Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

March 26, 2013

Manilla Birding 2013

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:59 am

Manilla, North-west NSW.

Manilla is about fifty kilometers west of Tamworth. The river bank is a nice place to walk and check out the birds. There is also a weir about a kilometer up-stream which I am going to check out after lunch. Today there were not a lot of birds. I have been here before in spring when there were much more birds around. It is now going into Autumn so that is perfectly understandable.

Peaceful Dove
Peaceful Dove (Geopelia placida)

Formerly Geopelia striata, the same as the Zebra Dove in Indonesia. I think it is the same dove, with different name. I am not sure why the striata was changed to placida.

upsdide-down Nankeen Kestrel
Upside-down Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)

There were two Nankeen Kestrels wheeling above the bridge, doing some wonderful flying. I managed to capture this one upside down. I think it looks cool.

Little Pied Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos)

The Little Pied Cormorant is similar to the Pied Cormorant except that it has a short yellow bill, no bare throat skin, white over eye to bill and no black thigh stripes(no pants).

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

I am pretty sure this is a female Superb Fairy-wren, but I am a bit rusty on Australian bird identification.

Manilla birds list for March 2013

White-plumed Honeyeater
Red-browed Finch
Peaceful Dove
Pacific Black Duck
Nankeen Kestrel
Little Pied Cormorant
Superb Fairy-wren
White-browed Scrubwren
Pied Currawong
White-winged Chough
Rainbow Lorikeet
Red-rumped Parrot
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Galah
Common Starling
Willy Wagtail
Welcome Swallow

March 25, 2013

Wallabadah Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 4:26 am

Wallabadah Cemetery.

First stop heading out west from Newcastle was the Burning Mountain rest area, just west from Scone, still in the Upper Hunter Valley. Last time here I had seen a Wedge-tailed Eagle, so was hoping for another sighting. I did happen to see a Black-shouldered Kite hovering over the other side of the highway, some Australian Wood Ducks, Noisy Miners and Eastern Rosellas.

Nankeen Kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)

I spent a few days at Wallabadah at the rest area. The Cemetery is just down the road and is a very worthwhile place to visit for birding. This morning there were not a great deal of birds around. Lots of Noisy Miners and Eastern Rosellas, as well as Australian King-Parrots were wheeling about over the fields and dead trees.

Pied Butcherbird
Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis)

The Pied Butcherbirds were in fine voice with their flute-like mellow notes. It is hard to say which is the better song-bird: the butcherbird or the magpie.

Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen)

Wallabadah birds list

Nankeen Kestrel
Pied Butcherbird
Noisy Miner
Austrlian King-Parrot
Eastern Rosella
Galah
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Welcome Swallow
Australian Magpie
Crested Pigeon

March 17, 2013

Birding Osaka-jo

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 9:42 am

Birds of Osaka Castle.

Well, I am back in Osaka once again. I headed off to Osaka-jo (Osaka Castle), hoping to get some photos of the Japanese Waxwings, which i videoed two years ago. But alas, the cherry blossoms had not come out yet so Sakura had not begun. So, no waxwings. But there were plenty of other birds, so it was a good day out.

Brown-eared Bulbul
Brown-eared Bulbul ( Microscelis amaurotis)

More bulbuls. I have seen so many bulbuls on my travels. These Brown-eared Bulbuls are pretty common in Japan.

Grey Heron
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) (Aosagi)

This Grey Heron was in a pond in the castle all by himself with only a tortoise to keep him company. The Japanese names are after the scientific names in the titles under the photos, by the way.

Daurian Redstart
Daurian Redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus) (Zyoubitaki)

I do not know anything about these birds. Will research later.

Japanese Tit
Japanese Tit (Parus minor) (Sizyukara)

These are a continuing source of confusion because they keep getting lumped in with the Great Tit.

Varied Tit
Varied Tit ( Parus varius) (Yamagara)

The Varied Tit is much browner than the Japanese Tit.

Dusky Thrush
Dusky Thrush (Turdus eunomus) (Tsugumi)

White-cheeked Starling
White-cheeked Starling (Sturnus cineraceus) (Mukudori)

The White-cheeked Starling is also known as the Grey starling. They seem to be very closely related to the Acidotheres for my money. They are very similar to the Mynas.

Large-billed Crow
Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos japonensis)

There are two types of crows around here. The Large-billed Crow and the Carrion Crow. I saw Carrion Crows up in Hokkaido.

White Wagtail
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba lugens)(Hakusekirei)

The White Wagtail is also called the Black-backed Wagtail or Kamchatka/Japanese Pied Wagtail. It has a black eyestripe and white remiges. They may have a claim to constitute a distinct species. Its range is the Russian Far East and Japan.

Eurasian Siskin
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus) (Mahiwa)

Tufted Duck
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) (Kinkurohaziro)

Japanese White-eye
Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus) (Mejiro)

Birds in Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle bird list

Brown-eared Bulbul ( Microscelis amaurotis)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) (Aosagi)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) (Suzume)
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus) (Mahiwa)
Dusky Thrush (Turdus eunomus) (Tsugumi)
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba lugens)(Hakusekirei)
Japanese Tit (Parus minor) (Sizyukara)
Varied Tit ( Parus varius) (Yamagara)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) (Kinkurohaziro)
Daurian Redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus) (Zyoubitaki)
Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus) (Mejiro)
White-cheeked Starling (Sturnus cineraceus) aka Grey starling (Mukudori)
Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos japonensis)

March 16, 2013

Hokkaido Airport Bus

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 2:03 pm

A Busted Fan Belt.

We were heading towards the airport from Niseko, just near the intersection of Routes 97 and 276, About ten kilometers from Kutchan. The bus stopped. I hopped out to have a look around and take some photos. The fan belt was broken.

broken fan belt
The broken fan belt.

A few of the passengers were about to start panicking because they had flights around one o’clock. This is the bus.

Hokkaido bus
The bus

Some guy from the bus stop rang up to see about getting the bus fixed up.

Ringing for repairs
Ringing up for repairs

Another guy inspects the belt. The radiator was getting a bit hot by this stage.

Hmm this belt is stuffed
Inspecting the fan belt.

Everyone stuck their heads into the motor to check it out.

Inspecting the motor
Checking out the motor

Finally the bus driver got some electrical tape and wound it around the belt and put the belt back on. I was totally skeptical and thought it would not last five minutes, if that. We got going and it lasted about half an hour before it came off and we stopped because the water temperature was getting very hot. The bus driver put the belt on again and we repeated the process a few times until a bus stopped behind us with a new belt. They put it on after some hilarious hijinx and we finally made it to the airport. What an adventure!

March 2, 2013

Ranshima Beach

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:43 am

Hokkaido Birding 2013.

Yesterday I decided to have a day off from the ski resort and go to Ranshima Beach and hopefully to see the beach covered in snow and maybe photograph a couple of birds I had not seen before. I set off about 9am on the bus to Kutchan and then had to catch the Otaru train. When I got off the train, the station was deserted so I walked down the road towards the beach.

Ranshima Beach 3
Ranshima Beach looking South

When I reached the road along the beach, I could not get onto it because there was about a meter of snow covering it. So I had to walk along the road until I found a track that took me onto the beach. There was some black sand where the tide had come up but the rest of the beach was covered in snow. That was different.

Ranshima Beach 2
Ranshima Beach looking north

There were a few boats at the end of the beach all covered in snow but it was deserted. No-one around at all. I guess the fishing is not so good at this time of year!

Ranshima Beach 1
Coastal cliffs

Towards the south, there are some big cliffs that drop straight into the sea, all covered in snow.

Slaty-backed Gull
Slaty-backed Gull (Larus schistisagus)

I think these are Slaty-backed Gulls. There a few gulls up here that are very similar, but this is my best guess.

Carrion Crow
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)

I was hoping to see some Large-billed Crows but this is all they had. Unfortunate name. 🙁

Goosander
Goosander (Mergus merganser)

They are called Goosander in Asia and in North America they are known as the Common Merganser.

Japanese Tit
Japanese Tit (Parus minor)

The Japanese Tit are a tiny DNA permutation away from the Great Tit, which extends their range to somewhere like Siberia.

Harlequin Duck
Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)

Ranshima Beach bird list

Mallard
Slaty-backed Gull (Larus schistisgus)
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)
Goosander (Mergus merganser)
Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)
Japanese Tit (Parus minor)

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