Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

November 21, 2016

Philippine Tarsier

Filed under: Wildlife — Tags: , — admin @ 11:46 am

Tarsier Sanctuary.

This morning I woke up at 6:30am, got my free breakfast, and took a motorised tricycle to the Dao Terminal in Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines. I had to wait for an hour for the jeepney to go. While waiting, I was talking to a philippino couple who were going to Sikatuna, a village in the hills to cook a meal for the poor kids at the school. I bought them a couple of kilos of rice for the kids.

Philippine Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta)

Tarsiers are one of the smallest primates in the world. The Philippine Tarsier is endemic to the country. It can only be found in the Philippines and nowhere else. These special places include Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Mindanao and a few other islands.

Philippine Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier

The Philippine Tarsier is considered a near threatened species. The Tarsier is nocturnal. It is awake during the nights to feed. It feeds on insects, lizards and other small animals. It is a very private animal and does not want to be disturbed.

Loboc River Cruise
Dorky river cruise

After the tarsiers sanctuary I caught the jeepney to Loboc to go on a river cruise. Too bad I had to include a dinner with the boat ride. And it included a band that played to us as we cruised along the river. Very salubrious. I do not know why I am telling you this. It was so tacky. Plus there were no birds or animals whatsoever. doh!

October 9, 2011

Kaikoura Wildlife

Filed under: Wildlife — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:40 am

Seals and Birds.

A couple of months ago I went for a trip to Kaikoura. I can’t even remember why I went now it was that long ago. Kaikoura is about 125 kilometers south of Blenheim at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. The town has rebuilt itself as a tourist destination for whale-watching tours. It is a very nice spot indeed with the sweeping panorama of the snow-capped Kaikoura Ranges in the background.

Wildlife of Kaikoura

About thirty kilometers north of Kaikoura is the Ohau Stream. Every winter Hundreds of New Zealand Fur Seal pups come to the Ohau Point Seal colony. The pups are born in November and December on the rocky seashore and move up the stream. They stay in the stream for a few days each visit but have to return to the seashore to get a feed of their mom’s rich milk. To feed their pups, the mothers spend time at sea hunting for Arrow Squid and Lantern Fish.

In earlier years the New Zealand Fur Seal was hunted for food and skins. Hunting them was banned in 1894, but they were nearly wiped out. They are making a comeback but present numbers are estimated to be at only 10-20% of their original population. The Maori name for them is Kekeno. Seeing the baby seals frolicking in the stream is the highlight of my trip to New Zealand so far. I highly recommend stopping and paying them a visit.

In Kaikoura itself I went for a wander around the rocky headland and saw some more seals. They just lay around the car park sleeping all day. I saw some oystercatchers, both the Pied Oystercatcher and the Variegated Oystercatcher. Two types of gull – the smaller Red-billed Gull and the large Black-backed Gull, also called the Kelp Gull. There were a number of cormorants, called shags over here.

If you do come here make sure you do an Albatross Encounter. You go on a boat ride and see heaps of albatross from what I can gather. Plus lots of other seabirds as well. I have not been yet, but hope to some day.

Kaikoura Bird List

Little Black Shag
Pied Shag
Little Shag
Black-backed Gull
Red-billed Gull
Pied Oystercatcher
Variable Oystercatcher
Welcome Swallow

December 10, 2010

Melbourne Nature

Filed under: Wildlife — Tags: — admin @ 3:54 am

Merri Creek Trail

I took out the old Canon S5IS point and shoot camera today to try it out. I wanted to see if it could take some reasonable photos of birds and animals. Here is a photo of a Magpie-lark that was hanging out near the creek. I cropped this one about 20 percent or so. It came out reasonably well. Mainly I think because the bird was close enough for a decent shot.


Merri Creek was flooding somewhat and I did not see any ducks floating about in the water. The recent rain has really swollen the creeks and rivers in eastern Australia.

Merri Creek
Merri Creek

There were 3 Blue-tongue Lizards that I saw on my walk. They were on the path trying to get some sun to warm up after all the overcast and rainy weather. They were not moving too fast.

Blue-tongue Lizard
Blue-tongue Lizard

Quite a few butterflies were out and about as well. But I am pretty sure that this one might be some kind of moth. He looks all furry to me. And he looks somewhat like a Monarch Butterfly, almost. Edit: It is a Yellow Banded Dart. Thanks to Dennis for the identification. 🙂

Butterfly or Moth?
Yellow Banded Dart (Ocybadistes walkeri )

There were also lots of these white butterflies flittering around. They did not stop still very long and it was hard to get a shot of them before they flew off again.

White Butterfly
White Butterfly

Heaps of these shield bugs were on the paths and most of them were stuck together. I guess it is mating time. They might need a bucket of water thrown over them!

Shield Bugs
shield bugs ?

I saw quite a lot of Indian Mynahs, Blackbirds, Magpie-larks and Rainbow Lorikeets.

September 6, 2009

Flying Foxes Photography 090906

Filed under: Wildlife — Tags: , — admin @ 5:25 am

Grey-headed Flying-fox, Blackbutt Reserve, Newcastle, 6th Septemeber 2009.

Three different species of flying foxes use Blackbutt Reserve as a home:- The Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus), black flying-fox (Pteropus alecto) and the little red flying-foxes (Pteropus scapulatus). The numbers of these flying foxes varies from twenty to forty thousand. The Grey-headed Flying-fox eats nectar and fruit and they sleep during the day light hours in large colonies in the trees at Blackbutt Reserve. They are listed at the moment as a “Threatened” species at state and federal levels.

Grey-headed Flying-fox

The Grey-headed Flying-fox is one of the largest bats in the world and performs an important pollination and seed dispersal role in the eco-system. They have a major role in the dispersal of seed for many commercially significant hardwood and rainforest tree species.

Grey-headed Flying-fox

Females do not reach full reproductive maturity until they are three years old. Mating happens in early autumn, when large groups break up, then reform later in late spring or early summer. Their life span is believed to be between fifteen and twenty years.

Grey-headed Flying-fox

I received a very nice email from Nick Edards. He has taken some fabulous shots of flying-foxes. Here is what he said.

“Hi Steve, excellent flying fox photos, it’s good to see some more of the furry flappers on the net. Have you ever been into a colony during maternity season? There’s some spectacular shots to be had then, especially if you like the challenge of trying to photograph them in flight when the light is rubbish and your camera is wondering why you’re trying to lock on to something it can barely see !

Here’s a few of mine from last year (mostly from Sydney RBG, Parramatta and Belligen colonies).

Nick Edard’s Flying-fox photos – click here

It’s hard to be certain but the bat featured in the third photo on your blog looks pretty heavily pregnant. Many pregnant greys are well into their third trimester at the moment. Birthing will start late October/early November and most births will occur within a six week period.

All the best, Nick”


Hi Steve
Flying foxes are pretty poorly understood so you’re not alone. As you can see from my photos, they are an annual obsession 🙂 Bats are generally pretty sleek so if it’s a female (the genitals on a male are usually pretty hard to miss!) and they look fat in the midsection (the pup is carried transversely across the body), then there’s a good chance that she’s pregnant.

Click here for Pregnant Flying-fox photos by Nick

The topography of many ff colonies makes flight photos hard. I’m lucky being so close to Sydney RBG colony, it’s probably one of the easiest in that regards. If you’re down in Sydney during summer, it’s worth trying to get in to the Gardens around sunset. Even if you don’t get to photograph them, the spectacle of the flyout is very impressive.

The dipping photos are some of my favourites but they are horribly tight crops because the bats were skimming a way down the river. But at least they’re clear enough to see the concentration on their faces. The speed with which they skim is very impressive and it’s amazing that more of them don’t end up in the water. I’m going to have a wander around your site this evening, you’ve got some lovely shots on your pages.

I’ve been to Bellingen and it’s a beautiful colony. The light is spectacular and the flyout up the river is brilliant. I’ve not been to Wingham but I here that it can be home to a lot of bats sometimes. Around Sydney we have RBG, Parramatta, Cabramatta, Gordon, Kurnall, Clyde & Avalon camps plus inevitably a few deep in the National Parks that no one knows about. RBG and to a lesser extent Parramatta are easily the most accessible.

All the best, Nick

March 16, 2009

Bird Photography Kooragang Dykes 090314

Kooragang Dykes Bird Photography 14th March, 2009

Note: Click on a photo, to get a larger version.

Today I had a boat ride to the end of the kooragang Dykes thanks to Liz and Chris from the HBOC. When we got there the Bar-tailed Godwits and Black-tailed Godwits were roosting. The Bar-tailed Godwits were a little fatter than the Black-tailed Godwits because they leave for the Northern Hemisphere about a week earlier in April than them.


The breeding plumage of the Bar-tailed Godwits as well as the Black-tailed Godwits is beginning to show. In this photo you can see the russet colours in some of the birds. There are also a few Pacific Golden Plovers in this photo.

Godwits and golden plovers

You can also see some of the Pacific Golden PLovers in this photo are starting to get their breeding plumage. The Pacific Golden Plovers get a black front with a white edge around it. Note that the Bar-tailed Godwit has a slightly upturned bill, whereas the Black-tailed Godwit has a straight bill which can be a little pinker.

Godwits and golden plovers

There were a few Pacific Golden Plover a little further west by themselves. Note that in one bird on the left, the white stripe that goes around the eye and down the chest is starting to form.

Pacific Golden Plover

That is about it, thank you very much to Liz and Chris for their excellent advice and for the boat ride. 🙂

March 13, 2009

Wildlife Photography

Filed under: Wildlife — admin @ 10:33 pm

Here are some of the photos that I have taken whilst out in the bush. This post is made up of the random photos that I have at the moment.

This little lizard was on the track on the way to Dudley Headland.


I think this one was a skink. It was in a pond at Ash Island.


And here is your Soldier Crab. When you see them in their thousands, you will understand why they have their name. Location was Stockton Sandspit.

soldier crab

And once again at Stockton Sandspit, this Semaphore Crab was trying to intimidate me.

semaphore crab

And this one is a series of boxing kangaroos series that I photographed at Walka Water Works, near Maitland. Biffo!

fight 4

And that is it, for my random animal shots, hopefully I will start organising them a bit better as I go along.
Until then, cheerio.

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