Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

January 24, 2016

Wedge-tailed Eagle

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:34 pm

Aquila audax

I got stuck about 30 kilometers north of Jerilderie because of a broken fan belt so I had to call the NRMA to tow me back into Jerilderie and wait all day for the parts to get freighted from Shepparton. Finally I got away after 5pm. And just after the turn-off to Kidman Way, I spotted a Wedgie on a tree by the side of the road.

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

So I stops and he flies off down the road a ways and settles on another tree. I follow him and he flies off again but luckily he circles me so I could get a few photos of him. I think it is an immature bird. Immature and sub-adult Wedge-tailed Eagles are browner and patchier than dark adults.

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

July 2, 2010

Galgabba Point 100702

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 6:05 am

Galgabba Point

The Galgabba Point regeneration project at Swansea has been going really well and the work they are doing clearing the weeds such as lantana and Bitou Bush has been fantastic. This morning I went for a walk around to see what birds I could find. Around the entrance area there were heaps of White-cheeked Honeyeaters high up in the trees making lots of ruckus. There were a couple of Little Wattlebirds and Grey Fantail. Some Sulpur-crested Cockatoo flew past, followed by some ravens. There have been quite a few Eastern Spinebills being seen at Galgabba as well.

After that, I headed for the point and near the Bell Miner colony, I noticed a Spotted Pardalote, some Noisy Friarbirds chasing off the other honeyeaters that ventured onto “their ” trees. Around this area, some Scaly-breasted Lorikeets and Eastern Rosella usually are seen. I ventured further on past the creek where I spotted a male and female Chestnut Teal and this Little Pied Cormorant drying his wings on a branch.

Little Pied Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleuca)

At the point, there were quite a number of small birds flittering around in the she-oak trees. There were Red-browed Finch, Silvereye, Yellow Thornbill and Brown Thornbill. There was a single Mistletoebird having a feed on the Mistletoe fruits. There were not many water birds out on the lake, just a few Black Swans and a solitary pelican.

I cannot stop taking photos of fungus. And this one has the added distinction of having two in one. A fungus growing on top of a fungus. How cool can you get?

fungus on fungus
Fungus on fungus

Galgabba Point bird list 2/7/2010

Little Wattlebird
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Grey Fantail
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Australian Raven
Eastern Spinebill
Australian Magpie
Noisy Miner
Bell Miner
Superb Fairy-wren
Spotted Pardalote
Noisy Friarbird
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Chestnut Teal
Black Swan
Little Pied Cormorant
Golden Whistler
Red-browed Finch
Mistletoebird
Silvereye
Australian Pelican
Yellow Thornbill
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Brown Thornbill
Eastern Rosella
Pied Currawong
Eastern Whipbird

June 25, 2010

Galgabba Point

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:23 am

Birds and Fungus

This afternoon I jumped on the push-bike and rode down to Galgabba Point to take some photos. I wandered around the tracks near the sheds. There were quite a few Superb Fairy-wrens, as well as some Grey Fantails hopping around. Up in the trees the honeyeater were having lots of fights and chasing each other around the leaves and branches of the flowering trees. There were Blue-faced Honeyeaters, New Holland Honeyeaters, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and Lewin’s Honeyeaters. Lewin’s Honeyeater do not seem to jump around as frantically as the rest of the honeyeaters so they are a bit easier to take a photo of. This one sat quietly near me for a little while so I managed to get this photo at least.

Lewin's Honeyeater
Lewin’s Honeyeater

Near the houses there were Noisy Miners and a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike looking down from the wires above. Going down the track towards the point, there were quite a few different birds chasing each other around near the Bell Miner colony. The Satin Bowerbirds were scolding away, the Noisy Friarbirds were chasing anything that came near their tree and a kookaburra sat on a branch just calmly taking it all in. An Eastern Spinebill was flying into a water hole and scooping a drink on the wing. On the creek, a couple of Little Pied Cormorants and a Little Black Cormorant sat nonchalantly until I came along.

I have been noticing some really interesting fungi around the area, so I have been taking some photos of them the last few days. This one was a pretty standard looking one, with some interesting texture on the cap and in the background. It was very dark so I had to use the onboard flash , making the photo a bit orange, so in post-processing I set the white balance to Shade mode.

round fungus
Fungus

This fungus had a weird crinkly shape and was right next to the creek.

wrinkly fungus
Fungus

Galgabba Point bird list 25/6/2010

Superb Fairy-wren
Grey Fantail
New Holland Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Noisy Miner
Bell Miner
Noisy Friarbird
Eastern Spinebill
Pied Currawong
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Australian Raven
Satin Bowerbird
Laughing Kookaburra
Little Black Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant
Black Swan
Rufous Whistler

June 24, 2010

Galgabba Point Fungi

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 10:34 am

Galgabba Point Fungi

I have been doing some volunteer work at Galgabba Point this week. This morning on my walk I took some photos of some of the fungi that I found. I have no idea what their names are or even how to go about indentifying fungus. If you know any the fungus shown in the photos, please let me know. This fungus was in the compost heap. I found it when I was going for a little walk. It is strange how red it is.

fungus
Unidentified fungus

I could not believe this star-shaped fungus. It looks really weird. It was on the way out to the point. It could be called a Starfish fungus, but not sure yet. Edit: Yes it is a Starfish Fungus, thanks to Dennis who has written about them on his site. Also, Gaye from the Hunter has written about them on her blog.

star fungus
Starfish fungus (Aseroe rubra)

Wallarah Peninsula Community Walk

In the afternoon I got on the bike and rode up and down the exhausting hills to the start of the Wallarah Peninsula Community Walk. It goes from the end of the houses up to Pinneys Beach and beyond. In the suburban streets on the way I spotted Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Noisy Miners and Laughing Kookaburras.

There were not a lot of birds along the edges of the cliffs, but the scenery was fantastic. From the top of the cliff you can see all the way to Nelson’s Bay. There were a few small birds like thornbills and fairy-wrens but not much else. On the way back I spotted this White-bellied Sea-eagle coming back from fishing out at sea with a fish.

White-bellied Sea-eagle
White-bellied Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

Wallarah Peninsula bird list 24/6/2010

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Pied Currawong
Superb Fairy-wren
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Australian Magpie
Little Black Cormorant
New Holland Honeyeater
Brown Thornbill
Noisy Miner

June 20, 2010

Caves Beach Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:12 pm

Caves Beach

Today I walked the track from the lookout at Caves Beach to the start of the Wallarah Peninsula Coastal Walk at Spoon Rocks. I started out from the lookout above Caves Beach. Unfortunately there were no sea birds, just a couple of lazy Silver Gulls drifting by. Here is a view from Caves Beach looking towards Spoon Rocks or what is locally called the Mawson Breakwater. This is on the ocean just south of the channel going into Lake Macquarie

caves beach
Caves Beach to Spoon Rocks

There were quite a few Superb Fairy-wrens twittering around in the bushes. This male was showing off his plumage to me and his harem of ladies.

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

Further on I got the shock of my life when I got my lens on a Red-whiskered Bulbul. I had never seen one of these before so it is a big tick. I did not expect to see one of these around here. They have a black bill and a distinctive red tuft behind the ear, and a pointed vertical crest. The undertail coverts are red with a white-tipped tail.

Red-whiskered Bulbul
Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)

There were a few Welcome Swallow flying over the cliffs as well as some Red-browed Finch near a little creek that ran into the sea. I dipped down into the track to Spoon Rocks and there is quite a nice little beach there. Past the breakwater I climbed the old road that was used to make the breakwater and got to the start of the Wallarah Coastal Community Walk which goes further on to Pinney’s Beach. I might do that section of the walk another day. It looks quite a spectacular walk so I am looking forward to it.

New Holland Honeyeater
New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)

Caves Beach Bird List 20/6/2010

Australian Magpie
Superb Fairy-wren
Silver Gull
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Welcome Swallow
New Holland Honeyeater
Rock Dove
Red-browed Finch
Grey Fantail
Brown Thornbill
Laughing Kookaburra
Spotted Turtle-dove
Crested Pigeon
Little Wattlebird
Eastern Spinebill
Masked Lapwing
Eastern Rosella
Rainbow Lorikeet

June 19, 2010

Swansea Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 8:42 pm

Swansea Channel Birding

I had not been out for a while, so this afternoon I went down to Swansea Channel to take some photos of the birds. Lake Macquarie drains out to the sea along the Swansea Channel. I drove as far as I could along the southern side of the channel to the nature reserve. There were a few Silver Gulls, pelicans and White-faced Heron hanging out around the boat ramp. I went for a walk along the reserve but I could not get very far because the tide was full and it flooded the track. On the way back this Willy Wagtail came pretty close and had a good look at me.

Willy Wagtail
Willy Wagtail

After that, I went along the road to the point and had a look on the lake side of Swansea. An Osprey flew past with a whole bunch of Galahs which was relatively bizarre. I waited around for the Osprey to come back but he didn’t. Instead this juvenile White-bellied Sea-eagle came flying around the point. I think this one is very young as the colours are very cryptic.

White-bellied Sea-eagle
White-bellied Sea-eagle

As usual there were plenty of Black Swans and pelicans out in the lake. Noisy Miners were flying around the edges of the lake and a pair of Australian Wood Duck were feeding on the grass.

Australian Wood Duck
Australian Wood Duck

Swansea Channel Bird List 19/6/2010

Silver Gull
Masked Lapwing
Australian Wood Duck
Australian Pelican
Willy Wagtail
White-faced Heron
Grey Fantail
Little Black Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant
Australian Magpie
Osprey
Galah
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Black Swan
Noisy Miner
Magpie-lark
Crested Pigeon
Eastern Rosella
Australian Raven

May 22, 2010

Bicentennial Gardens Ballina

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 1:03 am

Birding at Bi-centennial Gardens in Ballina

The Bicentennial Gardens is just north of Ballina on the Pacific Highway, about 2 kilometers past the lights at Ballina Fair. There is a billabong just next to the car park and there were a mob of Dusky Moorhen with some chicks. They seemed quite tame and I think people have been feeding them. I took a few photos of the chicks and this one is quite nice with the backlighting.

Dusky Moorhen chick
Dusky Moorhen chick (Gallinula tenebrosa)

And here is an adult.

Dusky Moorhen
adult Dusky Moorhen

I took a walk around the gardens and saw some Rainbow Lorikeets and a Pied Butcherbird in the trees. Around the billabong was a track through the paperbark swamp and I spotted some White-browed Scrubwren, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey Fantail and Lewin’s Honeyeater. On the way back past the billabong some Australian White Ibis came very close to me so I took some shots while I had the chance.

Australian White Ibis
Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca)

In this photo you can see their naked ears, nostrils and the pink bands across the back of the neck. They look a bit scary I reckon.

Australian White Ibis
Australian White Ibis

Bicentennial Gardens bird list

Dusky Moorhen
Noisy Miner
Australian White Ibis
Australian Raven
Rainbow Lorikeet
Pied Butcherbird
Cattle Egret
Australian Magpie
Welcome Swallow
Australasian Figbird
White-browed Scrubwren
Eastern Yellow Robin
Grey Fantail
Lewin’s Honeyeater

May 10, 2010

Byron Bay Surfing

Filed under: Surfing — Tags: , — admin @ 1:39 am

Byron Bay Surfing

The surf at Byron Bay over the last couple of days has been extremely variable. A small southerly swell has been running and there have been waves from two to four feet, which dropped a bit today. The wind has been coming from the north west yesterday and this morning which made the waves very choppy and bumpy. The crowds have been considerable with sometimes up to a hundred people out in the water at The Pass. The Pass has not changed in forty years. It still breaks the same it always has.

This guy was surfing really well. Taking off deep inside and doing some great turns and cutbacks.

byron bay surfing
Surfing at The Pass

A lot of guys are surfing fishes and they seem to go really well at times. But I have my doubts. They are very wide and sometimes I think that causes a bit of imbalance or instability. But I think they were meant as a surfboard to have fun on and that is about it.

Byron Bay Surfing
Pushing the fish around

Here is a wide shot of The Pass. I noticed today how scenic it really is. Sometimes you cannot see what is in front of your eyes or you take things for granted.

The Pass
The Pass at Byron Bay

May 7, 2010

Cudgen Creek Redux

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 1:48 am

Cudgen Creek, Kingscliff

Friday, 7th May, 2010.

Well, I made it back to Cudgen Creek and once again it did not fail to disappoint. It is a top little spot, with a variety of habitat – from mudflats to coastal banksia and rainforest. When I got there, there were a few Masked Lapwings in the park and some Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets in the banksia trees. A few Pied Currawongs were being harassed by some Willy Wagtails and being chased away. Along the bank of the creek there were some White-faced Heron, Great Egret, Little Pied Cormorants, as well as these Little Black Cormorants.

Little Black Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)

I spotted an Eastern Reef Egret grey morph who was fishing along the rocks. He caught a couple of little ones and was posing magnificently for me.

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

Along the rainforest section, there were hundreds of Scarlet Honeyeaters as well as a few Brown Honeyeaters and some Silvereye. There were having a bath and drink in the knot of a tree until this big bully Australasian Figbird Olive-backed Oriole came along and chased them away so he could have it all to himself.

Australasian Figbird
Olive-backed Oriole

I also managed to photograph a Varied Triller, but the photos did not come out very good at all. When I got back to the car, I was about to put away the camera, when this Blue-faced Honeyeater flew onto the tree just near me and proceeded to show off what looked like a cockroach that he had hunted. What a proud bird!

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

Well, that is it for Queensland. I am now heading south back into Norther New South Wales. It is starting to get colder now, so I have no idea why I am going south. Next stop is probably Bogangar and Cabarita. Vamos!

Cudgen Creek bird list

Masked Lapwing
Australian White Ibis
Willy Wagtail
Welcome Swallow
Rainbow Lorikeet
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Pied Currawong
Australian Raven
White-faced Heron
Magpie-lark
Noisy Friarbird
Little Pied Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant
Sacred Kingfisher
Scarlet Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Brown Honeyeater
Silvereye
Brush Turkey
Australasian Figbird
Golden Whistler
Little Wattlebird
Eastern Whipbird
Australian Pelican
Eastern Reef Egret
Great Egret
Crested Pigeon
Varied Triller

April 15, 2010

Terranora Broadwater

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Tweed Heads Birding

The Terranora Broadwater walk is a fairly long walk. I reckon it is about 3 to 5 kilometers one way, and I did not go all the way. It still continues on for how long I do not know. To get there, drive south from Tweed Heads and take the Bilambil turnoff before the bridge. Park somewhere behind the Seagulls club and start walking west and south along the water front. The track passes through sub-tropical rainforest, mangroves and grasslands. I had seen Spangled Drongo and White-bellied Sea-eagles there last night. This morning I heard whipbirds and catbirds as I started off. A Pied Butcherbird sang me a morning song and a huge pelican swooped down to the water.

Sacred Kingfishers
Sacred Kingfishers (Todiramphus sanctus)

A few birds were looking for a feed on the oyster racks out in the bay. The appropriately named Pied Oystercatchers were digging around, as well as a Striated Heron and a Great Egret. Along the track, a bunch of Red-browed Finch came down to peck at the grass seeds. On the way back, a pair of Sacred Kingfishers kept following me along the water front. I could not get rid of them!

Sacred Kingfisher
Sacred Kingfisher

Some Lewin’s Honeyeaters and Brown Honeyeaters were in competition for the mistletoe blossoms. I did not see any Mistletoebirds, but they would have been shooed off anyway. The Terranora Broadwater is well worth a visit. Especially in spring, when it must come alive. There are a variety of habitats, so there are a good range of birds.

Terranora Broadwater bird list

Spangled Drongo
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Eastern Whipbird (H)
Green Catbird (H)
Willy Wagtail
Australian Pelican
Pied Butcherbird
Pied Oystercatcher
Australian Raven
Bar-shouldered Dove
Striated Heron
Great Egret
Grey Fantail
Australian Figbird
Red-browed Finch
Australian Magpie
Magpie-lark
Noisy Miner
Rainbow Lorikeet
Silvereye
Sacred Kingfisher
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Brown Honeyeater

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