Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

March 28, 2015

From Cobar to Broken Hill

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:56 am

Outback Birding

I set out from Cobar and stopped about 100 kilometers on the way to Wilcannia at the Lilyvale Rest Area. I did not have much hope of seeing much so I went for a walk before sunset and was suprised to see quite a few birds.

Lilyvale Rest Area.

This Common Bronzewing is in typical country for this bird.

Common Bronzewing
Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)

I finally got to see the pink crest on the top of this and a few other Spotted Bowerbirds. I was beginning to doubt myself. I keep thinking of them as Spotted Catbirds. Possibly because they are related to catbirds.

Spotted Bowerbird
Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata).

And I was quite surprised to see this Hooded Robin. There were a few young ones about as well.

Hooded Robin
Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata)

Baden Park

The next stop was Baden Park and it was similar country – dry and harsh. I did see some Yellow-rumped Thornbill along the road as well as a few Noisy Miner.

Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa)

I am not sure what this is. It could be a thornbill or it could be some kind of robin. I really have no idea. Cute, but. Edit: Thanks to Tim Dolby for the ID.

ID needed please
Red-capped Robin

This is pretty right as you can plainly see the white eye and chestnut rump of this Chestnut-rumped Thorbill.

Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza uropygialis)


Wilcannia is on the Darling River and has declined a lot over the years. I saw quite a few Black Kite and Whistling Kite soaring over the town and river. And I think I have never got a photo of a Red-tailed Black-cockatoo before. I just cannot remember. It is a female.

Red-tailed Black-cockatoo
female Red-tailed Black-cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii)

Spring Hill

I walked up this dry creek at Spring Hill, about 130 kilometers east of Broken Hill. A few honeyeaters were around as well as some thornbills. More than I expected. I found a kangaroo digging into the dry creek bed near a reef and about half a meter down it had found water.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis).

And some more Singing Honeyeaters.

Singing Honeyeater
Singing Honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens)

Outback bird list

Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata)
Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)
Singing Honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens)
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)
Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata)
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza uropygialis)
Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Whistling Kite
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Red-tailed Black-cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii)
Australian Pelican
White Ibis
White-necked Heron

March 25, 2015

Cobar Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:18 pm

Outback New South Wales.

Cobar is a small mining town in the middle of nowhere on the way to Broken Hill. For all that it seems quite a nice place. There were heaps of birds here. First stop was the Tourist info office where I got the town map and headed off on a walk along Centenary of Federation Walk. Across the road I happened upon a family of Zebra Finch. I have a vague idea that they are race castanotis but I am not sure at all.

baby Zebra Finch
baby Zebra Finch (Taenopygia guttata)

This nosy Blue-faced Honeyeater had a good sticky-beak at me as I went past.

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

I thought this Striped Honeyeater was an inland thornbill at first until I got it up on the computer and had a good look at it.

Striped Honeyeater
Striped Honeyeater (Plectorhyncha lanceolata)

I thought these were Fork-tailed Swift before I had a good look at the book. They were hanging around the footy field watching some guy kick goals.

White-backed Swallow
White-backed Swallow (Cheramoeca leucosternus)

After lunch I went for a drive to check out the gold mine. It was big.

new cobar gold mine
New Cobar Gold Mine.

Late in the afternoon I trundled off to the new tank and wandered along the pitiful remnants of water. Here is a Whistling Kite in its nest.

Whistling Kite
Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus).

There were a few waders along the edges of the pond.

White-necked Heron
White-necked Heron (Ardea pacifica).

Lots of Spotted Bowerbirds around. I thought these might have been juvenile blackbirds at first and I did not see any of them with a pink crest on top of the head. I have no idea why.

Spotted Bowerbird
Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata)

And the Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters were quite common as well.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis).

Cobar Bird List

Spotted Bowerbird
White-plumed Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Zebra Finch (Taenopygia guttata)
Double-barred Finch
Black Kite
Whistling Kite
White-backed Swallow (Cheramoeca leucosternus)
White-breasted Woodswallow
Australian Magpie
House Sparrow
Crested Pigeon
Willy Wagtail
Pacific Black Duck
Australian Wood Duck
Eurasian Coot
White-necked Heron
White-faced Heron
Great Egret
Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Black-fronted Dotterel
Black-winged Stilt
Peaceful Dove
Red-winged Parrot
Striped Honeyeater (Plectorhyncha lanceolata)
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)
White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus)
Pied Cormorant

March 24, 2015

Outback NSW birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 11:45 pm

From Narromine to Cobar.

I am now in Cobar. At Narromine there was a huge flock of Little Corella by the river.

Little Corella
Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea)

At Nyngan, the most interesting thing was the helicopter in the park. It was a gift from the government because the town was evacuated from flooding in 1990 by helicopter. I think this one is an Iriquois.

Iriquois helicopter

I stopped at Hermidale Rest Area and walked along the train line for a while. There were lots of Noisy Miners and a mob of Grey-crowned Babblers.

Outback nsw
Outback New South Wales.


Florida Rest Area is on the Barrier Highway, 80 kilometers from Nyngan and 50 kilometers from Cobar. On the border between the shires of Bogan and Cobar.

Noisy Miner
Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala)

There are lots of Noisy Miner, some Red-winged Parrots, mainly female or juvenile. I did happen to see one adult male. The birds were drinking out of a plastic bowl near a water tank.

Red-winged Parrot
Red-winged Parrot (Aprosmictus erythropterus).

Outback NSW bird list

Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea)
Grey-crowned Babbler
Australian Ringneck
Red-winged Parrot (Aprosmictus erythropterus)
Noisy Miner
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Pied Butcherbird

Narromine Birding

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

Central West NSW.

It has poured raining here in Narromine this morning. You would not believe it! The streets were almost flooding. Last night I was going to camp at Mac’s Reserve, about four kilometers out of town on the banks of the Macquarie River. It was a horrible place, all dry and dusty and a place for rednecks to go and get drunk and burn out cars.

Burnt out car
Burnt out car.

Instead I camped at the rest area out of town. It was OK. It had a table and toilets. I have done about 450 kilometers so far from Newcastle. I plan to do about 500 kilometers per week. This is a standard view of most inland towns in Australia – big wide streets and wheat silos.

Narromine nsw
Standard country town view.

Whilst eating breakfast, I caught sight of this Black-shouldered Kite over the other side of the railway tracks. I never get bored taking photos of these beautiful raptors.

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

I went for a walk along the river in town at the Rotary Park. A few birds here and there but not much.

Red-rumped Parrots
Red-rumped Parrots (Psephotus haematonotus)

A few Welcome Swallows were circling over the football oval. And I spotted a Black Kite in the distance.

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow ( Hirundo neoxena)

Some good camping sites west from Newcastle are:

1. Jerry Plains rest area – just before the village. It has a big field with plenty of room for caravans and turning, barbecue, tables and toilets.

2. Cassilis Park rest area – 5 k west of Cassilis. A nice bush area off the road with plenty of space, toilets, and tables.

Narromine Bird List

Pacific Black Duck
Crested Pigeon
Australian Magpie
Australian Raven
Common Starling
Red-shouldered Parrot
Red-rumped Parrot
Eastern Rosella
Welcome Swallow
Black Kite
Black-shouldered Kite
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

March 23, 2015

Cassilis Birding

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

Great Dividing Range.

On top of the Great Dividing Range at around 700 meters. Woohoo! This is my favourite camping spot going west. It is called Cassilis Park rest area and is about 5 kilometers past the village of Cassilis on the Golden Highway.

Olive-backed Oriole
Olive-backed Oriole (Oriolus sagittatus)

I was a bit surprised to see these here. I do not know why.

Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

White-throated Treecreeper ( Cormobates leucophaea)

Probably a female White-throated Treecreeper but have to look in the book yet. Edit: Yes it is. (from “The White-throated Treecreeper is dark brown, with a distinctive white throat and chest, and white streaks on its flanks, edged with black. The wings have a red bar that is visible in flight and the undertail is barred. The female has an orange mark on the sides of the face. Like other treecreepers, spends most of its time foraging in trees and has a short, spiralling flight.”

Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus)

Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana)

I do not have my book on me at the moment, so I will properly identify this later. My internet time in the library is limited. doh! I need my book. doh! Edit: hopefully this is right but with limited time to properly check.



March 17, 2015

Isshin-ji Temple and Shin-sekai

Filed under: Japan — admin @ 7:36 am

Isshinji Temple.

My last day in Japan and I had checked out of my hotel. So I went for a walk with the camera. I wanted to go somewhere different so I went past the zoo and found this amazing temple up the hill. The Isshin-ji Temple is the common people’s temple and a lot of what was there I did not understand.

Stone statue.

I saw an interesting entrance with some old stone carvings and what seemed like a garden but I think it might be some kind of cemetery. This fierce looking dude was holding up a huge globe – the world?

fierce stonework
Fierce dude.

I really liked the textures on some of the stone carvings. Do not ask me what it means.

kanji scupture
Kanji carving on stone.

Someone had left a can of coffee for this buddha.

boss buddha
Boss Buddha.

Another fierce dude. My guess is they are supposed to drive away or deter malevolent beings.

angry art
Bug Eyed Monster.


After the temple I followed the tourist route through Shinsekai. As it was Sunday there were heaps of people gawking at all the sights.

pachinko parlour
Looking into a pachinko parlour.

Except for the dudes in the pachinko parlour, who are oblivious to everything but little metal balls rolling down a machine.

lookout tower
The lookout tower.

And of course one must take a photo of the tower. It is mandatory.

shinsekai street
Street scene.

And here are the gawkers.

lunch menu
Restaurant menu board.

Lots of places to eat with touts outside trying to entice you inside.

Gotta get that selfie.

Selfies are all over the world.

okonomoyaki ad
Advertising the okonomiyaki.

angry chef
Angry chef.

Is this the japanese version of Gordon Ramsay?

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