What's a nice Eastern Water Dragon like you doing in a place like this?
You don't come here often, do you? In fact, seldom or never. This is Frilled Lizard and Yellow-spotted Monitor territory, here in the Townsville Town Common Conservation Park. It's not that you're unwelcome. Just that when the place dries out you risk becoming a dehydrated dragon.
And you're too relaxed. Almost unworried at being touched. Maybe someone got tired of having a pet dragon? On the other hand, perhaps you're just a very sociable pioneer. Whatever, loved spending time with you.
Got up early and got down to waiting for some sunshine to get Australian Reed-Warblers up and going in their stretch of Common Reed (aka Bamboo Grass and got more names). Got good shot of bird near top of reed stem.
And got lucky with bird that had just got lucky.
Also got up close to one of several Crimson Finches getting active in small Pandanus.
Got these shots of Crimsons the other day.
Got Leaden Flycatcher hopping on Pandanus branch.
And got female Olive-backed Sunbird getting into nicely colour-matched nectar-flower.
Got to get Double-barred Finch on to today's list.
Now, got to get to the GOT:
Onya, Arya! Starkest of the Starks. Cracking opening to season 7
Looks a bit lost in full frame image from Pandanus viewing point in the Town Common but maturing Brolga more trusting than the few others to be seen roaming in the distance.
Walked up on bird yesterday morning and ended openly close to it and chatting about this and that.
Of special interest, much younger bird lately seen with parents more than twice its size. Can't remember ever seeing Brolga near Ingham with any but flying juveniles. Got no help with this question.
Also in the area, returning pair of Bush Stone-curlews. Problem: heavy traffic at their preferred site, hard beside road. Compare distrusting look above ...
... with relaxed pose of one of 24 sunning recently in the city's Anderson Park.
Also on ground for a few days, scruffy parasite-afflicted Magpie Lark. Mud-grubbing species appears subject to both more unwanted passengers and facial diseases.
Not such a risk for Horsfields Bronze-cuckoo, which will feed on and near ground but spends much time calling from atop highest tree in the area. Bird above teased for a week before coming within shot.
Similar story with Sacred Kingfisher, another more often seen flashing off into the distance.
Black-throated Finches no-shows today along the natural beauty of Sachs Creek in Oak Valley southwest of Townsville but showed up fully at home amid rampant weeds and many seeding grasses between nearby old and new highways.
Here's the irony: disappearance of some finch species inland has been put down to, among other things, war won against Rubber Vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) and Chinee Apple (Ziziphus mauritiana). What's running riot near Townsville, specially through the Ross River Dam catchment? Yep, the terrible twosome. But they offer small birds great protection.
Back in Oak Valley, Blue-winged Kookaburra pauses between minor scuffles with others of same species.
Pale-headed Rosella too gentle to scuffle. One of seven seen this morning.
And Brown Falcon stretches wings before drifting off over the tree tops to a more secure vantage spot.
Ooo, look, poor old Carpet Python caught in double link fence keeping unwanteds out of airfield alongside Townsville Town Common Conservation Park.
Better help before a predator comes along, perhaps one of the four-wheeling variety: 'The only good snake is a dead snake!'
Ooo, but look, scene's not what it seems. Snake not stuck. Doesn't want any help. Wants closer taste of something in front of it.
Sneaky snake. Trying to bite hand, or worse, of helper.
Ooo, look, set to strike. Time to put Ipod down and speak sternly to snarky ingrate. Wasted words, of course. Bad-tempered, Carpets. Put camera between us. Better snake spittle on lens than teeth in Tony. Taken more than seven months to find big snake in the common. Worth the wait!
Quick trip to Oak Valley - just southwest of Townsville - yesterday to look for endangered Black-throated Finch refreshed memories. Fourteen years after spotting pair in tree near creek on boundary of the nature reserve found another two birds.
Flash of colour in tree on creek bank about 40 metres away, brief hop and stop. Grab quick burst of shots, lose focus, regain focus, lose birds. Gone, just as they did 14 years ago. Hang around. Nothing. Just like 14 years ago. More trees - and many more newly planted. But no good news for native grasses and, therefore, the finches. Huge contraction in their original (pre-European) range has left a few shrinking pockets of the species struggling against inexorable habitat changes. I've been lucky again - no such luck for the Black-throated Finch.