Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

October 30, 2012

Riverina Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:21 am

Narrandera to Griffith.

After my weekend at Leeton and Narrandera, I headed back to Griffith.

my car
My car

Here is my car at Narrandera Wetlands. I have mag wheels, a noisy muffler and fat, low-profile tyres. I am a rev-head.

Brown Falcon
Brown Falcon (falco berigora)

I screeched to a halt just before Darlington Point on the Sturt Highway that heads to Hay. I think this one is a pale morph, and quite large, therefore possibly a female.

Nankeen Kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)

Another raptor just up the road. This time a Nankeen Kestrel. Both these raptors are in the falco family, therefore pretty similar. (That is a scientific technical term)

Baillon's Crake
Baillon’s Crake (Porzana pusilla)

Back at Griffith, I stopped off at South Wyangan Lake and did some birding with a French birder. This Baillon’s Crake was off the causeway between the north and south lakes.

Australian Spotted Crake
Australian Spotted Crake (Porzana fluminea)

At Campbell’s Swamp, this Australian Spotted Crake was on the boardwalk. I thought this was a Baillon’s Crake until my French mate pointed out my error. The Australian Spotted Crake has a yellower bill with a red spot near the base.

Australasian Bittern
Australasian Bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus)

A pair of Australasian Bittern erupted from the reeds as we ventured out onto the boardwalk.

Blue-billed Duck
Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis)

These ducks like to dive. This a male. The female has a dark bill.

Riverina bird list

Galah
Magpie-lark
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Dusky Moorhen
Australian White Ibis
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)
Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) probably female due to large size
Black-shouldered Kite
Baillon’s Crake (Porzana pusilla)
Australian Spotted Crake (Porzana fluminea)
Black-shouldered Kite
Australian Reed-warbler
Swamp Harrier
Australasian Grebe
Black Swan
Whiskered Tern
Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis)
Straw-necked Ibis
Australasian Bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus)

October 28, 2012

Narrandera Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 2:41 am

Narrandera Wetlands.

After Fivebough Swamp in Leeton, I drove thirty kilometers south to Narrandera. I like Narrandera. It is a nice little place and it is very peaceful. The Narrandera Wetlands are just across the bridge from town and well worth a visit, even if it is just for a bush-walk.

Grey Shrike-thrush
Grey Shrike-thrush (Colluricincla harmonica harmonica)

This bird is a juvenile Grey Shrike-thrush, race harmonica.

Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes)

There were two Yellow-billed Spoonbills at the wetlands most of the time, with a third coming later.

Yellow Rosella
Yellow Rosella (Platycercus elegans flaveolus)

The Yellow Rosella (Platycercus elegans flaveolus) is a sub-race of the Crimson Rosella, race flaveolus. They are mainly located in the Riverina area of New South Wales between the Murrumbidgee and Murray rivers. In the Yellow Rosella, the crimson is replaced by yellow. The South Australian races replace the crimson with orange.

Pied Butcherbird
Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nitrogularis)

This is a juvenile. The dark breast of the adult is all fuzzy on the young ones.

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis)

These are quite plentiful around the Riverina district of New South Wales. There are plenty around Griffith, Leeton and Narrandera, and I have seen them in Hay and West Wyalong.

Water Rat
Water Rat

I have always wanted to see and photograph a Water Rat and now my ambitions are realised. Oh happy day! “Hydromys chrysogaster, commonly known as Rakali or Water-rat, is an Australian native rodent. The species lives in burrows on the banks of rivers, lakes and estuaries and feeds on aquatic insects, fish, crustaceans, mussels, snails, frogs, birds’ eggs and water birds.” (Wikipedia)

Narrandera bird list

Eastern Rosella
Australian Raven
Australian Wood Duck
White-faced Heron
Masked Lapwing
Dusky Moorhen
Pacific Black Duck
Grey Shrike-thrush race harmonica juvenile (Colluricincla harmonica harmonica)
Sacred Kingfisher
Nankeen Night-heron
Black-fronted Dotterel
Yellow Rosella (Platycercus elegans flaveolus) Crimson Rosella, race flaveolus
Superb Fairy-wren
Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nitrogularis)
Laughing Kookaburra
Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis)
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Magpie-lark
Australian Magpie
White-winged Chough

October 27, 2012

Leeton Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:17 pm

Riverina, NSW.

This weekend I got some time off work so I headed for Leeton and Narrandera. First stop was the Fivebough Swamp at Leeton. There was a lot more water there than two years ago. But then was at the height of summer.

Red-kneed Dotterel
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erthrogonys cinctus)

Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Tern (Childonias hybridus)

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

Variegated Fairy-wren
Variegated Fairy-wren (Malurus lamberti)

Whistling Kite
Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus)

Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes)

Straw-necked Ibis
Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis)

fox
fox

Leeton Fivebough Swamp bird list

Red Wattlebird
Black-tailed Native-hen
Black-winged Stilt
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erthrogonys cinctus)
Magpie-lark
Whiskered Tern (Childonias hybridus)
Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa)
Variegated Fairy-wren (Malurus lamberti)
Grey Teal
Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus)
Great Cormorant
Australian Pelican
Eurasian Coot
Straw-necked Ibis
Australian White Ibis
White-plumed Honeyeater
Superb Fairy-wren

October 14, 2012

Lake Wyangan

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 10:29 am

Griffith Birding.

This morning I set off from my camping spot on the shores of Lake Wyangan, north of Griffith. Before I set off I managed to get some shots of the Blue-faced Honeyeaters that are hanging out at the camping ground.

Lake Wyangan

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis)

There were also some Yellow-throated Miners who were getting a bit aggressive towards the other birds but no-one paid them any notice. A mob of Apostlebird and White-winged Choughs were on the grounds and on the lake were some Australian Pelicans, Purple Swamphen and a Laughing Kookaburra on the wires.

Nericon Swamp.

My first stop was Nericon Swamp, which is about nearly a kilometer past Campbell’s Swamp on the Wyangan Road. There was a lot of water and it looked like it was really shallow. The hide that used to be there has fallen down and roofing iron is strewn on the ground.

White-winged Black Tern
White-winged Black Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

I was quite surprised to see these White-winged Black Tern on the swamp, but they are seen in the inland. A couple of Silver Gull flew by so I thought I was at the beach.

Golden-headed Cisticola
Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis)

Most of the birds were a long way away on the water so you needed a scope or a big lens like a 800mm.

Campbell’s swamp

Then it was back to Campbell’s Swamp. I am glad I went back there this morning because it was very fruitful.

Black-shouldered Kite
Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)

This Black-shouldered Kite just stayed on this tree for ages while I took shot after shot of it.

Black Honeyeater
Black Honeyeater (Certhionyx niger)

Another big bonus was this male Black Honeyeater. At first I thought it was a sunbird but we only have one sunbird in Australia – the Olive-backed Sunbird. And it definitely was not that.

Black Kite
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)

Over the water towards the hide a nice Black Kite came gliding over-head.

Spotted Harrier
Spotted Harrier (Circus assimilis)

And delight of all delights, this delicious Spotted Harrier circled me heaps of times and gave me some magnificent views of its spots and bands.

Lake Wyangan Birds list

Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis)
Yellow-throated Miner
Apostlebird
Australian Pelican
Laughing Kookaburra
Purple Swamphen
Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis)
Pacific Black Duck
Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus) ???
White-faced Heron
Silver Gull (Larus novaehollandiae)
White-winged Black Tern Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)
Black-winged Stilt
Red-necked Avocet
Black-fronted Dotterel
Black-tailed Native-Hen (Gallinula ventralis)
Black Honeyeater (Certhionyx niger) male
Crested Pigeon
Little Pied Cormorant
Australasian Grebe
Hoary-headed Grebe
Baillon’s Crake
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)
Australian Reed-warbler
Spotted Harrier (Circus assimilis)

October 13, 2012

Campbell’s Swamp

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 11:07 am

Griffith Birding.

Campbell’s Swamp is about five kilometers from Griffith on the other side of Lake Wyangan. I was here a couple of years ago in summer and it was absolutely bone dry. Today it was full of water. There is a hide there and a walkway which was surrounded by water.

Australian Reed-warbler
Australian Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus australis)

There were quite a few Australian Reed-warblers in the bull-rushes around the swamp.

Hardhead
Hardhead (Athya australis)

Lots of Hardheads here as well as in West Wyalong.

Hoary-headed Grebe
Hoary-headed Grebe (Poliocephalus poliocephalus)

This is in breeding plumage.

Baillon's Crake
Baillon’s Crake (Porzana pusilla)

The Baillon’s Crake is very small, about half the size of the other crakes and rails and such.

Swamp Harrier
Swamp Harrier (Circus approximans)

Circling the swamp but not coming any nearer to me.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

On the way back I spotted this Peregrine Falcon. He may have only one leg or he is resting the other one.

Yellow-throated Miner
Yellow-throated Miner (Manorina flavigula)

Campbell’s Swamp bird list

Australian Raven
Magpie-lark
Common Starling
Baillon’s Crake (Porzana pusilla)
Australian Reed-warbler
Black Swan
Australian White Ibis
Australasian Grebe
Hoary-headed Grebe
Hardhead (Athya australis)
Little Pied Cormorant
Australian Pelican
Swamp Harrier
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae)
Red-rumped Parrot
Crested Pigeon
Yellow-throated Miner (Manorina flavigula)
Purple Swamphen
Pacific Black Duck

October 12, 2012

Cocoparra National Park

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:34 am

Griffith Birding.

I side-tracked off to Cocoparra National Park on the way to Griffith. I headed off from West Wyalong along the Mid Western Highway towards Hay and turned left after Rankin Springs. The first area you come to in Cocoparra National Park was Jack’s Creek, a gorge that you walk along and then over the top and back again.

Eastern Yellow Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis)

Eastern Yellow Robin are very common in inland areas.

Inland Thornbill
Inland Thornbill (Acanthiza apicalis) Speckled Warbler (Chthonicola sagittata)

I think this is an Inland Thornbill. Then again, it could be a Striated Thornbill. I am really crap at identifying thornbills and stuff like them. It is actually a Speckled Warbler (Chthonicola sagittata). ID thanks to Tobias. It is a small insect-eating bird that feeds mainly on the ground.

Unidentified
Unidentified Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana)

I have no idea where to start with this one, but notice the white stripe above the bill. Thanks to Tobias. who identified it as a Yellow Thornbill. “The Yellow Thornbill is a small to medium-sized thornbill and is the most yellow of the thornbill group. It is greenish-olive on the back, with white streaking on the cheeks and ears, and has pale to bright yellow underparts. There is a reddish brown tone on the chin and throat. The young birds are similar but duller.” (birdinbackyards.net).

White-browed Babbler
White-browed Babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus)

White-browed Babblers are another species of very gregarious and sociable birds that are very enjoyable to watch.

Willy Wagtail
Willy Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys)

Cocoparra National Park bird list

Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis)
Inland Thornbill (Acanthiza apicalis)
White-browed Babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus)
Grey Fantail
Willy Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys)
White-winged Chough
White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorhynchus)

October 11, 2012

West Wyalong Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 2:11 am

Wyalong Wetlands.

After Forbes, I drove down the Newell Highway to West Wyalong and Checked out the Rest Area on the Wyalong side of town and the wetlands on the other side of the road. They have done a great job of the wetlands, coming out of the water treatment plant.

Australian Raven
Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides)

This crow raided the rubbish bin and had found a tin of margarine and was devouring it greedily. He came close to my picnic table and wanted to bludge some bread off me, but I sent him on his way.

Little Friarbird
Little Friarbird (Philemon citreogularis)

Lots of Little Friarbirds and Red Wattlebirds as well as White-plumed Honeyeaters were feeding on the flowering wattles in the park.

Apostlebird
Apostlebird (Stuthea cinereus)

My friends, the sociable, gregarious Apostlebirds made me laugh.

White-winged Chough
White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos)

This mob of White-winged Chough were digging in the dirt all together and one of them had to be the tough guy and assert his authority. Not unlike human mobs.

White-winged Chough
White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos)

The next morning I found this nest with a couple of White-winged Chough babies in it.

Pink-eared Duck
Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus)

I saw a few Hardheads as well.

Hoary-headed Grebe
Hoary-headed Grebeliocephalus)

There are breeding and non-breeding birds in this photo.

Australasian Grebe
Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)

This is breeding plumage.

Australian Reed-warbler
Australian Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus australis)

West Wyalong bird list

Crested Pigeon
White-browed Woodswallow (Artamus superciliosus)
White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorhynchus)
Red Wattlebird
Little Friarbird
White-plumed Honeyeater
Apostlebird
White-winged Chough
Pacific Black Duck
Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus)
Hardhead (Aythya australis)
Eurasian Coot
Darter
Great Cormorant
Pied Cormorant
Nankeen Night Heron
White-faced Heron
White-necked Heron
Purple Swamphen
Great Egret
Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)
Hoary-headed Grebe (Poliocephalus poliocephalus)
Laughing Kookaburra
Common Starling
Noisy Miner
Australian Magpie
Magpie-lark
Australian Raven
Pied Butcherbird
Welcome Swallow
Australian Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus australis)

October 10, 2012

Forbes Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:51 am

Gum Swamp.

On the way past Forbes, I spied a sign that said Bird Hide, so I veered off and had a look. It was Gum Swamp. It is about four kilometers south of Forbes on the Newell Highway going to West Wyalong.

Gum Swamp
Early morning swamp-scape

There was this massive nest right in the middle of the swamp. It was strange to see White-bellied Sea-eagles hundreds of kilometers from the sea. There were two babies and two adults.

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

At first I thought these Yellow-billed Spoonbill were ibis but one look at the bill could tell me what they were.

Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes)

Black-inged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt (Himantops himantops)

Little Friarbird
Little Friarbird (Philemon citreogularis)

Black-fronted Dotterel
Black-fronted Dotterel (Charadrius melanops)

Sacred Kingfisher
Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus)

Forbes bird list

White-bellied Sea-eagle
Grey Teal
Eurasian Coot
Sacred Kingfisher
White-plumed Honeyeater
Galah
Purple Swamp-hen
Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Little Pied Cormorant
Willy Wagtail
Black-fronted Dotterel
Black-winged Stilt
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Little Friarbird
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Pacific Black Duck
Laughing Kookaburra
Darter
Black Swan
Noisy Miner
Cockatiel
Australian Pelican
White-faced Heron
Australian Wood Duck
Australian Magpie
Magpie-lark

October 9, 2012

Dubbo Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:25 am

Terramungamine Reserve.

Terramungamine Reserve is about ten kilometers out of Dubbo on the road to Gilgandra. Turn left at Brocklehurst and go down that road for a few kilometers until you reach the sign that says Terramunngamine Reserve. Call in at the Dubbo Tourist office and get a map and a Bird Routes of the Dubbo District brochure. They are very helpful.

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

Here is a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike bringing some twigs to the nest they are making in the fork of this tree.

Cockatiel
Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)

This is the only Cockatiel that I saw. It landed right near my camp and stayed there feeding on this tree for ages.

Double-barred Finch
Double-barred Finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii)

I was quite surprised to find a whole flock of Double-barred Finch feeding in the grass around the reserve.

Red-rumped Parrot
Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus)

There was also a heap of Red-rumped Parrots feeding in the grass. Sometimes they get very close to you if you are sitting still in the grass. Near the Tourist office whilst having lunch, they were about three meters away from me.

Red-rumped Parrot
Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus)

They go up into the trees when disturbed.

White-winged Chough
White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos)

Dubbo Birds list

Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus)
Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae)
White-plumed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus pencillatus)
Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)
Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)
Eastern Rosella (Platycerus eximius)
Double-barred Finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii)
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos)
Australian Magpie
Magpie-lark
Galah
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Straw-necked Ibis
Australian Raven

October 8, 2012

Cassilis Park Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 6:20 am

Newcastle to Dubbo.

I am heading west looking for work. I stopped at Cassilis Park, which is a rest area a couple of kilometers from Cassilis on the Golden Highway, west of Newcastle. There were heaps of birds around the rest area.

White-winged Chough
White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos)

Masked Woodswallow
Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus)

Pied currawong
Pied Currawong (Streptera graculina)

Red-winged Parrot
Red-winged Parrot (Aprosmictus erythroptus)

Noisy Friarbird
Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus)

Noisy Friarbird
Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus)

Cassilis Park bird list

Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus)
Willy Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys)
Galah (Cacatua roseicapillus)
White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos)
Crimson Rosella (Platycerus elegans elegans)
Crested Pigeon (Geohaps lophotes)
Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala)
Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus) tick
Eastern Rosella (Platycerus eximius eximius)
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus)
Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)
Pied Currawong (Streptera graculina)
Red-winged Parrot (Aprosmictus erythroptus)
Black-shouldered Kite
Nankeen Kestrel
Australian Magpie
Magpie-lark
Australian Raven

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