Sunday, December 1, 2013

Charlie Moreland Campground, Little Yabba Creek and Around Home

Over the last month I have been too busy to get out and take many photos. The few times I have been out was quickly at night time to attempt to obtain a photo of the Southern Boobooks. I have heard a few most nights for the last month or more, but they only call for about 5 to 10 minutes before moving on. I have managed to get a couple of photos of them on one occasion but my flash was nearly flat and my torch also went flat so the quality is terrible. The fact that it was 40 metres from me didn't help either. I have also obtained a few decent photos of a few mammals that I have also included.

This Tawny Frogmouth has been seen several times over the last few months. This is a different one from the pair that normally reside here.

Tawny Frogmouth

The same Tawny Frogmouth

Common Brushtail Possum are very common on the property. There are half a dozen or so that live in the trees close to the house. Dozens can be seen throughout the whole property. Ringtail Possums are nearly seen as often.

Common Brushtail Possum

This was the best photo I could obtain of the Southern Boobook with the bird being about 40 metres from me and having little light given by the flash as it was nearly flat. By the time I got back with new batteries it had gone. They are common throughout the property during the summer months. During the winter they are not heard at all. This is a species that I am determined to capture a good photo of in the coming weeks.

Southern Boobook

This Dollarbird was an unlikely find as I walked past with the torch. I was quite unsure of the bird by eye, but with the zoom lens I was able to capture this image to identify the bird easily. I was surprised as to where it was roosting for the night. I assumed that they would perch high up, probably in a dead tree as they are always seen high up in dead trees during the day. It was only about two metres off the ground in a wild tobacco bush.

Dollarbird roosting at night

While I was out looking for some of my geese near the dam I heard an unusual sound and rustling in the sedges. Next thing two mammals, that I thought were possums run along the ground chasing each other. They ran up a tree and then one jumped out and glided to another tree. The other one followed it. Once it glided I knew it was a Sugar Glider or Squirrel Glider. This game of chase along the ground and in the trees lasted for five minutes. After that I got the camera to take a photo of one that was sitting in the fork of a tree about 15 metres up. It was a Squirrel Glider. It can be distinguished from the Sugar Glider by the rounder ears and its face is rounder. The Squirrel Glider generally has a lighter coloured face and a shorter snout too. Also the Sugar Gliders usually have a white tip on the tail. The Squirrel Glider never has a white tip on the tail.

Squirrel Glider

Just as I was about to go back inside I noticed something very small scurrying around the fork of the tree just below where the Squirrel Glider was. I thought it was a small antechinus. Once I zoomed in with my camera I thought it was a baby Squirrel Glider. It was only about twelve centimetres including the tail!! After doing some research I have realised that it isn't a baby Squirrel Glider as it would have the black marking on its face already by this size. The black marking in the middle of the face develops as the fur first grows. That means it was a coincidence that it was near the Squirrel Glider as this is not a baby at all, it is in fact a Feathertail Glider.

Feathertail Glider

Today I went with two friends out to Charlie Moreland Campground and Little Yabba Creek. We left my house at about 4:30 am. As we were passing through the Belli Park area we spotted several Channel-billed Cuckoos flying into a dead tree at the crest of a hill, which was the highest point in the area. We had driven past and as I walked back to get photos they all flew off. I reversed back and we waited in the car. Within a few minutes they returned. I see and hear these birds regularly from late spring to early autumn but they are often very conspicuous and are difficult to photograph as they perch high in trees. Luckily for us we were close to in line with the top of this tree.

Channel-billed Cuckoo calling

While we were photographing the Channel-billed Cuckoos a pair of Brown Quails were spotted walking along the edge of the grass. Due to the low light and the speed at which the quails were moving I wasn't able to get my settings right to obtain a good photo quick enough. They were so close and in the open too but all the other photos were very blurry. A missed opportunity! This was the only photo I obtained that wasn't very blurred.

Brown Quail

Channel-billed Cuckoo

The same Channel-billed Cuckoo sunning itself

Another Channel-billed Cuckoo flying in

Channel-billed Cuckoo coming in to land

Channel-billed Cuckoos often crouch while calling

Channel-billed Cuckoo

At the Little Yabba Creek walk behind the Charlie Moreland Campground many birds were seen and heard. The most common of the birds today were the White-eared Monarchs. These birds easily numbered over a hundred today. Several dozen were sighted throughout the walk and they were heard constantly around the walk and at Fig Tree Walk not far from here. Other birds sighted and heard in large numbers included Spectacled  Monarchs, Brown Cuckoo-Doves, Large-billed Scrubwrens, Paradise Riflebirds, White-browed Scrubwrens and Bellbirds.

Only two Noisy Pittas were heard calling today which is a low number for this area. A few dozen Wompoo Fruit-Doves were heard but none were spotted. A few Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves and Green Catbirds were also heard calling. Other birds sighted included some Variegated Fairy-wrens, King Parrots, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Bar-shouldered Doves,  Grey and Rufous Fantails plus a few other common bush birds.

One of the many Spectacled  Monarchs

Spectacled  Monarch

Another Spectacled  Monarch

White-eared Monarch

One of the many White-eared Monarchs

White-browed Scrubwren

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

Many Paradise Riflebirds were heard throughout the whole area and they were sighted several times darting past. This one was the only specimen we captured a photograph of though. It was 20 metres up in a tree. Unfortunately it was covered in branches. I am happy with the quality considering how dark it was in the forest and how high it was in the tree.

Paradise Riflebird feeding

Paradise Riflebird

Male Paradise Riflebird

This Rufous Fantail had a good working relationship with a Logrunner. The male Logrunner was scratching around in the leaf litter, the only one seen or heard in the whole area I might add and this fantail would catch the insects that were flying off. They followed each other around the forest floor for more than five minutes while we watched them. Definitely an odd couple but they seemed to enjoy each others company and the Rufous Fantail was getting a lot of food with little work.

Rufous Fantail

The Rufous Fantail with a small insect that the Logrunner flushed out

The Logrunner's bodyguard

The male Logrunner that had befriended the Rufous Fantail

This Grey Butcherbird was mimicking the other birds from the forest. He was in the Charlie Moreland campground.

Grey Butcherbird

This bird nest was seen close to the bridge on the walkway on the Fig Tree Walk. I am not certain of what type of bird made this nest. It was made mainly from Old Man's Beard a type of lichen.

A well constructed bird's nest

A terrible photo but the Large-billed Scrubwrens were in large numbers. They were very active this time and I had difficulty obtaining a good photo of them in a short time. We were running out of time as we had to get home for an appointment. So rushing didn't help either.

Large-billed Scrubwren

Juvenile Spectacled Monarch

We had a great morning out, even though it was a very cool start to summer. I was pleased with the quality of most of the photos I obtained today. I have got a new species now for the blog too. It was great to finally get out and do some bird watching again. I have definitely missed it over the last month.

More updates and pics coming soon.
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Quick Trip to Bribie Island

Last Saturday a friend and I called in at Bribie Island on our way down to Brisbane and Ipswich. I was hoping to see the Oriental Plover in particular but I knew it was unlikely as we arrived too late to see the shore birds when they are most active. We were late leaving the house and didn't arrive at Bribie until about 9 o'clock. We had a look at Buckley's Hole Lagoon to begin with and we saw several birds in this area. I was pleased as I actually got the first photos of a bird that I have only seen once before, which was the Mangrove Gerygone. I also got the first photos I have taken of a Little Egret.

A few Little Egrets were here along with many Mangrove Gerygones, Intermediate and Great Egrets, Whimbrels, Black-winged Stilts plus all the usual bush birds in the surrounding area like Noisy Miners,  Grey Fantails, Willie Wagtails, Noisy Friarbirds plus a few others.

Several Black-winged Stilts were present at Buckley's Hole Lagoon

One of the many Mangrove Gerygones sighted

Some of the Mangrove Gerygones were quite approachable

A Little Egret hunting

The Little Egret preening

Little Egret

The Little Egret ready for take off

The Little Egret in flight

A couple of Gull-billed Terns were doing laps around the tidal zone and were collecting small crabs and other small prey from the mud each time they flew around.

Gull-billed Tern in flight

One of the Gull-billed Terns collecting some food while flying

The Gull-billed Tern with some food, which was eaten while flying

Just as we made our way back to the car, a Pheasant Coucal flew past and landed at the top of a shrub in the distance. I see these birds regularly but have few photos of them due to not having a camera or, because I usually see them while driving or they land in long grass. This one gave me an opportunity to get a few better shots. I love their advertising calls. What impressed me most of all was the fact that he did several calls while we watched him and the whole time he had a large bug in his mouth!!

Pheasant Coucal

The same Pheasant Coucal

The Pheasant Coucal just before he flew

The Pheasant Coucal in flight (still with his meal)

After this we headed around to Kakadu Beach. This area had a few species visible still even though it was getting late. There were heaps of Pied Oystercatchers and Silver Gulls plus several Whimbrels and a trio of Chestnut Teal. This is the first time that I have seen the Chestnut Teal in the wild too! A couple of other bush birds were also sighted around the gardens near the hides and along the path. While we were here, we did hear the Beach Stone-curlews calling from within the protected area. Unfortunately we didn't see them though.

Maybe the Oriental Plover was present but I was unable to locate it from the walkway or hides and I do not have a scope. Maybe I was just too late too. As much as I would have loved to see the Beach Stone-curlews as well as the Oriental Plover, it is important that people keep out of this area and allow these birds to rest and feed in this protected zone. If people keep/start going into this area for there own selfish reasons, just to obtain a photograph it would upset the birds. We noticed a large number of footprints going into the protected area. I'm sure more footprints than rangers that may be entering!! I noticed that many of the Pied Oystercatchers had bands on their legs too.

Pied Oystercatcher

A Pied Oystercatcher feeding

The same Pied Oystercatcher

These were the best few photos I could obtain of the Chestnut Teal as they were inside the protected area. These have been zoomed in and cropped, hence why they are so blurred.

A trio of Chestnut Teal

The same trio of Chestnut Teal in the ocean

The Chestnut Teal on the sand

Two of the Chestnut Teal in flight


One of the many Silver Gulls

More updates and pics coming soon.
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