Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

January 11, 2010

The Drip Gorge, Goulburn River

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 6:42 am

The Drip Gorge, Goulburn River

11th January, 2010.

After the heat of yesterday at the Travelling Stock Route between Mudgee and Gulgong, today was a blessed relief with overcast skies and lots cooler weather. I drove to Gulgong and stopped off to buy some bread and had a beer at the rustic pub across the road. A thunderstorm was brewing towards the north and I saw a few flashes of lightning. I reached The Drip Gorge on the banks of the Goulburn River and read my book for a while before the rain came pelting down.

Just on dusk I saw something fly into a tree near me. It was making a low “oom oom” call so I thought it might have been a bronzewing because I have been sucked in before with this sub-bass snarl call. But when I had a good look, I saw that it was some kind of owl. I ran and grabbed the camera and took a few photos with my onboard flash. I don’t have a spotlight but I do not how how I could have used it by myself, anyway. The photos came out too dark, so I had to bump the exposure up by about 2 stops. I think this is a Tawny Frogmouth, but I really do not have a clue. Can you tell me what it is?

Owl, ID please.
Tawny Frogmouth, Marbled Frogmouth ? ID please?

The next morning I had a relaxing breakfast and let the birds come to me. I was feeling very lazy this morning. I was not even going to take out the camera, but I saw this Noisy Friarbird with his dinner. I have no idea what it is. It looks like some massive spider or something, or a fish? But I thought they were honey eaters and did not eat animals/bugs etc.. He seemed to be posing with it, saying “Look what I got, aren’t I clever?”.

Noisy Friarbird
Noisy Friarbird

There were a couple of other birds – an Olive-backed Oriole, a few honeyeaters and a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, but that was about it. Oh, and a male Superb Fairy-wren who came right up to me when I was eating my muesli. He was about less than a metre from me. Maybe he wanted a cuppa tea? I eventually finished my desultory bird watching episode and headed off down the road. At the Golden Highway, I thudded to a halt because I saw a Wedge-tailed Eagle over the highway. I jumped out, grabbed my camera and hurriedly guessed my exposure setting and shot away. The back lighting was pretty horrendous and I was way underexposed, so I cranked up the contrast just a bit too much I think. What do you reckon? hmmm.

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

Anyhow, here is a shot of the under side of the wings with the contrast not so extreme. You can see how washed out it looks. Its a shame because its the closest I have been to them. doh!

Wedge-tailed Eagle

Tomorrow I should be back in Newcastle and in the morning I might have a look at Walka Water Works which is to the north of Maitland, where I am right now.

November 6, 2009

Goulburn River NP Bird Photography 091029

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:36 am

Goulburn River National Park Bird Photography, 29th to 30th October, 2009.

They should rename the Wollemi National Park to the Wollemi Desert, it is so dead. Every time I have been there it has been devoid of bird life. Except for the Pied Currawongs that wanted to steal my breakfast and some cockatoos, that was it at Honeysuckle Creek as I packed up and headed off to the Goulburn River National Park.

I had no idea how to get there and luckily saw the sign at Wollar. The road in is pretty horrendous. When I got to Spring Gully camp it was worth it. There is a terrific camping spot by the river with a wonderful view of some cliffs along the river. There were heaps of Welcome Swallows flying around so I tried to get some photos of them. Not very successfully, but maybe some will be usable(no they weren’t).

Butterfly and Bee
Monarch Butterfly and Bee

I went for a walk along the river and it was hard going at times. There were a few ducks and some Little Pied Cormorants. There were quite a few carp in the river. I also saw some at Bowmans Crossing in the Hunter River. They really are a major problem.

I ended up at a dead end along the river and could not get any further so I came back and climbed up to the top of the bank where I spotted some male and female Rufous Whistlers singing up a storm. hmmm, I am not sure if female Rufous Whistlers sing or not. Must find that out.

Buff-rumped Thornbill
Buff-rumped Thornbill

Later on this afternoon I am going to walk to Big River camp – you need a four wheel drive to get there – ooh aah. Hopefully I will see more this afternoon because it has been a bit light on so far. 🙁

A bit better but still not brilliant. I walked from the Spring Gully camp to the Big River camp later on that afternoon. I saw a few birds along the first part of the track, like Laughing Kookaburra, Pied Currawong. And then I spotted an Olive-backed Oriole and a Mistletoebird.

Olive-backed Oriole (Oriolus sagittatus)

On top of the ridge near the Kellys Gap Fire Trail a pair of magpies were defending their territory from some White-winged Choughs.

When I got to the Big River camp I saw lots of either Noisy Miners or Yellow-throated Miners. I can’t tell which yet. I have to look at the book. Back at camp a few Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike flew down towards the river and a pair of Jacky Winter bedded down for the night right near my camp. How exciting. 🙂

The next morning I am up early, had breakfast and hot chocolate and I am up the road to the Big River camp. UP the hill I spy a Noisy Friarbird drinking sap from a eucalypt tree. I have never seen that before, but it makes complete sense to me.

Noisy Friarbird
Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus)

I took the turnoff going in to Kellys Gap Fire Trail. There were quite a few thornbills as well as Rufous Whistlers. There were a colony of White-winged Choughs who were giving the alarm when I approached them. They make this clicking sound with their tongues sort of like the Kalahari Bushmen’s glottal stop. Xhosa I think the language is called.

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

Goulburn River National Park bird list 29-30/10/09

White-eared Honeyeater
White-browed Scrubwren
Eastern Rosella
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Eastern Spinebill
Pacific Black Duck
Little Pied Cormorant
Grey Teal
Rufous Whistler
Welcome Swallow
Magpie-lark
Noisy Miner
Laughing Kookaburra
Pied Currawong
Olive-backed Oriole
Mistletoebird
Australian Magpie
White-winged Chough
White-faced Heron
Crested Pigeon
Noisy Friarbird
Australian Raven
Willy Wagtail
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Jacky Winter
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Grey Fantail
Eastern Yellow Robin

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