Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

June 8, 2009

Canberra Bird Photography 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:14 am

Cooleman ridge, Canberra, 7th June, 2009, pm

This afternoon I went to the Cooleman ridge which is near the suburb of Rivett in Canberra. I got there by going to the end of Hindmarsh Drive, turning left onto Darwinia Terrace and then the first left into Kathner Street. There are brochures at the start of the walk and the sections are indicated by numbers. It is quite a pleasant walk even if you are not going birding or taking some photographs. There are a few spots where you can look out on the mountain ranges surrounding Canberra.

Scarlet Robin
Scarlet Robin(Petroica boodang)

The weather was cloudy and overcast and the light was atrocious. I had the ISO on 1600 for most of the time I was there and at the end of the walk, it was getting so dark, i could not even get a picture. The first birds are what I assumed to be Superb Fairy-wren, but I could not get a positive Identification because i could not get a good look at a dominant male. Next up I saw a Scarlet Robin up a hill so I followed them up and spotted a bunch of Yellow-tailed Thornbills as well who were feeding under some small trees on the ground.

Scarlet Robin

On the way back I spotted a juvenile Currawong and a King Parrot, as well as a few flocks of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos as well as a Crested Pigeon. By that time, the light had diminished to impossible to take a decent photo, so I gave it a miss.

Scarlet Robin

The habitat of the Scarlet Robin(Petroica boodang) when breeding is closed and tall open forests. There is some autumn and winter altitudinal dispersal to more open localities such as the grasslands of Cooleman Ridge in this example.

The Scarlet Robin feeds on mainly insects and feeds around the ground. They sit on a tree branch and fly down to catch prey. It is in the passerine bird genus Petroica. They are territorial and monogamous. In NSW they have been proposed as a Vulnerable Species because of a moderate reduction in population due to habitat degradation and overgrazing. Clearing of native vegetation, removal of dead wood and dead trees are recognised as Key Threatening Processes. An over-abundant populations of Pied Currawongs, as well as other native and/or feral predators appear to be severe threats to the scarlet robin’s breeding productivity.

sources: birdsinbackyards.net, environment.nsw.gov.au

Cooleman Ridge Bird Species List, 7/6/09

Superb Fairy-wren
Scarlet Robin(Petroica boodang)
Yellow-tailed Thornbill
Currawong
King Parrot
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Crested Pigeon

Canberra Bird Photography 1

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:11 am

5th June, 2009, Midday. Mooney Mooney.

I stopped at Mooney Mooney rest area by the side of the Hawkesbury River on the way to Canberra. I needed to rest the engine so I had half an hour to wait. There were not many birds around – just a couple of silver gulls on the river bank. I walked around the edge of the river along the mangroves, then saw what looked like a Banded Lapwing. So I went back to get the camera and took some photos of what turned out to be a pair of Masked Lapwings. The spurs on one of the birds was very prominent, so that was an interesting thing.

Masked Lapwing
Masked Lapwing(Vanellus miles)

There wasn’t much else around, just some cockatoos over on the far side of the river flying around. So I walked back to the car park, taking a photo of this oyster boat riding past. I filled up with water, checked the oil and set off over the bridge towards Sydney and Canberra.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands, Canberra. 7th June, 2009. am

This morning I went to the Jerrabomberra Wetlands, which is near Fyshwick. You can get to it by going off the Monaro Highway at Newcastle Street, and then going down Dairy Road. We parked at the car park right at the end and then went to the left to the Bittern Hide. There were a few Purple Swamphens and Eurasian Coots with a couple of swans.

Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Yellow-rumped Thornbill(Acanthiza chrysorrhoa).

There were a lot of rabbits bouncing around and there were lots of rabbit holes in the ground. There were almost as many Superb Fairy-wren as rabbits – they were everywhere.

New Holland Honeyeater
New Holland Honeyeater(Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)

I walked back to the car park and spotted a few Yellow-rumped Thornbills cavorting around in the thistles in the next door paddock. You could spot their yellow rumps quite clearly when they were fluttering around from one thistle bush to another. After that I went right and crossed a creek and saw an Australasian Grebe and in the bush there were Superb Fairy-wrens, Red-browed Finches, Red Wattlebirds, and New Holland Honeyeaters.

Red Wattlebird
Red Wattlebird(Anthochaera carnunculata)

The weather was not the best but at least we saw the sun in patches from time to time.

Jerrabomberra Bird Species List, 7/6/09

New Holland Honeyeater
Superb Fairy-wren
Black Swan
Purple Swamphen
Eurasian Coot
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Australasian Grebe
Red-browed Finch
Red Wattlebird
Currawong
Australian Raven

June 4, 2009

Stockton Bird Photography 090603

Bird Photography at the Stockton Channel, 3rd June, 2009.

This afternoon I dropped in along the Stockton Channel as I had something to do over at Stockton. I stopped at the usual places – the boat ramp, the point, and at the wreck, I spotted this juvenile Striated Heron that was sitting on the wreck. He was right in the line of the sun, so I tried to move around a bit so that the sun was not blowing everything out from behind and he flew off north towards the mangroves. Juveniles seem to be spotty or streaked and later on the adults lose these striations. The Striated Heron belongs to the Group: Ciconiiformes and Family: Ardeidae.

Striated Heron
juvenile Striated Heron(Butorides striatus)

After that, I headed towards the bridge and checked in the bay, just to the east of the bridge. There seemed to be a lot of fish chopping about in the bay, with pelicans and terns fishing. I often see the raptors flying in this area, so I am thinking that this bay is a great place for watching birds catching fish. Here is a Caspian Tern with a big fish in his mouth. I am not sure how he is going to get this down. Thanks to Tobias for the correction to my original identification, which was a Crested Tern.

Caspian Tern
Caspian Tern(Sterna caspia)

I parked under the bridge at the Stockton Sandspit, and as soon as I got out, the tribe of Superb Fairy-wrens were hopping about in the gardens in the car park. So I snapped a female(see edit below). Notice that there is some blue and white tips in the tail of this female. Superb Fairy-wren belong to the Group: Passeriformes and Family: Maluridae.

Edit: This photo may be of a male Superb Fairy-wren who is in the first year, after the first moult. Thanks to David Stowe for the correction.

Superb Fairy-wren
Superb Fairy-wren(Malurus cyaneus)

And here is the male showing off with breeding plumage.

Superb Fairy-wren
male Superb Fairy-wren(Malurus cyaneus)

Bird Species List, Stockton Channel, 3/6/09

Superb Fairy-wren
Black-winged Stilt
Bar-tailed Godwit
Caspian Tern
Crested Tern
Eastern Curlew
Red-necked Avocet
Brahminy Kite
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Striated Heron

June 2, 2009

White-bellied Sea-eagle 090602

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 5:20 am

White-Bellied Sea-eagle(Haliaeetus leucogaster)

This morning I went to the Stockton Channel looking for the Osprey and the Brahminy Kite, but I saw neither. There were four Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike right next to the fertiliser factory over at Kooragang Island but not much else. I walked around the Stockton Sandspit and seen some Superb Fairy-wrens and a few water birds. I then walked to the headland that sticks out into the Stockton Channel on the other side of the bridge. That was when I saw the White-bellied Sea-eagle sitting on this pole out in the middle of the channel.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

After a while he flew off and then came back and flew past me to the north.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

After a little while, another sea-eagle flew over towards the pole and landed on it.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

And here he is settling down to have a rest – or a roost as they say in Scotland. ha ha.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

The White-bellied Sea-eagle is the second largest raptor in Australia behind the Wedge-tailed Eagle. They can be similar in body weight to the Wedgy, but their wingspan is generally not as wide. Juvenile Sea eagles have a brownish plumage, growing a snowy white head and belly when they mature in their 3rd or 4th year. They are commonly found in coastal areas of Australia and can be found in inland waters. They have been sighted in the Macquarie Marshes, which are in the far west of New South Wales, near Warren. White-bellied Sea-eagles can be also found in India and China, and south Asia. Birds mate for life and have a stable territory. They build their nests in tall trees or on remote coastal cliffs.

The White-bellied Sea-eagle is of the Order: Falconiformes and Family: Accipitridae. They belong to the same genus(Haliaeetus) as the American Bald Eagle.

Bird Species List, Stockton Channel, 2/6/09

Australian Pelican
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Superb Fairy-wren
Masked Lapwing
Bar-tailed Godwit
Black-winged Stilt
Australian White Ibis
Sacred Kingfisher
White-bellied Sea-eagle

Sources: amonline.net.au, dse.vic.gov.au, raptor.org.au

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