Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

August 17, 2009

Hat Head NP Bird Photography 090811

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 2:45 am

Connors Track, Hungry Head, Hat Head National Park, 11th August 2009.

After driving to Hat Head from Crescent Head, I camped at Hungry Head Camping Area. It is quite a popular little spot. After an early breakfast up at Hungry Head, I wandered down Connors Track, which goes all the way to The Gap which is at Korogoro Point. It would have to be one of the most scenic walks on the coast. It is very spectacular.

I was hoping to see raptors – Brahminy Kites especially, and also White-bellied Sea-eagles and maybe an Osprey or two, but I saw zero. And I was also hoping to see Australasian Gannets diving for fish but again, no dice. But I did manage to see a few kangaroos on the way. There was a pretty big north easterly swell running along with a nor’easter wind, so that may have had something to do with it. The track wanders through quite a few different habitats – from Banksia, to heath and some scattered rainforest-like sections. There were a couple of little soak streams running down the hills towards the ocean, and at one pool some Silvereyes were having a drink and a bath.

Silvereyes bathing
Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis)

I think this Spangled Drongo had just had a bath in the same stream as the Silvereyes.

Spangled Drongo
Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus)

As per usual, just as I reached the car and getting ready to put away the camera, there was a couple of Bar-shouldered Doves perched on a branch right next to my parked car. It always happens.

Bar-shouldered Dove
Bar-shouldered Dove (Geopelia humrealis)

Korogoro Point Track

After that, I had a look at Korogoro Point to see if there were any Ospreys fishing, but there were none. I did happen to see an Eastern Reef Egret fly in from the point and hung out in the rocks by the sheltered creek. By that time the nor’easter was really howling.

Hat Head bird List 11/8/09

Australian Magpie
Little Wattlebird
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Brown Honeyeater
Spangled Drongo
Silvereye
Grey Fantail
Bar-shouldered Dove
Australasian Gannet
Eastern Yellow Robin
Silver Gull
Australian Pelican
Brown Thornbill
Eastern Reef Egret

August 15, 2009

Richardsons Crossing Bird Photography 090810

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Richardsons Crossing, Hat Head National Park, 10th August 2009.

After a gruelling 2 surfs at Crescent Heads I was ready to hit the sack. I fed my weary bones, dumped off the photos to the laptop, and then I was in sleep land. I really did not feel like getting up in the morning but nature made me. After grumpily consuming breakfast, I wandered around the area where some excellent bush regeneration work had been done. They have removed heaps of lantana.

The birds were pretty quiet this morning. You could hear the usual Little Wattlebirds and White-cheeked Honeyeaters. Where I walked was just on the border line between 2 habitats – paperbark swamp and coastal banksia heathlands. I got some good photographs of a male Superb Fairy-wren who sat up nicely for me.

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

I thought I spotted what looked like an Olive-backed Oriole, but I am not sure about that. Edit: It was an Olive-backed Oriole, thanks Dennis.

Brown Cuckoo-dove
Brown Cuckoo-dove (Macropygia amboinensis)

I was nearly back to the camp and I spotted a Brown Cuckoo-dove feeding on the fruit of a Tobacco Bush. He stayed there for a while allowing me to take quite a few photos of him. Let’s hope some of them turn out all right. And there they are. You be the judge. 🙂

Brown Cuckoo-dove
Brown Cuckoo-dove

Richarsons Crossing bird list, 10/8/09.

Little Wattlebird
White-cheeked Honeyeater
White-browed Scrubwren
Grey Fantail
Superb Fairy-wren
Olive-backed Oriole
Brown Cuckoo-dove
Rainbow Lorikeet

August 14, 2009

Ryans Cut Bird Photography 090809

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Ryan’s Cut, Hat Head National Park, 9th August 2009.

Ryan’s Cut is a lagoon/creek that almost empties out to the ocean. It was developed in 1973 as a clearance for the flood waters of the Macleay River Valley. There are no facilities, just a great scenery. After I woke up, I wandered around the edge of the creeks and the paperbark swamp. There were a few White-cheeked Honeyeaters and then I photographed a Shining Bronze-cuckoo.

Shining Bronze-cuckoo
Shining Bronze-cuckoo (Chrysococcyx lucidus)

Thre weren’t many water birds on the lagoon, just a couple of Chestnut Teals. I saw a few Brown Honeyeaters and heard an Eastern Whipbird but could not photograph or see one, despite some very quiet stalking. Whipbirds are starting to be my bugbear, my nemesis. But I am determined to get a good photograph of one. ha ha. A Spangled Drongo made an appearance but flew off before I could get into a decent position to photograph him.

There was a mob of Superb Fairy-wrens and your usual Little Wattlebirds feeding on the Banksia trees and making a general nuisance of themselves.

Ryans Cut Bird List 9/8/09

Willy Wagtail
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Shining Bronze-cuckoo
Brown Honeyeater
Chestnut Teal
Superb Fairy-wren
Grey Fantail
Spangled Drongo
White-faced Heron
Welcome Swallow
Lewin’s Honeyeater

Crescent Head

That afternoon I made it to Crescent Head and had a great surf out at the point. After a snooze I heard all this sqwarking and went outside and saw people pointing to an Osprey in a tall pine tree in the Camping area. And in the middle of the Caravan Park was a massive Osprey nest high up in the tallest pine tree. Mum was sitting in another tree getting away from her screaming kids.

Osprey
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

On another tree was a Nankeen Kestrel being harassed by some Magpie-larks. Australian Pipits were scrabbling on the ground in front on the grass, and when I went out to take some photos of the surfing, a Crested Tern and a Reef Egret were picking around the rocks on the shore

Australian Pipit
Australian Pipit (Anthus australis)

Crescent Head bird list 9/8/09 pm

Osprey
Nankeen Kestrel
Australian Pipit
Crested Tern
Reef Egret

July 3, 2009

Hat Head NP 090629

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Bird Photography at Hat Head National Park, 29th June, 2009.

I drove from Sawtell to Jerseyville on the western side of the Macleay River. There were a few trawlers on the other side of the river. The bar must be deep at South West Rocks for them to be able to get out to sea. Before sunrise I drove to Smoky Cape Lighthouse and then I went to Smoky Camp. There was not much happening so I drove to Hat Head and walked the Connors Beach Track hoping to see some Brahminy Kites.

The Australian Gannets were fishing. I saw a couple of whales spouting and coming out of the water. I think they were humpbacks. Looking south to Hungry Head I saw a massive number of Gannets wheeling in a circle and dive-bombing like stukas. They would fly round in a circle and then dive bomb again. There must have been nearly a hundred of them. Sometimes ten or so were diving at one time. They were just peeling off one after another. It was spectacular! I then went along the Korogoro Point walk and saw a White-bellied Sea-eagle.

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

Then an Osprey came along and the White-bellied Sea-eagle was not impressed and they had a bit of an altercation. Luckily no animals were harmed in the photography of these animals. 🙂

White-bellied Sea-eagle and Osprey
Osprey and White-bellied Sea-eagle

Hat Head Bird Species List 29/6/09

Australasian Gannet
Crested Tern
White-faced Heron
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Osprey
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Brown Thornbill
Silver Gull
Superb Fairy-wren
Welcome Swallow

July 2, 2009

Hat Head NP 090627

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , , — admin @ 11:01 pm

Bird Photography at Hat Head National Park, 27th June, 2009. am

I camped at Hungry Camp, which is a great little camp near the beach at Hungry Head. There were heaps of Rainbow Lorikeets and Little Wattlebirds. The Magpies stole my breakfast! I left the muesli unattended and they were into it when I returned. They are so cheeky, watch them! I went over to the swamp next to the camping area and saw this weird pigeon on a dead tree. It was a White-headed Pigeon (Columba leucomela) and it is new one for me. One tick for the whole trip so far.

White-headed Pigeon
White-headed Pigeon (Columba leucomela)

After that, I went to The Gap and walked towards Connors Beach on the track. I saw some Australasian Gannets fishing. I think there was one adult and two immature birds. Here is an immature bird diving in for the kill.

Australasian Gannet
Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator)

Then, two Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus) came wheeling by, working the hill side. I was ecstatic! They soared over the ridges and then headed south towards Hungry Hill.

Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)

As I got back to the car park at Korogoro Point, a Nankeen Kestrel roosted on a tree very close. So I obliged by take some lovely photos of him.

Nankeen Kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)

Distracting me from this was a pair of very brightly coloured male Superb Fairy-wrens. I was told that there were also White-bellied Sea-eagles and Osprey around this area. So it is a top spot for raptors. This is a highly recommended spot and I will surely come back for an extended visit another time.

Hat Head NP Bird List 27/6/09

Little Wattlebird
Rainbow Lorikeet
Australian Magpie
White-headed Pigeon
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Scarlet Honeyeater
Willy Wagtail
Australasian Gannet
Brahminy Kite
Nankeen Kestrel
Superb Fairy-wren
Welcome Swallow

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