Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

December 14, 2011

Galgabba Point Return

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 11:52 am

Back to the Roots.

I am now back in Newcastle for a few days. This morning I got on the push-bike and treadled down to Galgabba Point to have a walk along the track. The first thing I spotted was some weird fungi that were growing out of the path.

White Fungi
Fungi

Then I walked further down the track past the Bellbird colony. I spotted a lot of blue objects in the bush to the side of the track, so I walked in to investigate. At first I thought it was an old bower of a Satin Bowerbird, but I did spot a male bowerbird up in the tree near the bower and heard him grizzling for a while. There was a Whipbird going off right next to it.

Satin Bowerbird Bower
Satin Bowerbird bower

The Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) male has striking glossy blue-black feathers, a pale bluish-white bill and a bright violet-blue iris. Females are olive green with scalloped green and dark fronts. They are found along the east coast of Australia and prefer wetter forest. They feed mostly on fruits and insects. The male decorates a bower built of sticks and collects blue objects to spread around outside to lure any impressionable females.

Bower
Satin Bowerbird bower

The video I took is mostly relevant for the audio of the Eastern Whipbird call, as well as the calls of the Bell Miners that are constantly calling.


Whipbird, Bell Miner Audio with Bower

I walked the rest of the way to the lake but did not manage to spot many birds except a mob of Red-browed Finch.

Lake Macquarie
Lake Macquarie

Galgabba Point bird list

Little Wattlebird
Noisy Miner
Australian Magpie
Crested Pigeon
Red-browed Finch
Bell Miner
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Eastern Whipbird
Black Swan
Australian Pelican
Eastern Whipbird

March 21, 2010

Swansea Bird Photography

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 2:23 am

Galgabba Point

21st March, 2010.

And it was another old favourite for me this morning. Galgabba Point is at the corner of Marks Street and the old Pacific Highway in Swansea, Lake Macqurie. The bush regeneration team have done an amazing job. They just keep getting better and better. Well done Sharon and the crew!

When I first got there I saw Little Wattlebirds, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike and Noisy Miners at the entrance near the street. As I went further in to the bush, I spotted a few New Holland Honeyeaters and a female Satin Bowerbird. I also managed to get some good looks at an Eastern Whipbird who looked like he was feeding on the fruit of the lantana bushes. I was very happy to see a few Mistletoebirds, who were sitting up quite nicely and doing some great singing.

Mistletoebird
Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum)

I also spotted some Little Lorikeets, so that is a good sign for the habitat. A pair of Scaly-breasted Lorikeets flew into this knot in a tree and went right inside for quite a while. I was thinking it was a nest, but I am not totally sure.

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus)

Interestingly the Scaly-breasted Lorikeet sometimes hybridises with the Rainbow Lorikeet. You can identify it by the all green head and the red bill.

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus)

Galgabba Point bird list 21/3/10

Little Wattlebird
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Noisy Miner
Spotted Turtle-dove
New Holland Honeyeater
Satin Bowerbird
Eastern Whipbird
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Australian Raven
Rainbow Lorikeet
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Little Lorikeet
Mistletoebird
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Bell Miner
White-browed Scrubwren
Eastern Spinebill
Silvereye
Grey Fantail
Lewins Honeyeater
Intermediate Egret
Black Swan
Australian Pelican
Australian White Ibis
Yellow Thornbill
Eastern Rosella

Stockton Sandspit

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:42 am

Stockton Sandspit

Well it was back to the sandspit for another time. I missed the tide going out and was too late. The tide was too far out and the birds were a long way out on the mud-flats. The best time is two hours after high tide. But anyway, I went ahead to have a look what was out there. Mostly there were some Bar-tailed Godwits as well as quite a few Black-tailed Godwits. The only way I can tell the godwits apart is from the black tip on the end of the Black-tailed Godwit’s tail. Also the Bar-tailed Godwit bill is a little bit more turned up.

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

There were also quite a few Red-necked Stints. I was having a few problems identifying them at first but after having a good look at their bills and seeing the black stripe on the tail, I was pretty sure that they were Red-necked Stints. And also the size.

Red-necked Stints
Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis)

Stockton Sandspit bird list 16/3/10

Rock Dove
Caspian Tern
Little Tern
Crested Tern
Bar-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit
Australian White Ibis
Silver Gull
White-faced Heron
Whimbrel
Australian Pelican
Red-capped Plover
Pied Oystercatcher
Great Egret
Superb Fairy-wren
Red-necked Stint

December 29, 2009

Cooranbong Bird Photography 091229

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , , — admin @ 6:26 am

Sandy Creek Walk, Cooranbong

Two days in a row that I could get outside and take some photos!

Awesome. This morning I actually got up early, had breakfast and went to Sandy Creek Walk at Cooranbong. It is just past the Sanitarium factory and starts at the Swinging Bridge, which goes over Dora Creek. I had a look at the trees in the paddock at the start. There were quite a few magpies and swallows and Noisy Miners. There was a lot of squwarking going on, so I had a closer look. There were a few Dollarbirds flying around, so I assumed that they had a nest somewhere in the trees.

Dollarbird
Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)

Then all of a sudden a baby Dollarbird fell out of the tree and on to the grass on the other side of the fence. The adult Dollarbirds started freaking out and dive bombing me. I did not know what to do. I had a look around to see if there were any Currawongs or other birds that might eat it. There were a couple of magpies that came along to have a look. I am not sure if they eat baby birds. I have no idea. They might do opportunistically, but I think they mainly eat grubs. Well, the adults had a go at the magpies if they got too close.

Dollarbird

I did not know what to do so I backed off and let nature take its course. Perhaps I should have called Wires or taken the bird to animal rescue. I do not know what to do in that situation. I am inclined not to interfere in nature. Well, anyway, enough of the moral quandry rigmarole. I continued on down the track along the creek and just missed out on getting a photo of an osprey with some prey. There were too many trees in the way. I was cursing profusely, let me confess that. The Osprey settled in a tree over the other side of Dora Creek where it joins Sandy Creek. He started feeding on what looked like a fish, probably a mullet, as there are heaps in the creek at the moment.

Sandy Creek goes around in a semi-circle and I managed to spot a Fan-tailed Cuckoo, some Super Fairy-wrens, Red-browed Finches and a Red-bellied Black Snake. On the way back I spotted a Darter drying itself out.

Darter
Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)

Back near the starting point, I spotted a Common Myna flying across the paddock, so I tried to get some photos of it. I quite like this photo. But I am biased, I guess.

Common Myna
Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)

Sandy Creek Walk bird list 29/12/09

Australian Wood Duck
Darter
Australian Magpie
Welcome Swallow
Noisy Miner
Eastern Rosella
Dollarbird
Superb Fairy-wren
Osprey
Fan-tailed Cuckoo
Eastern Whipbird
Silvereye
Red-browed Finch
Pacific Black Duck
Australian White Ibis
Bell Miner
Common Myna
Masked Lapwing
Rock Dove
Laughing Kookaburra
Galah

December 15, 2009

Tomago Wetlands 091215

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , , — admin @ 5:49 am

Tomago Wetlands Wader Survey

It was lucky I remembered the survey today. I just remembered last night late. This morning I got up nice and early and headed off to Ash Island to have a look at the pond on the corner to see if there were any crakes or rails hanging around. The pond had no water at all in it. There was a crake but I was not paying attention and by the time that I saw it, it had shot off into the reeds. I walked over the hard-baked mud that was the pond to have a closer look at the reeds and to see what was around the corner. Not much, as it turned out except a couple of Australian Reed-warblers.

So, I gave that a miss and headed off to the rendezvous at Tomago House. Whilst waiting there were a pair of Dollarbirds that were flying in and out of a nest in a hollow. There were a few magpies flapping around and a single Channel-billed Cuckoo flew past screeching its hideous lament. Eventually we all set off to the Tomago Wetlands and stopped at the water sluices or gates. There was hardly anything around. Not a skerrick. We usually see some Mistletoebirds, Brown Honeyeaters, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and thornbills but they were all conspicuous by their absence.

We headed off down to the rice paddy to see what was in that. A few of us walked through the middle of the paddock to flush any snipe or bitterns. But there was nothing. It was very dry, but. So that may have had something to do with the lack of birds. We did however manage to see some Golden-headed Cisticolas. This one looks like he slipped and almost fell flat on his face. Whoops!

Woops!
Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis)

After that lame escapade we went around to the far western paddock and had a look at that. There were a few Swamp Harriers and a Black-shouldered Kite hovering overhead, as well as about a hundred or so White-throated Needletails who were wheeling above us hunting for some brunch.

White-throated Needletail
White-throated Needletail (Hirundapus caudacutus)

There was not much else. While the beaters walked through the scrub, I sat down for a rest, and nearly fell asleep. That is how exciting it was today!

Well, at least we did see a few birds this morning and here is my list:

Tomago Wetlands bird list 15/12/09

Australian Magpie
Dollarbird
Masked Lapwing
White-faced Heron
Channel-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Rosella
Chestnut Teal
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Swamp Harrier
Black-shouldered Kite
Little Grassbird
Australian Reed-warbler
Cattle Egret
Superb Fairy-wren
White-throated Needletail
Australian White Ibis
Fairy Martin
Willy Wagtail

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