boundary at Mungalla Station this week.

Female doing most of building at one site...


...and feeding at the other.

Where's the male? He'll be along sometime, I hope.

Night drive proves owling success

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Night drive west of Ingham proved an owling success with Eastern Grass-Owl (Tyto longimembris) and Eastern Barn Owl (Tyto javanica) found along 100-metre stretch of country road beside a cane field.

Dark female Grass Owl stood without concern as I gradually moved very close and didn't move away even when all light was taken off her.

Different story with Barn Owl. Fled its post after just a few quick shots from the cab of the Troopy.

And this male Grass Owl didn't hang around long when flushed in Tyto Wetlands the other morning. Recent sightings suggest last year's breeding pair in Tyto are not together right now. But their swamp ricegrass habitat is still too flooded for creation of grass tunnels and breeding sites.  

Corellas bring buzz but don't fully fit the bill

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Finding four birds rarely seen anywhere near this patch gave me a buzz yesterday on main road west of Ingham. 


Problem. Birds don't truly fit either of only possible species: Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris; a South Australian) or Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea; mostly west of Great Dividing Range). But escapees have established themselves near some eastern cities, including Townsville (130km south of Ingham).


My birds may be hybrids: the bills aren't quite long enough, but Littles don't have red throats.


So, don't know where they came from, where they went, what they are, if I'll ever see them again. Isn't birding wonderful?!

Slow and kneesy gets close to wary Glossy

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How to sneak up on a wary Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)? 

Slow and kneesy does the trick. Camera and low tripod first through long grass and chomped hymenachne, knees in mud and bum near heels.

No fun, but beats crawling. Anyway, did the trick at Mungalla Station today.

And here's a walk-in shot from another day.

Sharpies look sharp after bit of biffo

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Bit of biffo between Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (Calidris acuminata) on small wetland pool at Mungalla Station, Ingham, today. Went on for a while but no more than a few feathers ruffled.


Most of the Sharpies just went about their business ...

... though its pays to keep an eye on the sky from time too time.

Notable lack of shorebirds in the area so bit surprising to come across Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea), one of four mixing with Sharpies on the edges of the old homestead lagoon (which is open now to saltwater inflows at king tide peaks, to study the effects of salinity on problem weeds).