Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

April 30, 2013

Port Macquarie Eco-cruise

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 5:39 am

Limeburner’s Creek National Park.

I did the tourist thing this morning in Port Macquarie and went for an Eco-tour up the Hastings River and into the Limeburner’s Creek National Park. It was a two hour cruise and it only cost me fifteen bucks. What a bargain! I actually really enjoyed it. I saw three different raptors and heaps of cormorants.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

I am putting this shot in to show the brown mottling across the chest of this bird. The captain of the boat said it was a young male, but I am not sure. The female Osprey is larger than the male and this is fairly typical for raptors. This gives the breeding couple more range of prey. The female can go after the larger prey while the male gets the smaller stuff.

Osprey nest
Osprey nest

We saw two Osprey nests. The other one had fallen down after a branch broke that was supporting the nest and the pair had to rebuild. Osprey numbers are increasing along the Australian coast. I think there are more this year than just a couple of years ago when I last went up the coast.

Pied Cormorant
Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius)

This one has the blue eye-ring and the yellow in front of the eye. That and the pants are the main identifying features. And of course, he is drying his wings out.

Little Black Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)

I have seen more Little Black Cormorant in this estuary than at other places along the coast. They congregate in larger flocks than other cormorants.

Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)

This one is ready to take off.

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

This one is a very young White-bellied Sea-eagle, possibly first year. I thought this was a female because of the large size. When immature, they are brown with lighter markings. They are very different to mature birds.

Limeburners Creek NP
Limeburner’s Creek

A look at the creek with the mangroves along most of the it.

Port Macquarie Birds list

Little Egret
Great Egret
White-faced Heron
Australian Pelican
Silver Gull
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Brahminy Kite
Pied Cormorant
Oriental Darter
Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)
Crested Tern
Black Swan

April 27, 2013

Camden Haven Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 12:47 am

Kattang Nature Reserve.

Kattang Nature Reserve is a track that goes to Point Perpendicular at Camden Haven on the mid-North coast of New South Wales. It is typical coastal scrub with lots of banksias etc. I did not see much at first so I thought it was going to be a bit of a dud, but I happened across a few Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos, so that made me happy.

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo (Calpytorhynchus funereus)

The Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo has a very long tail with yellow panels. doh! They have a pink eye-ring and the female has a larger yellow cheek patch.

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo (Calpytorhynchus funereus)

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

The Black-shouldered Kite likes open woodland and grassland. They are seen quite often around farmland with scattered trees. Theyu glide on raised wings and hover with their legs lowered and tail depressed. They drop on their prey feet-first with wings raised high over the back. They are very similar to the Nankeen Kestrel in their hunting behaviour. They eat mostly small rodents. They are common throughout Australia. (Source: “The Birds of Prey of Australia” by Stephen Debus.)

Dunbogan bird list

Little Wattlebird
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo
Black-shouldered Kite
White-browed Scrubwren
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Crested Pigeon

April 26, 2013

Saltwater NP Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 4:54 am

Saltwater National Park.

Saltwater National Park is a beautiful spot right next to the beach and an inlet. It is a very special place. I headed off with my mp3 player blaring and my sunglasses stuck to my face. I quickly got rid of them when I sighted my first bird. It is a bit hard to hear the birds with Groove Armada blaring away in your ear-holes.

Pied Butcherbird
Pied Butcherbird

This Pied Butcherbird was hanging out checking out the surf and singing a beautiful morning song. I love their singing.

Eastern Yellow Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin

I had been hoping to see the Regent Bowerbirds that hang around the picnic area. I did see the yellow flash but they were gone before I could get the camera up and firing. The next day I did manage to get a shot of the female Regent Bowerbird, but the male is the spectacular show piece.


I like the tongue flicking in and out.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Last time I was here there were a pair of White-bellied Sea-eagles soaring around the inlet. But this time there were a pair of Ospreys. It made me wonder how raptors guard or defend their territories and if they fight other raptors when they invade their territory.

White-faced Heron

White-faced Heron

I managed to get a shot of a White-faced Heron up in a tree. I do not usually see them up in trees. I thought it was quite unusual.

Spangled Drongo
Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus)

This one is an adult.

Spangled Drongo
juvenile Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus)

I am pretty sure this is a juvenile mainly because of the smaller size, the not-so-glossy lesser black feathers and the white spotty bits. I like this photo because of the way he is flaring his tail. I have no idea what that is all about, but it is cool.

Saltwater National Park birds list

Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis)
Crested Tern (Sterna bergii)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Willy Wagtail (Rhipidua leucophrys)
Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis)
Laughing Kookaburra
Little Egret
White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae)
Australasian Gannet
Silver Gull
Australian Magpie
female Golden Whistler (Pacycephala pectoralis)
Lewin’s Honeyeater
White-cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris nigra)
Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus)
female Regent Bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus)

April 24, 2013

Forster Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:13 am

Wallis Lake, Mid-north Coast.

Some birds from Forster, which is on Wallis Lake, situated at the Mid-north Coast of New South Wales. This is where the lake empties into the sea.

Caspian Tern
Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)

I think this one is a non-breeding male or a young Caspian Tern because it does not have the full black top of the head. They are a rather large tern with a stout red bill. They are found in most continents all over the world. Their habitats are coastal areas, lakes, and large rivers. They feed on small fish that they catch by diving.

Pied Cormorant
Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius)

There were three Pied Cormorant flying over the bridge. They are restricted to mainland Australia with some in New Zealand. Their habitat is coastal and inland bodies of water. They feed by diving under the water and chasing fish under the water. You can often see them spreading their wings to dry on shores.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

This Osprey had been hanging on a light on the bridge for days. After I took these shots, it flew to a huge pine tree on the side of the lake, where a young one waited, screaming out to be fed.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Ospreys are distributed throughout most of the world. They feed mostly on fish, which they catch by plunging from above and grasping them in their talons and flying off to a roost, where they are eaten.

April 18, 2013

Merewether Surfing 130418

Filed under: Surfing — admin @ 8:33 am

Merewether Point.

The swell has dropped this morning and the wind still had a bit of west in it just before lunch time. I could not make up my mind whether to go to Bar Beach or Merewether, so I decided on Merewether. The shore break had a few hollow waves but it was very crowded.

Merewether 130418-1
Goofy coming off the lip

This guy had the ubiquitous go-pro and was taking off and filming people in front of him. At least it was not another Point-Of-View shot!

Merewether 130418-2
Go Pro madness

Merewether 130418-3
Getting deep inside the tube

Merewether 130418-4
Up and over the top of the lip

April 15, 2013

Forster Surfing

Filed under: Surfing — Tags: — admin @ 10:10 am

Forster Rockpool.

The swell picked up today. It was coming from the East with the sets being up to six foot. The wind was pretty light so the waves were standing up nicely. This wave breaks right in front of the rockpool, just east of the Foster Beach.

Foster Beach 3
Cutting Back

Foster Beach 2
A big set

Foster Beach 1
coming off the lip

April 14, 2013

Surfers and Dolphins

Filed under: Surfing — Tags: — admin @ 10:02 am

Boomerang Beach, NSW.

This morning a big pod of dolphins came into Boomerang Beach and started surfing the waves with all the surfers. I rushed and grabbed my camera and took some shots of them down the beach a bit. The waves were looking pretty good down the beach and the shore break was getting hollow at times.

978 A goofy-footer tucks under a lip

Dolphins playing in the waves

Dolphin with reverse 360

Getting tubed

Blue boy Carving off the top

Pushing the tail out the back

Holding on in the shore break

Right inside it.

April 10, 2013

NSW Birding

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 1:43 am

Borah Creek and Stockton Sandspit.

Here are some very widely spread birds from the beginning of April. I went up the mountains to the north-west of Newcastle and then came back down to the Hunter estuary at Stockton Sandspit.

Borah Creek

Dusky Woodswallow
Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus)

Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus) has a distinctive white stripe at the edge of the wings. In flight, the body, head and tail are dark in contrast with the almost white under-wings. Their habitat is dry open forests. Also seen were lots of White-plumed Honeyeater, Superb Fairy-wren and Diamond Firetail.

Stockton Sandspit

Pacific Golden Plover
Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)

These Pacific Golden Plover were in breeding plumage. I am not sure if the others were non-breeding or Grey Plovers.

Red-capped Plover
Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus)

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

This Superb Fairy-wren is a non-breeding male. No red eye-ring and blue tail feathers. The white tip on the tail made me suspect variegated for a while but I do not think so.

Superb Fairy-wren , female
Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)

A young female Superb Fairy-wren. You can tell by the reddish eye ring and the dull brown tail feathers.

Yellow Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza lineata)

Borah Creek bird list

Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus)
White-plumed Honeyeater
Superb Fairy-wren
Diamond Firetail

Stockton Sandspit bird list

Grey Teal (Anas gracilis)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) in breeding plumage.
Grey Plover ?
Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus)
Royal Spoonbill
Pied Oystercatcher
Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)
Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza lineata)
Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta)

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