wedge-tailed eagle

Raptors

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Accipitridae – hawks, eagles, buzzards, harriers, kites and Old World vultures Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) Swamp Harrier (Circus approximans) Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus) Brahminy More »

hyottoko mask

Japanese Cultural Night #2

Saturday Night Live. Last night I went out to the second Japanese Cultural Night at the Ski-jo up the road(Furano, Hokkaido, Japan). The last one was a few weeks ago so I More »

ski furano

Furano Skiing 3

Skiing at the Furano Zone. I woke up this morning an looked out the window and there was about ten centimeters of fresh snow on the cars. Which was a very good More »

kobe

On to Hokkaido

Arrived in Furano. I am so tired. My eyelids are drooping and my shoulders feel like the weight of the world is upon them. My head feels heavy and I am almost More »

oasis hummingbird

Best Bird of the Year 2010

Best Bird of 2010 I saw a post on 10,000 birds about the best bird of 2010 so I was curious as to what defines the “best” bird of the year. I More »

Pacific Gull

2010 Birding Photography Retrospective

2010 Looking Back Well here we go again. Another year bites the dust. I can remember doing my Overview of 2009 just like it was yesterday. The new year of 2010 started More »

la hoya skiing

South America Overview

South America I flew into Buenos Aries from Sydney after a horrendous 14 hour flight. It took me a few days to readjust my body clock. Meanwhile I was really enjoying going More »

Snowy Egret

More Chicama Surf, Birds

More Surfing and Birds at Chicama, Peru. This morning after my surf at Chicama, I saw an Egret down on the rocks below the hostel. I had seen a couple of them More »

American Oystercatcher

El Chaco, Paracas NP

El Chaco Birding. El chaco is the town and port at the entrance to Paracas Nature Reserve in Southern Peru. This morning after I arrived here, I went for a walk along More »

Andean Lapwing

Bird of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Copacabana and Isla del Sol, Bolivia. The Puna Teal is found on the Andean altiplano. Its Chilean name is Pato puna. They have a black cap that extends to below the eyes. More »

darter

Reg Tanna Park

Gladstone, Queensland.

Reg Tanna Park is just on the outskirts of Gladstone. I was going to the Botanic Gardens but they were having some sort of wanky ecofest so I got out of there quick smart. There was not much there but the birds were used to humans and allowed me to get real close to them and get some interesting shots.

Little Black Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrorax sulcirostris)

Darter
Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)

Little Egret
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Gladstone bird list

Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrorax sulcirostris)
Little Pied Cormorant
Dusky Moorhen
Pacific Black Duck
Australian White Ibis
Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)
Rainbow Lorikeet
Laughing Kookaburra
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

cotton pygmy-goose

St Lawrence Wetlands

Central Queensland Birding.

I did not even know these wetlands were here. I just wanted to find a camp and the St Lawrence Wetlands were just behind the camp. I had no idea. I like it when I find really good things by accident.

Brown Falcon
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)

And some more Cotton Pygmy-goose. They are more widespread than I thought since I first saw them at Mareeba Wetlands.

Cotton Pygmy-goose
Cotton Pygmy-goose (Nettapus coromandelianus)

There were thousands and thousands of Magpie Geese roosting in the billabongs. They made the worst racket at night time.

Magpie Goose
Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata)

I cannot stop taking photos of these beautiful birds.

Comb-crested Jacana
Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea)

I have not seen these gorgeous birds for ages.

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

And finally I have seen the Chestnut-breasted Mannikin. I have been looking for these since Ingham. There were Double-barred Finches around as well which look a little bit similar, but not heaps the same. doh!

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin (Lonchura castaneothorax)

St Lawrence bird list

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin (Lonchura castaneothorax)
Double-barred Finch
Bar-shouldered Dove
Australian Pipit ?
Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis)
Sacred Kingfisher
Grey Fantail
Magpie-lark
Magpie Goose
Cotton Pygmy-goose
Caspian Tern ?
Australasian Grebe
Black Swan
Radjah Shelduck
Pacific Black Duck
Hardhead
Dusky Moorhen
White-necked Heron
White-faced Heron
Australian White Ibis
Straw-necked Ibis
Masked Lapwing
Black-fronted Dotterel
Comb-crested Jacana
Black Kite
Whistling Kite
Swamp Harrier
Brown Falcon
Australian Hobby

eagle

Carmila Beach and Clairview

Central Queensland Birding.

I stopped at Carmila Beach for a quick look but did not find much. There was a creek flowing into the beach. Just a couple of Red-capped Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit. I think it might be better for fishing here.

Carmila Beach
Carmila Beach estuary

Up the road at Clairview was a bit better. I saw these weird little fishes at the head of the creek where it flowed into the ocean. I have no idea what they are. Maybe poddy mullet.

fish
fish

There were a few more birds at Clairview around the mangroves and beach shrubbery. Quite a big mob of these Plum-headed Finch.

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

This Little Bronze-cuckoo was indeed very little. A lot smaller than the other cuckoos.

Little Bronze-cuckoo
Little Bronze-cuckoo (Chalcites minutillus)

Back on the Bruce Highway, I screeched over to the side of the road whilst this pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles cavorted overhead.

Wedge-tailed Eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax)

Then on to St Lawrence, which is an entirely different story….

Carmila and Clairview bird list

Brahminy Kite
Plum-headed Finch (Neochmia modesta)
Little Bronze-cuckoo (Chalcites minutillus)
Brown Honeyeater
Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax)
Red-capped Plover
Bar-tailed Godwit

tourist

Point and Shoot

Random Tourist Photos.

These are my random tourist snaps from the point and shoot camera. I keep forgetting to process them so here they are all higgledy-piggledy. First up is an ant’s nest from around the border of South Australia and the Northern Territory. They have all these furry things around them that look really weird.

Ant nest
Furry ant’s nest

This is Emily Gap from the East Macdonnel Ranges, just near Alice Springs. There was one little puddle of water in the gap but I think most of the water flows underground.

Emily Gap
Emily Gap

Further north in the territory, near Three Ways, is the Devil’s Marbles.

Devil's Marbles
Devil’s Marbles

And here is a panorama shot of the Devil’s Marbles. The country all through the center is very dry and there has been no water for a long time.

Devil's Marbles
Devil’s Marbles panorama.

You can go on a cruise at the Daintree River to see a crocodile. The tide was all wrong when I was there so I gave it a miss. Daintree village is a very nice little place.

Daintree River
Daintree River.

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Muller’s Lagoon

Bowen Birding

Muller’s Lagoon is right in the center of Bowen, right next to the Woolworth’s shopping center. For a newcomer to Australia it would probably be a great place to see a lot of Australian water-birds. I did not seen anything except maybe a Radjah Shelduck but I cannot remember if I have seen one of these or not.

Radjah Shelduck
Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah)

A pair of Hardhead. Also called White-eyed Duck for obvious reasons.

Hardhead
Hardhead (Aythya australis)

I was quite surprised to see lots of Plumed Whistling-ducks.

Plumed Whistling-duck
Plumed Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)

I have not seen one of these for a while.

Red-kneed Dotterel
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus)

And a shot of the Nutmeg Mannikin with some decent light.

Nutmeg Mannikin
Nutmeg Mannikin (Lonchura punctulatus)

Muller’s Lagoon Bird List

Black-winged Stilt
Red-necked Avocet
Red-kneed Dotterel
Magpie Goose
Grey Teal
Pacific Black Duck
Hardhead
Plumed Whistling-duck
Dusky Moorhen
Purple Swamphen
Royal Spoonbill
Australasian Grebe
Crested Pigeon
Rainbow Lorikeet
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Rainbow Bee-eater
Pied Butcherbird
Nutmeg Mannikin

Leaden Flycatcher

Cardwell to Bowen Birding

Cardwell, Queensland.

I missed out on seeing a crocodile off the beach of Cardwell this morning. I rocked up at the tourist information center and then went for a look at the wharf and some guy told me there was a crocodile crusising along the beach. I was a bit skeptical at first but a few others said they saw it too. I was talking to a local aboriginal man and he said that the croc regularly cruises along the beach and that he eats turtles!

Australasian Figbird
Australasian Figbird (Sphecotheres vieilloti flaviventris)

This is the northern “Yellow Figbird”, the flaviventris race of the Australasian Figbird. They have a very yellow front. The other unusual sights I saw were a pair of Pied Oystercatchers on the beach and a Brahminy Kite circling high overhead. There is also a New Guinea pigeon that comes here periodically that is white with black wingtips. (Pied Imperial Pigeon) But I never saw it. There also may be a pair of Beach Stone-curlews at the southern end of Cardwell Beach. But again, never saw ’em. :(

Cardwell bird list

Australasian Figbird
Little Egret
Pied Oystercatcher
White-breasted Woodswallow
Brahminy Kite

Ingham – Tyto Wetlands

This is from the the afternoon session at Tyto Wetlands. I forgot to add it to the other lot. doh! A tick for the Nutmeg Mannikin.

Nutmeg Mannikin
Nutmeg Mannikin (Lonchura punctulata)

Ayr – Plantation Park – Juru Walk

I was quite surprised to see the Olive-backed Sunbird here at Ayr. I had seen this bird in South-east Asia before and I knew that we had only one sunbird. But maybe I had not seen a male before with its black chin and bright yellow colors. Also called Yellow-bellied Sunbird.

Olive-backed Sunbird
Olive-backed Sunbird (Nectarina jugularis)

I think he is sticking out his tongue here! I guess it is for sucking up nectar from the flowers.

Olive-backed Sunbird
Olive-backed Sunbird (Nectarina jugularis)

Here is a reasonable shot of a Blue-winged Kookaburra, mainly because other ones have been a bit dark.

Blue-winged Kookaburra
Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii)

I walked across the Burdekin River bridge but there was not much below. Just a heap of Pacific Black Ducks and a few Comb-crested Jacana.

Ayr bird list

Olive-backed Sunbird (Nectarina jugularis)
Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii)
Yellow Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Leaden Flycatcher
Whistling Kite
Black Kite
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Rainbow Bee-eater
Peaceful Dove
Sacred Kingfisher
Olive-backed Oriole
Australian Pelican
Little Pied Cormorant
Noisy Friarbird

Cape Edgecumbe – Bowen

Arriving in Bowen, I went to Cape Edgecumbe, hoping to see some boobys or frigatebirds but all I got was this great shot showing the big schnoz of the Helmeted Friarbird.

Helmeted Friarbird
Helmeted Friarbird (Philemon buceroides)

Later, I am going to Muller’s Lagoon for a look.

tyto

Tyto Wetlands Redux

North Queensland Birding.

Well here I am back in Ingham and digging around in the Tyto Wetlands. I love the place. I saw some Green Pygmy-goose this afternoon. I did not see them last time. And I saw some mannikins I think. Not sure exactly what they are until I have a good look at them. Nutmeg Mannikin. And Cotton Pygmy-goose. Amazing!

Little Egret
Little Egret

This morning I got up early before sunrise and even did not have breakfast or a cup of coffee! And it was cold and wet grass. At least when the sun came up I got some good light unlike the last time I was here with overcast skies and bad bad light.

Australasian Figbird
Australasian Figbird (Sphecotheres vieilloti flaviventris)

This is the northern “Yellow Figbird”, the flaviventris race of the Australasian Figbird. They have a very yellow front.

Spangled Drongo
Spangled Drongo

Comb-crested Jacana
Comb-crested Jacana

Red-backed Fairy-wren
Red-backed Fairy-wren

This Red-backed Fairy-wren mob were huddled up against the cold. brrr.

Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo
Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo (Chalcites basalis)

The Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo has a rufous edge along the tail feathers.

Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo
Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo (Chalcites basalis)

And the bars on the chest do not go all the way across. Not sure why one has a red eye and the other a white eye?

Fan-tailed Cuckoo
Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Green Pygmy-goose
Green Pygmy-goose

This is the male and female in good light.

Ingham bird list

Spangled Drongo
Red-backed Finch
Straw-necked Ibis
Australian White Ibis
Royal Spoonbill
Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Great Egret
Little Egret
Magpie Goose
Hardhead
Pacific Black Duck
Wandering Whistling-duck
Green Pygmy-goose
Cotton Pygmy-goose
Comb-crested Jacana
White-breasted Woodswallow
Brown Honeyeater
Yellow Honeyeater
White-gaped Honeyeater
Peaceful Dove
Bar-shouldered Dove
Black-fronted Dotterel
Magpie-lark
Helmeted Friarbird
Red-browed Finch
Crimson Finch
Nutmeg Mannikin (Lonchura punctulata)
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin ?
Australasian Figbird
Australian Pelican
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Rufous Whistler
Olive-backed Oriole
Leaden Flycatcher
Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo (Chalcites basalis)
Fan-tailed Cuckoo
Rainbow Bee-eater

scarlet honeyeater

Abattoir Swamp Birding

Julatten, Queensland.

Abattoir Swamp is between Mount Molloy and Julatten on the Atherton Tablelands in Far Northern Queensland. I stumbled upon it by accident. I was just driving past and I saw the sign and said to myself “Hey, didn’t I read something about this place?”.

Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops)

So I stopped and walked to the hide which was closed and in disrepair, so I morosely trudged back and heard a few birds feeding in the eucalpyt buds and they just kept coming on and on. Finally I ended up with four new birds. This place is extraordinary. There are honeyeater everywhere. I think I counted about seven different species of honeyeaters. Amazing.

White-throated Honeyeater
White-throated Honeyeater (Melithreptus albogularis)

The only difference from the White-naped Honeyeater is that the black from the head extends under the bill on the White-naped Honeyeater.

Northern Fantail
Northern Fantail (Rhipidura rufiventris)

No white ear markings on the Northern Fantail and heaps less hyperactive. Works more like a flycatcher than a fantail

Macleay's Honeyeater
Macleay’s Honeyeater (Xanthotis macleayana)

I thought this was a Regent Honeyeater at first but after a good look concluded what it was. This is a very localised bird and endemic to this area.

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

These are heaps common down south all the way along the coast.

Scarlet Honeyeater
Scarlet Honeyeater (Myzomela sanguinolenta)

The Scarlet Honeyeater is one of the most beautiful birds evah!

Abattoir Swamp bird list

Peaceful Dove
Brown Honeyeater
Northern Fantail (Rhipidura rufiventris)
Lewin’s Honeyeater (Meliphaga lewinii)
White-throated Honeyeater (Melithreptus albogularis)
White-cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris nigra)
Scarlet Honeyeater (Myzomela sanguinolenta)
Macleay’s Honeyeater (Xanthotis macleayana)
Yellow-faced Honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops)
Yellow Honeyeater (Lichenostomus flavus)
Pheasant Coucal ?

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Mareeba Wetlands

Far North Queensland Birding.

The Mareeba Wetlands is about ten kilometers north of Mareeba. Well worth a visit if only for the both species of Pygmy-goose that they have here. I went for a walk around the lagoon, then headed inland past the wash section of the pandanus trail and up the hill. This seemed to be a better area than around the lagoon. After the walk, I went for a boat ride on the lagoon. It is only $15, so well worth it to get up close to the birds. The boat has an electric motor, so it is very quiet.

emu
Emu

This Darter drying its wings had the most amazing colours.

darter
Darter

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

Cotton Pygmy-goose
Cotton Pygmy-goose (Nettapus coromandelianus)

The Cotton Pygmy-goose is relatively rare from what the guide at the wetlands tells me. Something like about a thousand pairs of birds. Recently about half a dozen have been coming to the Mareeba Wetlands, so that is a good sign.

Green Pygmy-goose
Green Pygmy-goose (Nettapus pulchellus)

The Green Pygmy-goose is very different from the Cotton Pygmy-goose. It has a green patch at the back of the neck and very scalloped body plumage, unlike the cotton which has a mostly white body. But both ducks are only seen in the far north of Australia.

Black-throated Finch
Black-throated Finch (Poephila cincta)

A pair of Black-throated Finch were hanging around very quietly at the wash section of the pandanus trail. They were hiding amongst the leaves in their tree and not making much noise at all. I was lucky to see them on the way back from my walk.

Mareeba Wetlands bird list

Rufous Whistler
Peaceful Dove
Emu
Darter
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Mistletoebird
Double-barred Finch
Black-throated Finch (Poephila cincta)
Laughing Kookaburra
White-winged Triller (Lalage tricolor)
Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis)
Rainbow Bee-eater
Striated Pardalote
White-breasted woodswallow
Straw-necked Ibis
Black Swan

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From Mission Beach to Atherton Highlands

Far North Queensland Birding.

I started off towards Mission Beach looking for a Cassowary, but no dice. I stopped at Licuala picnic area , Djiru National Park and went for a walk along the track. The weather was appalling. Overcast and raining. I saw nothing except and Brown Cuckoo-dove and a Leaden Flycatcher.

Brown Cuckoo-dove
Brown Cuckoo-dove (Macropygia amboinensis)

After lunch at Malanda, I turned off to the Bromfield Swamp and thought I had seen a Sarus Crane but it turned out to be a Jabiru. :( Discouraged, I headed for the Nyleta Wetland – Hasties Swamp National Park. And lo and behold there were thousands and billions of Plumed Whistling-ducks. tick!

Plumed Whistling-duck
Plumed Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)

This one obliged my by standing on a post and posing classically.

Plumed Whistling-duck
Plumed Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)

And this is one in flight. Nice.

Plumed Whistling-duck
Plumed Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)

bird list

Black-necked Stork, Jabiru (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus)
Cattle Egret
Plumed Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)
Pacific Black Duck
Brown Cuckoo-dove
Leaden Flycatcher
Australasian Grebe