Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

May 27, 2013

Lake Cathie Birds

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 1:18 am

Mid-north Coast Birding.

Lake Cathie is situated half-way between Port Macquarie and Laurieton on the coast of New South Wales. There is a lake that empties out into the ocean that is surrounded by coastal heath and swampy ti-tree country.

Common Tern
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

These Common Terns were fishing in the lake, close to where the entrance went out to the sea. At first I thought they were Little Terns but the black caps were all wrong.

Pelican  eye
Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspiculatus)

Close-up of Australian Pelican eye. Just because I could and it was so close.

Pelican beak
Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspiculatus)

And again, because I was so close, I could get a shot of the tip of its bill, with a very interesting hook on the end of it. I am not sure what the function of the hook is, possibly to hang on to fish with, doh!

Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

There were about nine immature Bar-tailed Godwit on a little lagoon near the beach. They were young ones that had been left behind, too little to fly with the adults to Siberia. Maybe next year.

Caspian Tern
Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)

A couple of Caspian Terns, non-breeding, and a Silver Gull.

Lake Cathie bird list

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Crested Tern
Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)
Silver Gull
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Triglossus chlorolepidotus)
Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspiculatus)
Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)
Australian Wood-duck
Masked Lapwing
Noisy Miner
Pied Butcherbird
Willy Wagtail
Great Egret
Australian White Ibis
White-faced Heron
Pied Cormorant
Welcome Swallow
Rainbow Lorikeet
Magpie-lark
Pied Oystercatcher
Sooty Oystercatcher
Australian Raven
Australian Magpie

May 23, 2013

Crescent Head Birds

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 1:12 am

Limeburners Creek National Park.

This is the other end of Limeburners Creek National Park. These photos are from Big Hill. You get here from Crescent Head, along the road to Point Plomer. The creek here is very dark with Ti-Tree discolouration. And there are millions of mosquitos, even in daytime.

Lewin's Honeyeater
Lewin’s Honeyeater (Meliphaga lewinii)

Lewin’s Honeyeater are very common along the east coast of Australia.

Little Wattlebird
Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera)

Little Wattlebirds are also common along the coastal heaths of Eastern Australia.

Australasian Grebe - winter plumage
Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)

This is the Australasian Grebe in winter plumage, without the yellow stripe below the eye.

Crescent Head bird list

Lewin’s Honeyeater (Meliphaga lewinii)
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Spangled Drongo
Pied Butcherbird
Australian Pelican
Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera)
Great Cormorant – breeding
Pied Cormorant
Hardhead (Aythya australis)
Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) – winter plumage
Black Swan
White-necked Heron
White-faced Heron
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Masked Lapwing
Australian Magpie
Magpie-lark
Laughing Kookaburra
Crested Tern
Silver Gull
Australasian Gannet
Australian White Ibis
Straw-necked Ibis
Superb Fairy-wren

May 18, 2013

Look At Me Now Wildlife

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:02 am

Emerald Beach.

Emerald Beach is just north of Coffs Harbour on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. There is a nice beach with a headland walk. Look At Me Now Headland is where they wanted to put in a sewerage outfall in the early nineties, but was stopped because of vigorous protest.

White-cheeked Honeyeater
White-cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)

Coastal heaths are standard habitat for White-cheeked Honeyeaters and you will very often see them at the beach flying around manically, high on nectar from the bottle-brushes, wattles and banksia blooms. This one has got what looks like a dragon-fly in his mouth. They are very similar to the New Holland Honeyeater which has a white ring around the eye and a smaller white cheek patch.

juvenile Mistletoebird
Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinacaem)

This Mistletoebird is either a female or a juvenile. I am leaning towards juvenile mainly because of the possible light gape around the bill and the duller orange butt patch.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo
Eastern Grey Kangaroo

There are lots of Eastern Grey Kangaroos out on the headland, grazing on the grass. This one had a joey in the pouch, who was bouncing along with mum and eating the grass when she stopped for a nibble.

Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen)

I just had to put this photo in. I love the water and island in the background. Something different. Consider this my arty shot.

Emerald Beach
Homo sapiens

This is a typical juvenile coastal Homo sapiens in its natural habitat.

Australian Pipit
Australian Pipit (Anthus australis)

Maybe half a dozen Australian Pipits were feeding on the Emerald Beach headland and hopping around in the rocky areas. I usually see them on grassy patches or roads. They are also fairly common in South-east Asia, where it is difficult to distinguish them from the Paddyfield Pipit.

Emerald Beach Bird List

Australian Pipit (Anthus australis)
Osprey
Australian Raven
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo
White-cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)
Little Wattlebird
Sooty Oystercatcher
White-faced Heron
Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinacaem) – female or juvenile
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen)
Superb Fairy-wren

May 15, 2013

Caloundra Birding

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Shelley Beach.

This morning I went back to Shelley Beach in Caloundra. I had been here a few years ago and saw both morphs of the Reef Egret as well as Wandering Tattlers. But none this time. But it was still a fruitful trip. The Ospreys are still there in their big nest along the water-front.

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena)

These Welcome Swallows were hawking on the rock platform.

Crested Tern
Crested Tern (Sterna bergii)

This is a non-breeding Crested Tern. you can see the mottled black at the front of the forehead. To me, he seems like an immature bird, playing with his food.

Spangled Drongo
Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus)

In the bushes just up from the beach.

Caloundra Bird List

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Noisy Miner
Pied Butcherbird
Australian White Ibis
Australasian Gannet
Silver Gull
Crested Tern (Sterna bergii)
Spangled Drongo
Osprey
Welcome Swallow
Australian Magpie
Australian Raven
Eastern Whipbird
Feral Pigeon
Intermediate Egret
White-faced Heron
Pied Cormorant
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

May 13, 2013

Queensland Birding

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Ban Ban Springs, Queensland.

Ban Ban Springs in west of Bundaberg in Queensland. There is an actual spring bubbling out of the ground. There are lots of birds around the waters, both water-birds and bush birds.

Restless Flycatcher
Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra alecto)

You can hear these from miles away, with their distinctive scissor-grinder call.

Plumed Whistling-Duck
Plumed Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)

This mob stayed in the same spot nearly all day.

female Red-backed Fairy-wren
female Red-backed Fairy-wren (Malurus melanocephalus)

I walked along the road and heard fairy-wrens chirping away. I was delighted to find that they were Red- backed Fairy-wrens. I have been wanting to get a photo of these darling for years.

male Red-backed Fairy-wren
male Red-backed Fairy-wren (Malurus melanocephalus)

And the male. What a beauty!

Apostlebird
Apostlebird (Struthera cinerea)

I love Apostlebirds. They are my favourite bird. They always come up right close and check me out.

male Plum-headed Finch
male Plum-headed Finch (Neochmia modesta)

There were Double-barred Finch as well as Plum-headed Finch. This one is a male with the dark patch under the chin.

Forest Kingfisher
Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii)

These are the most beautiful blue colour.

Striated Pardalote
Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus melanocephalus)

Race melanocephalus from Queensland. No striping under the chin.

Ban Ban Springs Bird List

Plumed Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)
Australasian Figbird (Sphecotheres vieilloti)
Double-barred Finch
Plum-headed Finch
Great Egret
Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra alecto)
Dusky Moorhen
Hardhead
Red-backed Fairy-wren (Malurus melanocephalus)
Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii)
Apostlebird (Struthera cinerea)
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Nankeen Night-heron
Australasian Grebe
Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus melanocephalus)
Striped Honeyeater
Willy Wagtail
Grey Fantail
Purple Swamphen
Australian White Ibis
Great Egret
Black Kite
Australian Crow
Laughing Kookaburra
Eurasian Coot
Hardhead
Pacific Black Duck
Australian Magpie
Galah
Magpie-lark
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Dusky Moorhen
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
White-browed Scrubwren
Nankeen Night-heron
Australasian Grebe
Striped Honeyeater
Satin Flycatcher
Black-fronted Dotterel
Welcome Swallow
Spotted Turtle-dove

May 10, 2013

Kingscliff Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:39 am

Cudgen Creek.

The first shot is from Evans Head where I managed to get some shots of a pair of Masked Lapwing chicks.

Masked Lapwing chick
Masked Lapwing chick (Vanellus miles)

Cudgen Creek is at Kingscliff on the far north coast of New South Wales. I have been there previously a couple of years ago and it is a fantastic site for birding. It is almost winter and there are still quite a large variety of birds around here. And I never even ventured into the rain-forest section this time!

Pied Cormorant with fish
Pied Cormorant ( Phalacrocorax varius)

This Pied Cormorant was having a hard time swallowing this good sized fish. I do not know what it is – maybe some kind of rock cod. A Pelican was hanging around hoping that he would drop it. 🙂

Australasian Figbird
Australasian Figbird (Sphecotheres vieilloti)

These figbirds have a very distinctive red eye patch.

Brown Honeyeater
Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta)

I have been trying for days to work out what these small honeyeaters were. They are about half the size of most of the other honeyeaters and have a yellow stripe going right through the eye. I hope I have got the identification right. They were hanging around the banksias along the river.

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

There was a large flock around the mangroves along the creek. There must have been more than fifty Rainbow Bee-eaters hawking over the tops of the mangrove trees. I have never seen anything like it before.

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

I cannot resist a shot of a Rainbow Bee-eater in flight.

Striated Heron
Striated Heron (Butorides striata)

This Striated Heron got a fish. I have seen these birds in Malaysia where they are called Little Herons.

Cudgen Creek bird list

Little black Cormorant
Pied Cormorant ( Phalacrocorax varius)
Crested Pigeon
Spotted Turtle-dove
White-faced Heron
Masked Lapwing
Osprey
Pied Currawong
Australasian Figbird (Sphecotheres vieilloti)
Pied Oystercatcher
Sooty Oystercatcher
Magpie-lark
Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus)
Rainbow Lorikeet
Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta)
Australian Pelican
Silver Gull
Striated Heron (Butorides striata)
Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa)
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Australian Crow
Willy Wagtail
Sulphur-crested White-cockatoo
Noisy Miner
Australian White Ibis
Galah
Australian Magpie
Crested Tern
Little Egret
Welcome Swallow
Eastern Whipbird
Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus)

May 7, 2013

Far North Coast Birds

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Iluka Breakwater.

This morning it was raining and miserable at Iluka breakwater. The birds were all sopping wet. You can tell by all their wet feathers.

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

A couple of Blue-faced Honeyeaters were sitting on a dead tree on the beach. Sopping wet. I have been seeing quite a few of them up the north coast. I never noticed them so much the last time I was up here.

Grey Butcherbird
Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus)

This Grey Butcherbird was wet and miserable as well.

Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)

I took some photos of the surfers at the breakwater and then this Brahminy Kite came cruising by really close to me. Lucky I got this one because I had my camera packed away and had to rush to get it out and just shoot away. Good luck or good management. ha ha. 🙂

North Coast Surfing

Filed under: Surfing — Tags: — admin @ 4:27 am

Esky Lids.

Here are some photos of body-boarders from this morning. It was raining and miserable, so the light was not too good. The waves make up for it, though.

Take-off
The Take Off

Tubed
Getting tubed

Getting Air
Air

May 3, 2013

Nambucca Heads Birds

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Nambucca River Boardwalk.

I stopped at the side of the Nambucca River for breakfast this morning and saw a few birds flitting around the casuarinas. After my morning muesli, I got out the camera and went for a walk along the board-walk that goes along the river. The birds I originally saw, I was unable to identify. They were something like Lewin’s Honeyeater or a Yellow-faced Honeyeater, but I was unable to make a satisfactory identification.

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

I did see a bunch of Blue-faced Honeyeaters feeding on these gorgeous bottle-brushes by the side of the road.

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

The juvenile Blue-faced Honeyeaters have an olive-yellow facial skin around the eye instead of the adult bright blue.
Little Wattlebird

Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera)

The Little Wattlebirds were also having a feed on the bottle-brushes. They have the most beautiful streaking on the chests and wings.

Nambucca Heads birds

Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis)
Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera)
Australian Pelican
Crested Pigeon
Magpie-lark
Silver Gull
Pacific Black Duck
Pied Butcherbird

May 2, 2013

Crescent Head

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 4:55 am

Birds and Surfing.

I spent all yesterday in Kempsey getting a few things from the shops and getting all my internet stuff done at the library. I headed out early to Crescent Head, which is about twenty kilometers east of Kempsey. The waves were tiny so I took the camera for a walk and saw a few interesting birds.

Sooty Oystercatcher
Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosis)

There are two sub-species of Sooty Oystercatcher. The nominate subspecies is in most of coastal Australia and opthalmicus is found along the northern coast. They prefer rocky coastlines and feed on mussels, limpets, chitons and sometimes sea urchins. They open them by pecking strongly with their powerful bills.

Eastern Reef Egret, grey morph
Eastern Reef Egret (Egretta sacra) – Grey morph

Some people seem to have trouble distinguishing the grey morph from the White-faced Heron but there is a superficial similarity but they are easy to spot the difference. The grey morph Eastern Reef Egret has darker plumage and no white on the face. They are strictly saltwater birds and are usually found on rock shelfs and rocky shores along the ocean and estuaries.

Crescent Head
Crescent Head surfing

Here is the set-up. The surf was tiny, not even a foot. But still there were nearly a dozen guys out trying to flummox around in the waves.

Crescent Heads Bird List

Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosis)
Eastern Reef Egret (Egretta sacra) – Grey morph
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Osprey
Silver Gull
Noisy Miner
Pied Butcherbird
Australasian Gannet
Crested Tern
Crested Pigeon
Spotted Turtle-dove

Sources:
“Shorebirds of Australia” by Geering, Agnew and Harding.
“Herons, Egrets and Bitterns” by Neil McKilligan.

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