Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

April 30, 2009

Bird Photography at Bourke 090414

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:32 am

Bird Photography at Bourke, 14th April, 2009.

Whilst leaving Willie Retreat at Macquarie Marshes, I got massively bogged with heaps of people helping push me out of the mud, all to no avail. I had to get pulled out of the mud by Bob’s winch. Thanks Bob. I then drove to Nyngan and saw lots of raptors on the way. At Nyngan I got some petrol and drove on to Bourke, which was about 200 kilometers from Nyngan. At Bourke I got some supplies and petrol and headed off to the sewerage ponds. Saw:

Pink-eared Duck(Malacorhynchus membranaceus)

Pink-eared Duck

Hardhead(Aythya australis).

Hardhead

Hoary-headed Grebe(Poliocephalus poliocephalus).

Hoary-headed Grebe

Musk Duck(Biziura lobata).

Musk Duck

I then drove to Cunnamulla and on to Bowra Station, arriving just on sunset. I slept very soundly that night.

Bird Species List, Bourke, 14/4/09

Pink-eared Duck
Hoary-headed Grebe
Musk Duck
Blue-billed Duck
Hardhead

Macquarie Marshes Bird List

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 10:11 am

Here is my bird species list for the whole trip to the Macquarie Marshes. Not bad going, I reckon. I have photos for all these birds. Some are OK, and some are very crap. C’est la vie. 🙂

Bird Species List, Macquarie Marshes, 7-13th April, 2009.

Emu
Spotless Crake
White-necked Heron
royal spoonbill
Black-fronted Dotterel
Australian Hobby
Black-shouldered Kite
Brown Falcon
Little Eagle
Nankeen Kestrel
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Whistling Kite
Crested Pigeon
Diamond Dove
Peaceful Dove
galah
Australian Ringneck, race barnardi
Blue Bonnet
Cockatiel
Budgerigar
Mulga Parrot
Red-rumped Parrot
Red-winged Parrot
Pallid Cuckoo
Welcome Swallow
Tree Martin
Australian Pipit
Rufous Songlark
Brown Treecreeper
White-winged Fairy-wren
Variegated Fairy-wren
Striated Pardalote
Inland Thornbill
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Southern Whiteface
Noisy Miner
Painted Honeyeater
Singing Honeyeater
Striped Honeyeater
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
White-plumed Honeyeater
Chestnut-crowned Babbler
Grey-crowned Babbler
White-browed Babbler
Hooded Robin
Red-capped Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin
Jacky Winter
Eastern Shrike-tit
Grey Shrike-thrush
Rufous Whistler
Restless Flycatcher
Grey Fantail
Olive-backed Oriole
Spotted Bowerbird
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
White-winged Triller
Black-faced Woodswallow
Masked Woodswallow
Dusky Woodswallow
White-breasted Woodswallow
White-browed Woodswallow
Pied Butcherbird
Grey Butcherbird
Australian Magpie
Apostlebird
Plum-headed Finch
Zebra Finch
Mistletoebird
Common Starling

April 29, 2009

Macquarie Marshes Bird Photography 090412

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 10:25 pm

Bird Photography at Macquarie Marshes – 12th April, 2009

It was Sunday, so we went for a drive along Gibson Way. We stopped at Monkeygah Creek for some Zebra Finch and Plum-headed Finch(Neochmia modesta) action on the fence wires.

Plum-headed Finch

Further on, we stopped in a wooded paddock for some Eastern Yellow Robins, Red-capped Robins, and saw this magnificent Wedge-tailed Eagle(Aquila audax) with a stunning head/crown feathers display. Did I mention it was drizzling with rain most of the time?

Wedge-tailed Eagle

Also seen in the paddocks was this White-winged Triller(Lalage tricolor).

White-winged Triller

And, a female Red-capped Robin(Petroica goodenovii).

Red-capped Robin

At Sandy Camp, we stopped and saw some Red-winged Parrots that were totally drenched, and a Pallid Cuckoo(Cuculus pallidus).

Pallid Cuckoo

At Sandy Camp, we turned left towards Ninia Nature Reserve, which is on the road towards Carinda, as far as I know. I never went to Carinda along this road. It is a dirt road. We stopped at Narnia and saw Mistletoebirds, rufous whistlers, Striated Pardalotes and this Grey Shrike-Thrush(Colluricincla harmonica). This bird is also commonly called a GST. 🙂 Edit: No, its not. Its a Female Rufous Whistler. doh!

Grey Shrike-thrush

A wondrous Australian Hobby(Falco longipennis) was sitting on the fence trying to dry itself out as we went back to camp.

Australian Hobby

It was raining more and more and on the way back to the camp we were slipping and sliding over the greasy outback road. Up ahead Captain Jack was sideways across the road with a bung battery, so we jump started his car, then pushed him onto the road. We continued on at about 5kph because the road was so slippery in the rain. Luckily we made it back to camp after much stress and anxiety.

One of the cars suffered a broken transmission and had to be towed to Quambone for repairs. It was quite a memorable day. Life in the outback is quite bizarre! I would not recommeng going to Macquarie Marshes when it is raining as the roads are quite impassible in the wet.

Bird Species List, macquarie marshes, 12/4/09

Plum-headed Finch
Zebra Finch
Black-faced Woodswallow
Red-winged Parrot
Eastern Yellow Robin
Australian Ringneck, race barnardi
Singing Honeyeater
Red-capped Robin
Wedge-tailed Eagle
White-winged Triller
Australian Hobby
White-breasted Woodswallow
Pallid Cuckoo
Mistletoebird
Grey-crowned Babbler
Rufous Whistler
Southern Whiteface
Striated Pardalote
Grey Shrike-thrush

Bird Photography Macquarie Marsh 090411

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 10:25 am

Macquarie Marshes Bird Photography, 11th April, 2009.

We drove to Carinda in a convoy and saw Honeyeaters, Pardalotes, hooded Robins, and Inland Thornbills, as well as some Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters.

At Bell’s Bridge, we saw a dead Wedge-tailed Eagle. Well, we smelled it before we saw it! There were also some Plum-headed Finches.

Along the road towards Willie Retreat we stopped and saw a magnificent Little Eagle(Hieraaetus morphnoides). It was a first for me.

Little Eagle

Later on, we stopped at a stand of Leopardwood trees and saw more parrots, honeyeaters, and White-winged Fairy-wrens. This is a shot of a Mulga Parrot(Psephotus varius).

Mulga Parrot

A Painted Honeyeater(Grantiella picta).

Painted Honeyeater

Further on at a farm, we saw a Red-capped Robin and some Chestnut-crowned Babblers(Pomatostomus ruficeps).

Chestnut-crowned Babbler

All in all, it was a worthwhile road trip, going from Willie Retreat to Carinda along the Warren-Carinda Road. At least it was tarred. lol.

Bird Species List – Macquarie Marshes, 11/4/09

Australian Ringneck
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Singing Honeyeater
Hooded Robin
Inland Thornbill
LIttle Eagle
Mulga Parrot
Striped Honeyeater
White-winged Fairy-wren
Chestnut-crowned Babbler
Red-capped Robin
Budgerigar
Crested Pigeon
Plum-headed Finch
Dead Wedge-tailed Eagle. 🙁

April 28, 2009

Bird Photography Macquarie Marshes 090410 pm

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 10:51 pm

Bird Photography at Macquarie Marshes 10th April, 2009. pm.

About Midday at Willie Retreat property, we walked around a paddock just out from the shearing shed with Robert after seeing a restless Flycatcher in camp and a Spotted Bowerbird drinking from the water trough behind the shearing shed. There was also a female Rufous Whistler in the tree behind the shed. I saw a fox out in the paddock, then went searching for a Crimson Chat but only saw it(we think) from a distance and it was too far to tell for sure. There were also some Black-faced Woodswallows and White-winged Fairy-wrens, but again too far away for a decent photograph.

There was a Rufous Songlark(Cincloramphus mathewsi) on the fence on the way back to compensate for all the misses.

Rufous Songlark

Later in the afternoon we went for a drive along the Gibson Way past the Macquarie River and the Bulgaraga Creek. Saw some Cockatiels(Nymphicus hollandicus).

Cockatiel

At the Monkeygah Creek, we skidded to a sudden halt when we saw this Spotless Crake(Porzana tubuensis) hanging around in the mud.

Spotless Crake

There were also a Brown Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel, Australian Hobby and Zebra Finch. I finally got a shot of a male White-winged Fairy-wren(malurus leucoptera), but it was still a long way off. They are quite a spectacular bird.

White-winged Fairy-wren

We also saw a Black-shouldered Kite(Elanus axillaris),

Black-shouldered Kite

as well as Blue Bonnets, White-browed Woodswallows. We saw a Four Wheel Drive go past with a dead pig hanging off the back! What the.. ??? I finally got some shots of some Australian Ringnecks(Barnadius zonarius).

Australian Ringneck

Bird Species List for Macquarie Marshes, 10/4/09, pm.

Black-faced Woodswallow
Restless Flycatcher
Tree Martin
White-winged Fairy-wren
Rufous Songlark
Cockatiel
Australian Hobby
Nankeen Kestrel
Spotless Crake
Black-shouldered Kite
Blue Bonnet
White-browed Woodswallow
Variegated Fairy-wren
Australian Ringneck

Willie Retreat Bird Photography am 090410

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 10:45 am

Willie Retreat Bird Photography 10th April, 2009. morning

In the morning I went for a walk around the Willie Retreat property, Macquarie marshes, with the HBOC crew. I saw a White-browed Babbler(Pomatostomus superciliosus).

White-browed Babbler

Southern Whiteface(Aphelocephala leucopsis).

Southern Whiteface

Diamond Dove(Geopelia cuneata).

Diamond Dove

Red-winged Parrot(Aprosmictus erythropterus).

Red-winged Parrot

Male Hooded Robin(Melanodryas cucullata).

Hooded Robin

Yellow-rumped Thornbill(Acanthiza chrysorrhoa).

Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Tree Martin(Hirundo nigricans).

Tree Martin

There were some huge flowers on the mistletoe bush as well. All in all it was a very good morning with lots of new birds. woot!

Bird Species List, Willie Retreat, 10/4/09

White-necked Heron
Peaceful Dove
Jacky Winter
Red-winged Parrot
Brown Falcon
Brown Treecreeper
Australian Magpie
White-browed Babbler
White-plumed Honeyeater
Southern Whiteface
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
Rufous Whistler
Pied Butcherbird
Striated Pardalote
Hooded Robin(male and female)
Olive-backed Oriole
Spotted Bowerbird
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Tree Martin

Macquarie Marshes Bird Photography 090409

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:39 am

Bird Photography at Macquarie Marshes, 9th April, 2009.

Its Thursday and I am still at Willie Retreat. I went out to the Warren-Carinda Road and turned left towards Warren for about twenty kilometres. I stopped at Milmalland Creek and walked along the road and fence line where the creek crosses the road. There were heaps of Superb Fairy-wrens near the fences in the shrubs. There was also the inevitable Jacky Winter waiting to be photographed, so I obliged.

Jacky Winter

This Dusky Woodswallow(Artamus cyanopterus) was hanging around as well.

Dusky Woodswallow

The Crested Shrike-tit has now been split into 3 species, and here is the Eastern Shrike-tit(Falcunculus frontata).

Eastern Shrike-tit

A male Red-rumped Parrot(Psephotus haematonotus).

Red-rumped Parrot

This was my first sighting of the ubiquitous Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater(Acanthagenys rufogularis), which I saw a lot of in the coming couple of weeks.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

And an immature Grey Shrike-thrush(Colluricincla harmonica).

Grey Shrike-thrush

In the afternoon, I went out along the Gibsons Way towards Bulgaraga Creek and saw this Brown Falcon(Falco berigora) along the road.

Brown Falcon

As well as these Blue Bonnets(Northiella haematogaster).

Blue Bonnet

And the female Red-rumped Parrot(Psephotus haematonotus).

Red-rumped Parrot

Masked Woodswallow(Artamus personatus)

Masked Woodswallow

Budgerigar(Melopsittacus undulatus).

Budgerigar

Bird Species List, Macquarie Marshes, 9/4/09.

am.
Whistling Kite
Rufous Whistler
Jacky Winter
Noisy Miner
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
Brown Treecreeper
Red-rumped Parrot
White-browed Woodswallow
Dusky Woodswallow
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Eastern Shrike-tit
Grey Shrike-thrush

pm.
Nankeen Kestrel
Brown Falcon
Blue Bonnet
Grey Butcherbird
White-plumed Honeyeater
Masked Woodswallow
Budgerigar

April 27, 2009

Macquarie Marshes Bird Photography 090408

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:37 pm
    Bird Photography at Macquarie Marshes 8th April, 2009

I drove towards Quambone along Gibsons Way past the Macquarie River which was dry. Then went past the Monkeygah Creek which was full of reeds, then past the Bulgaraga Creek. I stopped to take some photos of the birds along the creek and the viewing platform which was further on. The Viewing platform was bizarre as it overlooked a dry paddock. ha ha..

Near the Macquarie River, I stopped and spotted a pair of Black-fronted Dotterel(Charadrius melanops) on the road. I was wondering what they were doing on this dry road until I saw them eating these wood louse which had infested the road – there were literally millions of them.

Black-fronted Dotterel

There were heaps of Budgerigars(Melopsittacus undulatus) along the roads. I had never seen flocks of them in the wild before.

Budgerigar

There were quite a few Zebra Finch(Taeniopygia guttata) along the roads and the creek beds.

Zebra Finch

I had a great session with some Variegated Fairy-wren(malurus lamberti) along the dry river bed of the Macquarie. I was quite captivated by them.

Variegated Fairy-wren

I love the barb wire in these photos.

Variegated Fairy-wren

And here is a pair.

Variegated Fairy-wren

In the afternoon I went around the property at Willie Retreat and took some more photographs of the birds there. Here is a spotted Bowerbird(Chlamydera maculata).

Spotted Bowerbird

and a cute Jacky Winter(Microeca fascinans).

Jacky Winter

Bird Species List Gibson Way 8/4/09

Budgerigar
Striated Pardalote
Black-faced Woodswallow
White-browed woodswallow
Black-shouldered kite
Cockatiel
Red-rumped Parrot
Black-fronted Dotterel
Zebra Finch
Variegated Fairy-wren
Southern Whiteface

Bird Species List Willie Retreat, 8/4/09

White-plumed honeyeater
Spotted bowerbird
Brown treecreeper
jacky winter
royal spoonbill
red-rumped parrot
galah
Blue Bonnet
Diamond Dove

Bird Photography Willie Retreat 090407

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:55 am

Bird Photography at Willie Retreat, Macquarie Marshes 7th April, 2009

After stopping at Warren, I drove on to Willie Retreat which is up the Carinda Road. I missed the turnoff, which goes off to the right at the Mara crossroads, and had to go back about twenty kilometers after asking a farmer.

At Willie Retreat, I stayed in the Woolshed, which was spartan but adequate. It had facilities for cooking, a fridge, and most importantly, power to charge the batteries and run the laptop.

In the afternoon, I went out and shot some photos around the homestead and the Mini-wetlands. These Apostlebirds(Struthidea cinerea) were just hanging around my van and were within meters of me, jumping around and squwarking and carrying on.

Apostlebird

I saw this bird hovering over a grasshopper, then going in like a raptor. I thought it was some type of tiny kite, but it turned out to be a White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike(Coracina papuensis).

White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike

I liked this shot of the starlings that all came in and clustered around the dead tree near the water hole.

Common Starling

There was a bunch of Grey-crowned Babblers(Pomatostomus temporalis) jumping up to this branch. I think they were digging out grubs. I think this one is an immature bird as it does not have a yellow eye. They are really funny birds and carry on like a bunch of idiots. ha ha..

Grey-crowned Babbler

There were a few restless flycatchers around as well, but I thought that they were odd looking willy wagtails. I only found out later what they were. There were a bunch of White-browed Woodswallows(Artamus superciliosus) hanging around on the trees and on the fences.

White-browed Woodswallow

Bird Species List for Willie Retreat 7/4/09

Apostlebird
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
Common Starling
Red-rumped Parrot
Grey-crowned Babbler
Australian Pipit
Emu
Restless Flycatcher
White-browed Woodswallow
Grey Fantail
White-plumed Honeyeater

Bird Photography Warren 090407

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 12:23 am

Bird Photography at Warren 7th April, 2009

I left Newcastle about 1pm on the Monday and drove to Singleton then Merriwa along the Golden Highway(86?). Stopped at Mendooran where there is a good rest area with BBQ, lights, and toilets. I drove on through to Gilgandra and slept at a rest area about 30 kilometers west of Gilgandra.

On Tuesday morning I awoke about 6:30am and it was freezing cold, so I put on the flanny, a jumper and some long pants, as well as shoes and socks. That is how cold it was! I took some photos of the sunrise then drove to Warren for breakfast. On the way into Warren I saw that there were heaps of raptors hanging around the sewerage runoff just outside town. So after breakfast I went back for a good look.

Black Kite

Not a bad site, hey? There were a few black kites hanging around the dead trees near the water. I got onto the mounds and had fantastic views of the birds.

Black Kite

Also hanging out on the dead trees was a Juvenile White-necked Heron(Ardea pacifica), also called a Pacific Heron. Note the spotted neck. Some of them have red spots on their wings. This one did not seem to.

Juvenile White-necked Heron

Anyhoo, back to the Black Kites(Milvus migrans), which i could not get enough of.

Black Kite

And another, this one was checking me right out.

Black Kite

There were also a pair of Black Falcons(Falco subniger) flying around and roosting in a big eucalyptus tree at the end of the water hole. They are a spectacular bird and I was very stoked to see them.

Black Falcon

Some of the other members of the HBOC saw a lot of waterbirds over the road, such as blue-billed ducks, musk ducks, pink-eared ducks, etc. But I missed out on all those. I saw a couple of grey teals and some swamp hens, and that was it. In the trees around the water hole there were various birds such as White-plumed honeyeaters and Spotted Bowerbirds.

On the road from Warren to Carinda on the Way to Willie Retreat, I saw a couple of Wedge-tailed Eagles flying off road kills, but did not manage to get a decent enough photo of them.

Bird Species LIst, Warren area, 7/4/09

Black-shouldered Kite
Eastern Rosella
Noisy Miner
Galah
Red-rumped Parrot
Bluebonnet
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Black Kite
Rock Dove
Cockatiel
Juvenile White-necked Heron
Black Falcon
Nankeen Kestrel
Whistling Kite
Crested Pigeon
Spotted Bowerbird
White-plumed honeyeater
Wedge-tailed Eagle

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