Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

November 13, 2018

Platypus in the Creek

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Cabbage Tree Creek Walk

As soon as I hit the border of Victoria, it started raining and it has been raining ever since. I saw a sign on the highway that said Cabbage Tree Walk – 5 kilometers, so I screeched to a halt and went in through this rough bush track to the Cabbage Tree Creek Flora Reserve, which is the southern-most stand of Cabbage Palms. It was drizzling rain a little bit and the mosquitoes were very hungry and numerous. But I persisted and went for a walk on the track and up the road a bit to a bridge where I saw a Platypus.

Platypus
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

The Platypus is a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal endemic to Eastern Australia. It is called a monotreme, mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.

Cabbage Tree Creek
Cabbage Tree Creek

There were a few birds around but nothing that came out any good. All in all I think it would be better on a sunny day. And it is a beautiful spot.

The track
The track

Birds and Mammals of Cabbage Tree Creek

White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea)
White-browed Scrubwren (Sericornis frontalis )
Grey Fantail
Common Bronzewing (Phaps Chalcoptera)

Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

Far South Coast NSW

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Lake Pambula and Lake Carulo

Coming from Narooma, I stopped off at a boat ramp at Lake Pambula for the night. The wind was howling from the ocean, and the only thing I saw was a male Golden Whistler.

Golden Whistler  - male
Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) – male

In the morning I took off really early and found a nature walk on the edge of Eden. Luckily there was a board-walk along the edge of Lake Curalo, just past the Nev Cowgill Reserve. There were a few water birds in the lake and quite a few bush birds in the melaleuca trees on the edge of the water. All in all it was a good score with lots of good birds. Nothing new but some nice photos of old friends.

Bell Miner
Bell Miner (Manorina melanophrys)

I could hear the Bell Miners chiming as I made my way along the creek. This one is an adult with the orange-red bare skin behind the eye.

Eastern Whipbird
Eastern Whipbird (Psophodes olivaceous)

Wow, so lucky to get a shot of this Eastern Whipbird. They are so elusive.

Little Wattlebird
Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera)

There are no wattles on the Little Wattlebird.

New Holland Honeyeater
New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)

The white eye distinguishes the New Holland Honeyeater.

Welcome Swallow - baby
Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena)

This baby Welcome Swallow was just sitting on the rail waiting to be fed by his parents. The parents would fly in, deposit some food in his mouth and then just fly off.

Little Pied Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos)

A Little Pied Cormorant drying his wings.

Far South Coast bird list

Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis)
Bell Miner (Manorina melanophrys)
New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)
Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera)
Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Royal Spoonbill
White-faced Heron
Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos)
Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)
Masked Lapwing
Grey Teal
Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)
Australian White Ibis
Australian Pelican
Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus)
Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)
Black Swan
Crimson Rosella
Rainbow Lorikeet
Great Egret
Pied Oystercatcher
Grey Fantail
Willie Wagtail
Eastern Whipbird (Psophodes olivaceous)
Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena)

November 12, 2018

New South Wales

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Tourist photos from Australia

I cannot remember where I left you with the last lot of tourist photos. I think I had just arrived in Melbourne and thence to Newcastle. Let us carry on dear reader. I think I left you at the airport in Newcastle. I spent a few days and bought a car for travelling. It was a Toyota people-mover. My brother Lawrie helped me pull all the seats out and put a bed in the back. There is plenty of head room and it is much better than a station wagon.

Pimp my ride
Pimp my ride

The first journey was out west through the Hunter Valley, stopping at Burning Mountain and Wallabadah, my old favourite camp sites.

Wallabadah Cemetry
Wallabadah Cemetry

Then through Nundle and the back way to Tamworth and still heading west.

Sunset at Attunga
Sunset at Attunga

I stopped opposite the pub at Attunga and photographed a Black Honeyeater.

West to Manilla, then a few days at Borah Creek , before the rain came I snuck out to Gunnedah and Coonabarabran.

The Warrumbungles
The Warrumbungles.

A nice hot show at the Warrumbungles National Park, then on to Coonamble a very nice little town.

The river at Coonamble
The river at Coonamble

No jumping off the bridge or fishing!

water over Gibson's Way
water over Gibson’s Way.

There was heaps of water in the Macquarie Marshes and thousands of water birds. On to Warren and the wetlands

Namoi River near Boggabri
Namoi River near Boggabri

The Namoi River was flowing at Boggabri but not at Narrabri. Where did the water go? Back to Borah Creek again.

black furry  kangaroo
black furry kangaroo

I was amazed how black and furry these kangaroos were. Then back to Newcastle. And down south to the Bendeela Recreation Area – Kangaroo River.

Wombat and camp
Wombat and camp

Nowra and the Shoalhaven. And south to Narooma.

Bodalla State Forest - Lake Mummuga
Bodalla State Forest – Lake Mummuga

Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) The Spotted Gum is an attractive treen with smooth mottled bark with is shed in small irregular shapes.

Narooma – South Coast

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Bodalla State Forest

Last night I camped at the Bodalla State Forest, a great rest area in the bush. In the late afternoon I went for a a trek along the Lake Mummuga Walk. It is quite a nice walk in typical south coast country. There are heaps of Spotted Gums.

Golden Whistler - male
Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis)

This is a male Golden Whistler. I could only tell the females from Grey Shrikethrush because he was hanging around.

Brown Thornbill
Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla)

This Brown Thornbill has got a very colourful looking caterpillar.

Great Egret
Great Egret (Ardea alba)

Some moody atmospheric shots of the egrets on the lake hunting for food.

Little Egret
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

I think this Little Egret is a breeding adult because of the plume out of the head.

Narooma bird list

Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Black Swan
Australian Pelican
White-faced Heron
Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis)
Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla)
Grey Fantail
Eastern Yellow Robin
White-browed Scrubwren
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Noisy Friarbird
Australian Magpie

Nowra Birds 181110

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Nowra Creek and Bomaderry Creek

After coming down the hill from Kangaroo Valley, I went to the Nowra Creek in the afternoon. You can get to Ben’s Walk from the showground. It is all sandstone country and the track down is pretty steep to get to the track along the creek.

Rockwarbler
Rockwarbler (Origma solitaria)

The next morning I trotted along to the Bomaderry Creek Regional Park, which has a number of great tracks along the creek in burnt out sandstone country. This is a bad photo of a Rockwarbler but at least it is a tick, I think.

Yellow-faced Honeyeatar
Yellow-faced Honeyeatar (Caligavis chrysops)

Olive-backed Oriole  - juvenile
Olive-backed Oriole (Oriolus sagitatus) – juvenile

There were quite a few Olive-backed Orioles around but I did not see any adults. I do not know why.

Noisy Friarbird
Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus)

The Noisy Friarbirds eat bugs as well as nectar, it seems.

Yellow Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana)

White-throated Treecreeper  - female
White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea) – female

This is a female White-throated Treecreeper with the red patch under the chin.

Red Wattlebird
Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata)

A classic photo of a Red Wattlebird feeding on some red wattle, and displaying his red wattle quite nicely.

Satin Bowerbird
Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus)

This Satin Bowerbird is either female or a juvenile. I cannot tell which.

Common Bronzewing
Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)

Nowra bird list

Rockwarbler (origma solitaria)
Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata)
Grey Fantail
Yellow-faced Honeyeatar (Caligavis chrysops)
Superb Fairy-wren
Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus)
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Crimson Rosella
Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)
Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus)
Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)
Olive-backed Oriole (Oriolus sagitatus) juvenile
Australian Raven
Dollarbird
White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea) female
White-browed Scrubwren (Sericornis frontalis)
Australian King-parrot
Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana)
Laughing Kookaburra
Magpie-lark

November 9, 2018

Wombats and Echidnas

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 11:45 pm

Bendeela Camping Area

This is my first day on the road to Melbourne and Tasmania. I took off after 10am and drove to Sydney, hopped onto the M7 Motorway and bypassed most of Sydney. It is so boring. It is just roads and roads and roads. Finally I turned off to Mittagong, then Bowral and went down the mountain to Kangaroo Valley, then followed the Kangaroo Valley to Bendeela Recreation Area. There were hordes of campers here. I was not impressed at first but after I went for a walk and seen what was around I was a bit happier. Except when I went down to the river, I nearly stepped on a Red-bellied Black Snake. I do not know who was more terrified, me or him.

common wombat
common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

“The common wombat (Vombatus ursinus), also known as the coarse-haired wombat or bare-nosed wombat, is a marsupial, one of three extant species of wombats and the only one in the genus Vombatus. The common wombat grows to an average of 98 cm (39 in) long and a weight of 26 kg (57 lb).” (wiki)

Common Wombat
Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

And here is a wombat with a young one. Not sure at all how old the baby is.

Short-beaked Echidna
Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

I was walking along the fence and just glanced over towards the dry creek when I spied an echidna rooting around in the side of a bank. I snapped away furiously. Previously I only had photos of their backs in long grass so I was happy to get some decent shots.

Short-beaked Echidna
Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

“The short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) is one of four living species of echidna and the only member of the genus Tachyglossus. It is covered in fur and spines and has a distinctive snout and a specialized tongue, which it uses to catch its insect prey at a great speed. Like the other extant monotremes, the short-beaked echidna lays eggs; the monotremes are the only group of mammals to do so.” (wiki)

Little Corella
Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea)

“The little corella (Cacatua sanguinea), also known as the bare-eyed cockatoo, blood-stained cockatoo, short-billed corella, little cockatoo and blue-eyed cockatoo, is a white cockatoo native to Australia and southern New Guinea.” (wiki)

Kangaroo Valley birds and animals

Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus)
Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)
Red-bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus)

Little Corella
White-faced Heron
Satin Bowerbird
Dollarbird
Laughing Kookaburra
Pacific Black Duck
Australian Wood Duck
Masked Lapwing
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Noisy Friarbird
Common Myna

November 8, 2018

Stockton Sandspit 181108

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Stockton Sandspit

Today I went to Stockton Sandspit, which is just under the Stockton bridge in Newcastle. It has been years since I have been here. I waited for the tide to go out a bit, so I went there about two in the afternoon. You need to have the mud-flats exposed a bit. It was a bit early in the year to go looking for waders but I was hoping there would be at least some refugees from Siberia. And there were a heap of Bar-tailed Godwits.

Red-necked Avocet
Red-necked Avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae)

The Red-necked Avocet is an Australian endemic Avocet. There are 3 others in the family around the world. They are related to the stilts.

White-headed Stilt
White-headed Stilt (Himantopus leucophalus)

Whimbrel
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

As well as a couple of Whimbrels there were quite a few related Eastern Curlews.

Pacific Golden Plover
Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)

Pacific Golden Plovers breed in Siberia and Alaska in the northern summer and migrate here in the southern summer.

Pacific Golden Plover
Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)

Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)

The Curlew Sandpiper has a long down-curved bill and also breeds on the tundras of Siberia in the northern summers.

Stockton Sandspit bird list

Red-necked Avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae)
Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis)
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)
White-headed Stilt (Himantopus leucophalus)
Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica macrotarsa)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)
Little Black Cormorant

November 4, 2018

Borah Creek 181104

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Narrabri to Manilla

After the Pilliga I drove north-west to Narrabri. I had to get to Boggabri but I did not want to go across the scrub on a dirt road for more than fifty kilometers. I stopped at the Narrabri Showgrounds, which cost me a whole six dollars. I even got a cold shower and some horses for company! That afternoon I walked along the Narrabri Creek. It was so hot and there were a few birds but not that much. The Namoi River was dry at Narrabri. The next night I camped along the Namoi River near Boggabri and there was some water in it at that stage. I made a wrong turn coming from Boggabri to Borah Creek and had to back track for about ten kilometers. Most of the way it was dirt road but not too bad. I arrived at Borah Creek in the afternoon and went for a cursory walk to see what was around.

Diamond Firetail
Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata)

I had been wanting to photograph a Diamond Firetail here and finally I found one. The adults have prominent white spots on black flanks, full black breast band and a scarlet rump. Their range is south-eastern Australia and are largely sedentary.

Channel-billed Cuckoo
Channel-billed Cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae)

Channel-billed Cuckoos make the most horrendous racket. They are migratory breeders, coming from New Guinea and Indonesia. They are the world’s largest brood parasite, usually laying in crows, ravens or currawong nests.

Pallid Cuckoo
Pallid Cuckoo (Cacomantis pallidus)

Tree Martin
Tree Martin (Petrochelidon nigricans)

I think the Tree Martins were cleaning out a hole to make a nest.

Musk Lorikeet
Musk Lorikeet (Glossopsitta concinna)

Dusky Woodswallow
Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus)

White-winged Triller
White-winged Triller (Lalage tricolor)

Rainbow Bee-eater
Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus)

Common Bronzewing
Common Bronzewing (Phaps Chalcoptera)

Cockatiel
Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)

Narrabri and Borah Creek bird list

Channel-billed Cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae)
Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata)
Pallid Cuckoo (Cacomantis pallidus)
Tree Martin (Petrochelidon nigricans)
Musk Lorikeet (Glossopsitta concinna)
Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus)
White-winged Triller (Lalage tricolor)
Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus)
Common Bronzewing (Phaps Chalcoptera)
Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)
Sacred Kingfisher
Little Friarbird
Red-rumped Parrot
Yellow-throated Miner
Eastern Rosella
Mallee Ringneck
Crested Pigeon
Rufous Whistler
Australian King-parrot
White-plumed Honeyeater
Noisy Friarbird
Australian Wood Duck
Common Bronzewing
Brown Treecreeper
Crimson Rosella
White-winged Chough
Black-fronted Dotterel
Red-browed Finch
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Grey Shrike-thrush
Turquoise Parrot
Dollarbird
Magpie-lark
Galah
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

November 1, 2018

The Pilliga

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Pilliga Pottery

I took off late in the afternoon from Coonabarabran and headed up the Newell Highway towards Narrabri. I turned off a short way along the highway to the Pillaga Pottery. Camping is $10 per person per night. They have showers, composting toilets and a swimming pool. The bird baths were the highlight. Eleven species of honeyeaters.

Brown-headed Honeyeater
Brown-headed Honeyeater (Melithreptus brevirostris)

They are supposed to be common, well why haven’t I seen any before? There is considerable geographic variation in their features.

Black-chinned Honeyeater
Black-chinned Honeyeater (Melithreptus gularis gularis)

The Black-chinned Honeyeater has a white nape band with a black face. The nominate race gularis has a blue patch above the eye. And of course the black chin.

White-naped Honeyeater
White-naped Honeyeater (Melithreptus lunatus)

The White-naped Honeyeater has the white nape stripe of course, a black head, red bare skin above eye and a diagnostic narrow black strip under the chin, which differentiates it from the White-throated Honeyeater. They are sharing with a couple of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters.

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops)

Yellow crown, black face, long pointed ear-tufts are diagnostic for the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater.

White-eared Honeyeater
White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis)

The White-eared Honeyeater has a grey crown with black face and throat with a large white patch behind the eye. The iris is red.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)

Common Bronzewing
Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)

This Common Bronzewing was all by his lonesome by the dam.

Pilliga bird list

Brown-headed Honeyeater (Melithreptus brevirostris)
Black-chinned Honeyeater (Melithreptus gularis gularis)
Yellow-faced Honeyeater (Caligavis chrysops)
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)
White-plumed Honeyeater (Ptilotula pencillata)
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops)
White-naped Honeyeater (Melithreptus lunatus)
White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis)
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Noisy Miner
Noisy Friarbird
Laughing Kookaburra
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Eastern Rosella
Australian King-parrot
Red-rumped Parrot
Apostlebird
Superb Fairy-wren
Red-browed Finch
Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)
Crested Pigeon
Willie Wagtail
Dollarbird
Australian Magpie
Pied Currawong
House Sparrow

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