Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

December 9, 2011


Filed under: Birds — Tags: — steve_happ @ 7:36 am

Order: Falconiformes.

Family: Accipitridae – hawks, eagles, buzzards, harriers, kites and Old World vultures

Black-shouldered Kite
Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)

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

Swamp Harrier
Swamp Harrier (Circus approximans)

Whistling Kite
Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus)

Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)

Black Kite

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)

Square-tailed Kite
Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura)

Wedge-tailed Eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle

Subfamily Accipitrinae – goshawks, sparrowhawks

Brown Goshawk
Brown Goshawk ( Accipiter fasciatus) at Euston Weir, Victoria

Family: Falconidae – Falcons and Caracara

Southern Caracara
Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus)

Chimango Caracara (Milvago chimango)

Brown Falcon
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)

Nankeen Kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)

American Kestrel
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)

Australian Hobby
Australian Hobby ( Falco longipennis)

Black Falcon
Black Falcon (Falco subniger)

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Family: Pandionidae

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Family Cathartidae – Condors and Vultures

Black Vulture
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

Andean Condor
Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus )

May 20, 2009

Hunter Wetlands Centre Bird Photography 090520

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , , — steve_happ @ 4:45 am

Hunter Wetlands Centre = Raptor Heaven.

Once again the Hunter Wetlands Centre comes good with a lovely display of raptors today(20th May, 2009). There must have been more than half a dozen raptors there today. Three or four Whistling Kites, a pair of Swamp Harriers and a magnificent White-bellied Sea-eagle. The Hunter Wetlands Centre is at Shortland in Newcastle and you can be guaranteed at least a Whistling Kite or two every time you go there. Here is one sitting on a tree.

Whistling Kite
Whistling Kite(Haliastur sphenurus)

The Whistling Kites were flying really low today over the swamps and even hiding out in the trees, perching on some very low trees. Maybe it was because there was a pretty strong wind blowing. This one has his frontal feathers flying in the wind.

Whistling Kite

I got the shock of my life when a White-bellied Sea-eagle came flying over the trees right at me. You do not usually see them at the Wetlands Centre. Anyway, I was very happy to see him or her.

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

And here he is again on his second whirl.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

It started raining shortly after and it was lucky that I was in the Egret hide. There were a few Whistling Kites in the Egret breeding ponds that were stuck out in the rain, roosting in trees. One of them was actually roosting on an old egret nest. I have no idea what he was doing. Bizarre. When the rain stopped I headed home and on the way saw a Royal Spoonbill on the land sitting or kneeling on his knees. I have no idea what was going on.

Royal Spoonbill
Royal Spoonbill(Platalea regia)

Bird Species List, Hunter Wetlands Centre, 20/5/09

Whistling Kite
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Swamp Harrier
Australian White Ibis
Royal Spoonbill
Australasian Grebe

April 27, 2009

Bird Photography Warren 090407

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , , , , — steve_happ @ 12:23 am

Bird Photography at Warren 7th April, 2009

I left Newcastle about 1pm on the Monday and drove to Singleton then Merriwa along the Golden Highway(86?). Stopped at Mendooran where there is a good rest area with BBQ, lights, and toilets. I drove on through to Gilgandra and slept at a rest area about 30 kilometers west of Gilgandra.

On Tuesday morning I awoke about 6:30am and it was freezing cold, so I put on the flanny, a jumper and some long pants, as well as shoes and socks. That is how cold it was! I took some photos of the sunrise then drove to Warren for breakfast. On the way into Warren I saw that there were heaps of raptors hanging around the sewerage runoff just outside town. So after breakfast I went back for a good look.

Black Kite

Not a bad site, hey? There were a few black kites hanging around the dead trees near the water. I got onto the mounds and had fantastic views of the birds.

Black Kite

Also hanging out on the dead trees was a Juvenile White-necked Heron(Ardea pacifica), also called a Pacific Heron. Note the spotted neck. Some of them have red spots on their wings. This one did not seem to.

Juvenile White-necked Heron

Anyhoo, back to the Black Kites(Milvus migrans), which i could not get enough of.

Black Kite

And another, this one was checking me right out.

Black Kite

There were also a pair of Black Falcons(Falco subniger) flying around and roosting in a big eucalyptus tree at the end of the water hole. They are a spectacular bird and I was very stoked to see them.

Black Falcon

Some of the other members of the HBOC saw a lot of waterbirds over the road, such as blue-billed ducks, musk ducks, pink-eared ducks, etc. But I missed out on all those. I saw a couple of grey teals and some swamp hens, and that was it. In the trees around the water hole there were various birds such as White-plumed honeyeaters and Spotted Bowerbirds.

On the road from Warren to Carinda on the Way to Willie Retreat, I saw a couple of Wedge-tailed Eagles flying off road kills, but did not manage to get a decent enough photo of them.

Bird Species LIst, Warren area, 7/4/09

Black-shouldered Kite
Eastern Rosella
Noisy Miner
Red-rumped Parrot
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Black Kite
Rock Dove
Juvenile White-necked Heron
Black Falcon
Nankeen Kestrel
Whistling Kite
Crested Pigeon
Spotted Bowerbird
White-plumed honeyeater
Wedge-tailed Eagle

March 28, 2009

Bird Photography Ash Island 090327

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — steve_happ @ 11:13 am

Bird Photography at Ash Island , 27th March, 2009.

I went out at 3pm to Ash Island for a couple of hours of bird photography. It was pretty overcast and for a little while it rained a bit. Today was raptor day at Ash Island. I must have seen about half a dozen different raptors. They were everywhere. Mostly they were low on the ground and flew off before I could get any shots off.

Anyhow, this first photo tells a story. There was what looked like a Whistling Kite on the road chewing on something. It flew off a little way with the kill and then came back again. I stopped to watch it but it flew off before I could get any photos of it. I walked up to the kill and had a look at it. I think it was the carcase of a chestnut teal.

Raptor Kill

It is a bit gruesome, but that is reality. Raptors are predators that kill birds to eat. End of story.

I took a circuit around the pond, and over the other side there were various raptors flying up but this Australian Hobby was the only thing that came close enough for a photo.

Australian Hobby

He perched on the power lines and checked me out. I quite like the lines on this photo. It is something a bit different.

Australian Hobby

On the way out I surprised a Swamp Harrier who flew low over the swamp and off to the north east.

Swamp Harrier

March 17, 2009

Bird Photography Tomago 090317

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , , , , — steve_happ @ 5:34 am

Bird Photography at Tomago Wetlands, 17th March, 2009.

Today I went with the HBOC survey group to Tomago Wetlands. This is the second time I have been to Tomago Wetlands. The first time it was very dry. The weather was clear with sunny skies and a temperature of about 24 degrees Celsius. But, the big news is that I have seen four, count them 4, new bird species, with photos. The other big news is that it was officially raptor day at Tomago, with no less than than ten raptors seen during the morning. Australian Hobby, Black-shouldered Kites, Swamp Harrier, and Whistling Kites. As soon as I pulled up in the car, there was an Australian Hobby right where we met up.

So off we went into the wetlands and stop near the gates where we saw a heap of birds in the Casuarina trees. And the first new bird was a Shining bronze-cuckoo(Chrysococcyx lucidus). It may be also called a Golden Bronze-Cuckoo, but I am not sure about that.

Shining Bronze-cuckoo

Up towards the river was a Male Mistletoebird(Dicaeum hirundinaceum). I think there may have been a female one, but I am unsure about that. First time seen for me.


The next new bird was Dicrurus bracteatus, the spangled drongo. This bird is very easy to spot with its distinctive bifurcated tail.

Spangled Drongo

Along the flats there were a lot of grassbirds, Golden-headed Cisticolas and some Southern Emu-wren. We managed to disturb a Latham’s Snipe(Gallinago hardwickii) which took off into the air and flew quite a ways, more than they usually do.

Latham's Snipe

Going back to the parking spot, we spotted a couple of Whistling Kites(Haliastur sphenurus) and here is one of them.

Whistling Kite

So all in all it was a great day for me with four new birds – Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Spangled Drongo, Mistletoebird, and Latham’s Snipe.

Bird Species List for Tomago Wetlands, 17/3/09

Australian Hobby
Black-shouldered Kite
Whistling Kite
Swamp Harrier
yellow-faced Honeyeater
Southern Emu-wren
Shining Bronze-cuckoo
Spangled Drongo
Golden-headed Cisticola
Latham’s Snipe

February 23, 2009

Australian Hobby 090223

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — steve_happ @ 7:47 am

Bird Photography at Ash Island, 23rd February, 2009.

Today I got some good shots of an Australian Hobby at Ash Island. The scientific name of the Australian Hobby is Falco longipennis and it belongs to the family Falconidae, order Falconiformes. They range in size from 30 to 36 centimeters and their habitat is mainly open woodlands and forests. I had seen them twice before. Once yesterday at Homebush Bay but it was flying really high and was like a speck in the sky. The other time was at Tomago Wetlands and then it just flew past before I had time to get a decent shot off.

Today he was in a tree pretty close to the road. In this photo, you can clearly see the hooded face mask and the horizontally striped tail feathers. Also note that he only has one leg(As far as I can tell). I have seen another raptor, a Whistling Kite, over at the Hunter Wetlands Center that had one leg also. I don’t know what the one-legged thing is about, but I will find out. somehow.

Australian Hobby

The Australian Hobby breeds in the Spring and Summer. When it is breeding it sometimes takes over the nests of other birds. The female sits on the eggs while the male does the hunting.

Australian Hobby

The Australian Hobby has a tail that is more or less rounded at the tip and glides on drooped wings. The face masking of the Australian Hobby is similar to the Peregrine Falcon. Like most falcons, the ends of the wing tips come to a downwards point. The Australian Hobby is distributed all over Australia.

Australian Hobby

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