Thursday, 13 April 2017

Quite a Few Birds: Update #1

A dollarbird comments on my efforts

I have reached the half way point in my (modest) bid to see 300 species of Australian birds in a year. The current list is at the bottom of this post. It's made up mostly of Far North Queensland species with a few from Tasmania.

One of the few from Tasmania: forty-spotted pardalote

I'm doing this Year of Seeing Quite a Few Birds for several reasons. The most important is that it gets me out and about. For a long while I had been pottering around the house, apparently happily. Then I wandered across the line that separates pottering from stagnating. Unfortunately that line is not clear and I had gone some distance into the wasteland before I looked up and saw where I was. So now I'm heading back again. I intend to stride right over that line, keep going all the way through pottering, and emerge on the other side, which I hope has good metaphors because I've done something awful to this one. Send a compass. Help.

Anyway, I have a number of bird watching trips lined up over the next four months. No point mentioning them in advance because 'I'm going to [location]' is not as interesting as 'I'm at [location] and here's what I've seen' followed by fuzzy photos of something in a tree. (See image above.)

If I clock up 300 species in 2017, that'll be great. It means I've been to some interesting places. If I don't...well...I've still been to those interesting places. The key to this is not the seeing, but the looking.

Difficult to miss this golden whistler

The list so far:
  1. Australian Brush-turkey
  2. Orange-footed Scrubfowl
  3. Magpie Goose
  4. Plumed Whistling-duck
  5. Wandering Whistling-duck
  6. Cape Barren Goose
  7. Black Swan
  8. Radjah Shelduck
  9. Chestnut Teal
  10. Pacific Black Duck
  11. Hardhead
  12. Australian Grebe
  13. Great Crested Grebe
  14. Rock Dove
  15. White-headed Pigeon
  16. Spotted Dove
  17. Brown Cuckoo-dove
  18. Emerald Dove
  19. Peaceful Dove
  20. Bar-shouldered Dove
  21. Wompoo Fruit-dove
  22. Torresian Imperial-pigeon
  23. White-rumped Swiftlet
  24. Australasian Gannet
  25. Little Pied Cormorant
  26. Great Cormorant
  27. Little Black Cormorant
  28. Black-faced Cormorant
  29. Australian Pelican
  30. Intermediate Egret
  31. Cattle Egret
  32. White-faced Heron
  33. Australia White Ibis
  34. Straw-necked Ibis
  35. Osprey
  36. Black-shouldered Kite
  37. White-bellied Sea-eagle
  38. Whistling Kite
  39. Black Kite
  40. Grey Goshawk (white phase)
  41. Wedge-tailed Eagle
  42. Brown Falcon
  43. Purple Swamphen
  44. Buff-banded Rail
  45. Tasmanian Native Hen
  46. Dusky Moorhen
  47. Eurasian Coot
  48. Bush Stone-curlew
  49. Australian Pied Oystercatcher
  50. Sooty Oystercatcher
  51. Masked Lapwing
  52. Comb-crested Jacana
  53. Crested Tern
  54. Pacific Gull
  55. Kelp Gull
  56. Silver Gull
  57. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  58. Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
  59. Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
  60. Galah
  61. Rainbow Lorikeet
  62. Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
  63. Australian King-parrot
  64. Green Rosella
  65. Crimson Rosella
  66. Eastern Rosella
  67. Pale-headed Rosella
  68. Channel-billed Cuckoo
  69. Fan-tailed Cuckoo
  70. Barking Owl
  71. (Red) Boobook
  72. Sooty Owl
  73. Laughing Kookaburra
  74. Forest Kingfisher
  75. Dollarbird
  76. White-throated Treecreeper
  77. Spotted Catbird
  78. Tooth-billed Bowerbird
  79. Superb Fairy-wren
  80. Atherton Scrubwren
  81. Large-billed Scrubwren
  82. Brown Gerygone
  83. Yellow-rumped Thornbill
  84. Tasmanian Thornbill
  85. Forty-spotted Pardalote
  86. Eastern Spinebill
  87. Lewin's Honeyeater
  88. Yellow-faced Honeyeater
  89. 'Herberton' Honeyeater
  90. Noisy Miner
  91. Yellow Wattlebird
  92. Bridled Honeyeater
  93. Dusky Honeyeater
  94. Scarlet Honeyeater
  95. Brown Honeyeater
  96. New Holland Honeyeater
  97. White-cheeked Honeyeater
  98. Strong-billed Honeyeater
  99. Black-headed Honeyeater
  100. Blue-faced Honeyeater
  101. Helmeted Friarbird
  102. Noisy Friarbird
  103. Macleay's Honeyeater
  104. Eastern Whipbird
  105. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
  106. White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
  107. Cicadabird
  108. Golden Whistler
  109. Rufous Whistler
  110. Little Shrike-thrush
  111. Bower's Shrike-thrush
  112. Grey Shrike-thrush
  113. Australasian Figbird
  114. Yellow Oriole
  115. White-breasted Woodswallow
  116. Pied Butcherbird
  117. Black Butcherbird
  118. Grey Butcherbird
  119. Australian Magpie
  120. Pied Currawong
  121. Spangled Drongo
  122.  Rufous Fantail
  123. Grey Fantail
  124. Willie Wagtail
  125. Forest Raven
  126. Torresian Crow
  127. Leaden Flycatcher
  128. Black-faced Monarch
  129. Spectacled Monarch
  130. Magpie-lark
  131. Pied Monarch
  132. Yellow-breasted Boatbill
  133. Victoria's Riflebird
  134. Scarlet Robin
  135. Pink Robin
  136. Dusky Robin
  137. Grey-headed Robin
  138. Pale-yellow Robin
  139. Silvereye
  140. Welcome Swallow
  141. Bassian Thrush
  142. Common Blackbird
  143. Metallic Starling
  144. Common Starling
  145. Common Myna
  146. Red-browed Finch
  147. Beautiful Firetail
  148. Chestnut-breasted Mannikin
  149. House Sparrow
  150. Australasian Pipit
  151. European Goldfinch

Monday, 3 April 2017

Welcome to the world

Because of the weather, I have abandoned plans to go away for Easter. So I'll stay at home with the wildlife. Here's one of the new paddies.


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Friday, 24 March 2017

Snake news!

One of the convenient things about living in the rainforest its that wildlife comes to you.

This carpet snake was looking for somewhere to digest its meal.

This young scrub python found a spot to sleep.

An adult brown tree snake went foraging for food in the laundry.

This baby brown tree snake wanted me to know who was boss.

A blue phase green tree snake. Very handsome. You should have seen it IRL!

The carport was festooned with shed skins, because that's a good place to hang out. Also hang down.

All those stayed outside, but this small-eyed snake found a spot on the threshold.

And one large and feisty red-bellied snake made itself at home in the living room for quite a long time until I finally called the snake catcher. Here it is on the garden steps, making plans.

Not pictured: northern crowned snake, which was the first species I saw at this place.

They're all welcome, of course. As long as they remain on the other side of the door.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Putting on my tails...

On some days the coppery brushtailed possums wake up early. This fellow was getting ready at 4pm.

Wait! I'm not prepared for my close up

Just need to get my tail in order

And comb my hair

We'll just gloss over this photo

Right. How do I look?

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Maria Island: The Wildlife of Darlington

The wombat stretched as much as a wombat can stretch and settled down for a nap. It had chosen a spot just above the jetty at Darlington. Had I not just arrived on Maria Island, I would have done the same. Facing the sea, of course, because I don't have an opportunity to look at it at my place.

Snoozy among the timbers

Maria Island National Park is home to a variety of mammal species, including Tasmanian devils. There was plenty of evidence of their presence. In some places, it was difficult to walk without stepping in poo: wombat cubes, macropod pellets, and fur- and feather-filled devil scat. But it was a hot day and most of the wildlife was lying deep in the shade. Only Snoozy here made an appearance.

Snoozy wakes

The birds were more obliging, although they weren't going to get too close.

Pied oystercatcher, silver gulls, chestnut teal and Pacific gull

There are plenty of Tasmanian native-hens, a large flightless rail known locally as 'turbo chooks' because of their supercharged dashes. They are also not keen on being photographed. So picture a turbo-chook here →🐔

The most obvious birds are Cape Barren geese. These handsome grey geese spend their time cropping grass, honking at cyclists, and avoiding Tasmanian devils. They are abundant at Darlington. And I really like taking photos of them, if only for their fluorescent yellow beaks and two-tone legs.

At Darlington

And a bit further away from Darlington

The beak is good, but look at the feet!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Waiting for Grebe

Some time last week I was scanning Lake Barrine with a pair of binoculars and muttering to myself, when someone said, 'Excuse me. Are you a bird watcher?'

I admitted that I was.

'What are you looking at?'

That was a good question. Apart from a pair of Pacific black ducks that were paddling around the tour boat, hoping for a piece of scone, the lake surface appeared lifeless.

'Great crested grebes,' I said. 'There's a big flock of them on the other side.'

I handed the binoculars to her and pointed at the spot, about 800 metres away.

'There,' I said. 'Can you see them?'


She passed the binoculars back to me. I peered through them.

'Oh. They've dived. Hang on. They're back up.'

'I can't see them,' she said.

'No. They've gone under again.'

And so it went, for about fifteen minutes: the binoculars passed back and forth and the dialogue repeated with variations. A Beckett play for bird watchers.

I went back today. This time with a camera.

A watery Sahara
Not a dicky bird
Wait. What's this?
Goodness gracious! Great crested grebes!
There are 25 great crested grebes in this photo. Trust me.