Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

August 16, 2009

Limeburners Creek NR Bird Photography 090810

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Limeburners Creek Nature Reserve, Melaleuca Camp, 10th August 2009.

The Dunghutti and Biripi Aboriginal people have been living in this coastal environment and walking along the beaches and headlands for thousands of years. The Limeburners Creek area is their traditional land and has stong cultural significance to Aboriginal people. The Melaleuca Camping Area is at the beginning of the Nature Reserve at Big Hill.

I drove from Crescent Head past Racecourse Beach , which has a rather nice nature reserve(Goolawah Camping Reserve). The road is tarred in places and dirt in others. Figure that one out. Theres is a camping ground at Delicate Nobby, which is just outside the Limeburners Creek Nature Reserve. Melaleuca Camp is at Big Hill and is on the banks of the creek. I walked along the creek to the west. There were quite a lot of Superb Fairy-wrens just near my car as well as a Pied Currawong that came to visit me.

It is actually quite a nice spot to camp. You have the creek, the beach and the bush all in one. There were a few water birds on the creek such as Dusky Moorhen, cormorants, Australian Wood Duck and Pacific Black Duck.

Figbird
Figbird (Sphecotheres viridis)

There was lots and lots of lantana on the creek bank. It was so high in places I saw lantana flowers about 10-20 metres up in a tree. Very bad actually. Also, some cows had been in the nature reserve as well. I was not impressed to say the least. The highlight of the afternoon would have been the Brown Cuckoo-doves feeding on the Tobacco Bush again, as well as this bird flaring her tail feathers. I am not sure what this behaviour is about.

Brown Cuckoo-dove
Brown Cuckoo-dove (Macropygia amgoinensis)

Limeburners Creek bird list 10/8/09

Superb Fairy-wren
Pied Currawong
Dusky Moorhen
Australian Wood Duck
Pacific Black Duck
Little Pied Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant
Brown Thornbill
Australian Magpie
Brown Cuckoo-dove
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Grey Fantail
Eastern Spinebill
Figbird
Masked Lapwing
Willy Wagtail
Black Swan
Golden Whistler

August 15, 2009

Richardsons Crossing Bird Photography 090810

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Richardsons Crossing, Hat Head National Park, 10th August 2009.

After a gruelling 2 surfs at Crescent Heads I was ready to hit the sack. I fed my weary bones, dumped off the photos to the laptop, and then I was in sleep land. I really did not feel like getting up in the morning but nature made me. After grumpily consuming breakfast, I wandered around the area where some excellent bush regeneration work had been done. They have removed heaps of lantana.

The birds were pretty quiet this morning. You could hear the usual Little Wattlebirds and White-cheeked Honeyeaters. Where I walked was just on the border line between 2 habitats – paperbark swamp and coastal banksia heathlands. I got some good photographs of a male Superb Fairy-wren who sat up nicely for me.

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

I thought I spotted what looked like an Olive-backed Oriole, but I am not sure about that. Edit: It was an Olive-backed Oriole, thanks Dennis.

Brown Cuckoo-dove
Brown Cuckoo-dove (Macropygia amboinensis)

I was nearly back to the camp and I spotted a Brown Cuckoo-dove feeding on the fruit of a Tobacco Bush. He stayed there for a while allowing me to take quite a few photos of him. Let’s hope some of them turn out all right. And there they are. You be the judge. 🙂

Brown Cuckoo-dove
Brown Cuckoo-dove

Richarsons Crossing bird list, 10/8/09.

Little Wattlebird
White-cheeked Honeyeater
White-browed Scrubwren
Grey Fantail
Superb Fairy-wren
Olive-backed Oriole
Brown Cuckoo-dove
Rainbow Lorikeet

August 14, 2009

Ryans Cut Bird Photography 090809

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Ryan’s Cut, Hat Head National Park, 9th August 2009.

Ryan’s Cut is a lagoon/creek that almost empties out to the ocean. It was developed in 1973 as a clearance for the flood waters of the Macleay River Valley. There are no facilities, just a great scenery. After I woke up, I wandered around the edge of the creeks and the paperbark swamp. There were a few White-cheeked Honeyeaters and then I photographed a Shining Bronze-cuckoo.

Shining Bronze-cuckoo
Shining Bronze-cuckoo (Chrysococcyx lucidus)

Thre weren’t many water birds on the lagoon, just a couple of Chestnut Teals. I saw a few Brown Honeyeaters and heard an Eastern Whipbird but could not photograph or see one, despite some very quiet stalking. Whipbirds are starting to be my bugbear, my nemesis. But I am determined to get a good photograph of one. ha ha. A Spangled Drongo made an appearance but flew off before I could get into a decent position to photograph him.

There was a mob of Superb Fairy-wrens and your usual Little Wattlebirds feeding on the Banksia trees and making a general nuisance of themselves.

Ryans Cut Bird List 9/8/09

Willy Wagtail
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Shining Bronze-cuckoo
Brown Honeyeater
Chestnut Teal
Superb Fairy-wren
Grey Fantail
Spangled Drongo
White-faced Heron
Welcome Swallow
Lewin’s Honeyeater

Crescent Head

That afternoon I made it to Crescent Head and had a great surf out at the point. After a snooze I heard all this sqwarking and went outside and saw people pointing to an Osprey in a tall pine tree in the Camping area. And in the middle of the Caravan Park was a massive Osprey nest high up in the tallest pine tree. Mum was sitting in another tree getting away from her screaming kids.

Osprey
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

On another tree was a Nankeen Kestrel being harassed by some Magpie-larks. Australian Pipits were scrabbling on the ground in front on the grass, and when I went out to take some photos of the surfing, a Crested Tern and a Reef Egret were picking around the rocks on the shore

Australian Pipit
Australian Pipit (Anthus australis)

Crescent Head bird list 9/8/09 pm

Osprey
Nankeen Kestrel
Australian Pipit
Crested Tern
Reef Egret

Sea Acres NR Bird Photography 090808

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Sea Acres Nature Reserve, Port Macquarie, 8th August, 2009.

The Sea Acres Nature Reserve is at Shelly Beach, about 5 kilometers south of Port Macquarie shopping centre. There is 1.3 kilometres of elevated rainforest boardwalk which takes you around the unique subtropical rainforest. I managed to get lucky and scored a guided walk around the rainforest centre with Brian, who was from the Hastings Birdwatchers. It was very quiet but I did manage to get some photos of an Eastern Shrike-tit, although they were a bit dark. I saw an Eastern Whipbird rustling around on the forest floor, and a couple of Eastern Yellow Robins, and some Brown Thornbills.

We also saw a Brush Turkey mound and it was monstrous. It seems that they incubate the eggs inside the mound and the male regulates the temperature by removing and adding layers to the mound. Temperature regulation is the only help that Brush Turkeys give to their offspring.

Later on, when I was out in the surf at Town Beach, I saw a pair of Reef Egrets fly past. Brian had told me earlier that a pair had been sighted at Shelly Beach. How many times have I seen birds when I have not had my camera?

Here is a Video of the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre from FocusTV.com.au.



If video is jumpy, press pause and wait for it to load.

Sea Acres NR bird list, 8/8/09

Eastern Shrike-tit
Eastern Whipbird
Brush Turkey
Eastern Yellow Robin
Brown Thornbill

Belmore River

Later that day, I drove to Kempsey and took the road to South-west Rocks and turned right at Old Station Road, looking for the Belmore Swamps. I asked some farmers along the way, but they had never heard of it. At Gladstone, I turned right again and followed the Belmore River towards Crescent Head. Eventually I got on to Loftus Road, which follows the Hat Head National Park.

Belmore River bird list 8/8/09

Cattle Egret
Grey Teal
Great Egret
Chestnut Teal
White-breasted Pigeon
Magpie-lark

August 13, 2009

Kattang NR Bird Photography 090807

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Kattang Nature Reserve – Dunbogan, 7th August 2009.

Point Perpendicular Walk.

After stopping at Harrington, I headed straight to Kattang Nature Reserve, near Laurieton. I went over the river past Dunbogan to Camden Head where I stopped and followed the trail that goes to Point Perpendicular. It juts out pretty far into the sea. I think the walk one way is about 1.5 kilometres.

I started by seeing some White-browed Scrubwrens scrabbling around on the forest floor and then a few Little Wattlebirds and some Lewin’s Honeyeaters. Then I noticed a female Regent Bowerbird near a bit of a swamp where there were a few paperbark trees.

female Regent Bowerbird
female Regent Bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus)

Just beyond that, I came upon a Red-browed Finch, less than half a metre away from me, feeding on some Casuarina seeds on the ground. I could have leant out and touched him, he was so close. An adult White-bellied Sea-eagle flew past and later I saw him roosting on a dead tree high up.

Up the point, were some Red Wattlebirds, Rainbow Lorikeets, Superb Fairy-wrens and Grey Butcherbirds.

Grey Butcherbird
Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus)

I got quite close to some White-cheeked Honeyeaters who were calling pretty loudly. On the street at the car park, some Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike and a Spangled Drongo were darting out from their perches on the telegraph wires. They may have been hawking for insects.

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae)

In the afternoon I went for a swim at Pilot Beach and 2 White-bellied Sea-eagles came soaring by. They were quite spectacular. They were working their way down the beach in the stiff nor-easter, then zoom down aerobatically with each other downwind. And then a pair of Osprey came along the beach so I had 4 raptors right above me and me without my camera. It always happens that way, doh!

Flower Bowl Circuit

After my swim I went and walked the Flower Bowl Circuit. I did not see much except for some Little Wattlebirds and some Red-browed Finch. I walked up to the Camden Head lookout and saw some gannets and terns and a few pods of dolphins. I came back to the Point Perpendicular track and went up to the little stream hoping to see something having a drink, but no luck. 🙁

Kattang NR Bird List 7/8/09

Regent Bowerbird, female
Eastern Spinebill
White-browed Scrubwren
Red-browed Finch
Little Wattlebird
Red Wattlebird
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Australasian Figbird, male
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Crested Tern
Grey Butcherbird
Rainbow Lorikeet
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Superb Fairy-wren
Eastern Whipbird
Eastern Yellow Robin
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Spangled Drongo
Osprey
Australasian Gannet

Harrington Bird Photography 090807

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Harrington Bird Photography, 7th August 2009. am.

I camped just north of Harrington in the littoral rainforest. There has been some bush regeneration work done, and it is looking really good. The Harrington-Crowdy Head Littoral Rainforest Restoration Project’s was set up to control environmental weeds and promote the regeneration of native plants. I walked along what looked to be an old road, so there was a bit of light getting in.

Earlier in the morning as I was waking up, there were the usual odd assortment of Noisy Friarbirds, Little Wattlebirds, and Lorikeets – standard coastal heath species. As I went further in to the bush I spied a few birds such as Eastern Yellow Robin, White-cheeked Honeyeaters, and some Lewin’s Honeyeaters.

Around the estuary there were the usual suspects such as pelicans, egrets, cormorants, and gulls. Near the boat ramp were an assortment of magpies, ravens and Spotted Turtle-doves. I think Harrington would be best when the migratory waders come back from Siberia and the place to go would be the lagoon.

Harrington Bird List, 7/8/09

Laughing Kookaburra
Noisy Friarbird
Little Wattlebird
Eastern Yellow Robin
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Australian Pelican
Great Egret
Australian Magpie
Masked Lapwing
Little Black Cormorant
Silver Gull
Australian Raven
Spotted Turtle-dove

Saltwater NP Bird PHotography 090806

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Saltwater National Park Bird Photography, 6th August, 2009.

Magpie-lark
Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca)

From Bulahdelah I drove straight on to Saltwater National Park, close to Old Bar, near Taree. I got going about 2 o’clock in the afternoon when a family of Pied Butcherbirds came stomping into my camp, singing and carrying on. The little fella came really close to me, less than a metre away. At one stage he was perched on the car door while I was sitting in the drivers seat. He was singing to me and I was responding with the same song.

Pied Butcherbird
Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis)

A pair of Eastern Yellow Robins also came close to my camp looking for insects, I assumed. Laughing Kookaburras also came quite close to people. I guess that some of the birds have gotten used to being fed by people having picnics and come real close looking for a feed. I never feed wild birds, I don’t think it helps them, and could even be the wrong type of food for them anyway. That is my personal choice, but.

Australian Raven
Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) flying over the beach with some booty.

I went for a walk around the picnic area and all of the sudden the Pied Butcherbirds, who were following me pretty closely took off into the undergrowth. Then a Square-tailed Kite came wheeling by, and hovered right above me. Then the Pied Butcherbirds started attacking the Square-tailed Kite and made him go away.

Little Eagle
Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura)

I went up to the point and saw a White-bellied Sea-eagle hovering above the water, held up by the strong Norh-east wind. He flew past me and I could see that he had a bream in his claw. I think he was looking for another one, and held the bream clasped in one claw. He was a bit greedy, I thought.

White-bellied Sea-eagle
White-bellied Sea-eagle(Haliaeetus leucogaster)

In the bushes next to the lagoon, I spotted a male Regent Bowerbird and followed him, trying to get a decent photograph of him. I did manage to get a portrait of this obliging model.

Laughing Kookaburra
Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

Saltwater Bird List 6/8/09

Magpie Lark
Pied Butcherbird
Square-tailed Kite
Golden Whistler
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Spangled Drongo
Eastern Yellow Robin
Little Wattlebird
Grey Fantail
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Brush Turkey
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Regent Bowerbird
Laughing Kookaburra
Sooty Oystercatcher
Australasian Gannet
Australian Magpie
White-faced Heron
Australian Raven

Bulahdelah Bird Photography 090806

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Bulahdelah Bird Photography, 6th August, 2009.

This was the start of my second Bird Photography trip to the north coast of new south wales. I was late getting out onto the Pacific Highway, so I did not get to Bulahdelah until about ten o’clock in the morning. I parked next to the pub and went and got a cup of coffee. I saw what I thought were a pair of Radjah Shelducks across the Myall River so I got out the camera and took some photos of them. But I am not sure what they were yet. They looked like they might have been some type of weird hybrid geese.

There were a few swallow gathering nest material under the bridge. I walked further along down the river bank and there were quite a few thornbills in the casuarina trees overlooking the river. They are really frustrating to photograph because they make heaps of racket but move arouns quite quickly and are always hiding behind the leaves and branches. There were also a lot of Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike and a few other assorted water birds such as Australian White Ibis and some Royal Spoonbills.

Bulahdelah Bird List, 6/8/09

Yellow Thornbill
Brown Thornbill
Welcome Swallow
Australian White Ibis
Pcific Black Duck
Royal Spoonbill

August 4, 2009

Stockton Bird Photography 090804

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Stockton Bird Photography, 4th August, 2009.

This morning I went to Stockton for an outing with the Hunter Bird Observers Club. Thank you very much to Keith and Margaret for organising the outing. We started off under the bridge at Stockton Sandspit, and then walked towards the river, then west towards the sandspit. Along the southern end of the sandspit we saw some Brown Honeyeaters, Superb Fairy-wrens and Little Wattlebirds. Walking along the edge of the water towards the northern end of the sandspit, there was a large flock of Red-necked Avocet, possibly up to a thousand birds in all. A single Gull-billed Tern with a crab in its bill landed right in the middle of the flock. I think he wanted to hide from his mates so that he could eat the crab in peace without being harassed by other terns.

Brown Honeyeater
Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta)

In the lagoon at the sandspit were 3 Australian White Ibis and a single Great Egret. We walked further along north and had a look at the oyster racks at Fern Bay. There were a bunch of Little Black Cormorants sitting on the poles and a couple of Little Pied Cormorants and Darters.

Bar-shouldered Dove
Bar-shouldered Dove (Geopelia humeralis)

After that, we took off and headed to the Stockton Cemetry and went for a long walk to the north along the coastal heathlands near the beach. We saw a few honeyeaters such as White-cheeked Honeyeaters, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and Lewin’s Honeyeaters. You could hear lots of birds but it was hard to see them as they were deep in the dense heath scrub. We did see some Golden Whistlers, a Grey Shrike-thrush, and a few Eastern Spinebill. Eastern Whipbirds were resounding all over the place with their very distinctive call. We climbed a sand dune to have a look at the ocean and you could see over the tops of the heathlands from the top of the dunes. On the way back we saw a colony of Variegated Fairy-wrens and quite a few Silvereye, race “westernensis”.

Stockton Bird List, 4/8/09

Brown Honeyeater
Superb Fairy-wren
Little Wattlebird
Little Black Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant
Australian White Ibis
Great Egret
Red-necked Avocet
Gull-billed Tern
White-faced Heron
Chestnut Teal
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Bar-shouldered Dove
Golden Whistler
Grey Shrike-thrush
Spangled Drongo
Australian magpie
Eastern Spinebill
Welcome Swallow
Variegated Fairy-wren
Silvereye, race “westernensis”

August 2, 2009

NHVP meet – Galgabba 090802

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Hunter Valley Flickr Group Photography trip to Galgabba Point, 2nd August, 2009.

This morning I went to a meet with the people from the Newcastle and Hunter Valley Flickr Group – NHVP (Newcastle & Hunter Valley Photographers). We met at 10am at Galgabba Point Car Park in Swansea, just on the shores of Lake Macquarie. We had a few guides from the local landcare group that has been regenerating the area. Thank you very much to Sharon, Don and Mark. We were also shown some great examples of the local bush food, which was a real eye-opener for me. I can’t remember it all but I do know we were shown the cycad nuts which are poisonous unless washed in a creek for a certain length of time.

Laughing Kookaburra
Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

We saw an Australian Magpie and a White-cheeked Honeyater up in the trees. We wandered past the Bell Miner colony and learnt that there was a lace monitor that made its nest in a tree somewhere. There was heaps of mistletoe on the trees and we heard a few Mistletoebirds and saw one of them. When we got to the lake at the end of the point we saw a few Australian Pelicans and later a Great Egret. There were four Laughing Kookaburra sitting on a tree posing for us, so everyone got in on the act and obliged our posing models.

Laughing Kookaburra

We also saw quite a few wild mushrooms which was good for macro shots and there was even some fungus on the fungus which looked quite bizarre. We finally made our way back to the car park and some of the group went off to Catherine Hill Bay for a counter lunch and some more photography. The land care group out there are doing an extraordinary job and should be congratulated for the sterling work they are doing out there. They have cleared heaps of lantana since the last time I was there and its looking spendiferous.

Galgabba Point Bird List, 2/8/09

Australian Magpie
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Bell Miner
Mistletoebird
Australian Pelican
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Laughing Kookaburra
Great Egret

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