About 2 weeks ago I noticed the Varied Sittellas had returned to my property. I have never seen them here at this time of year before. Usually they are present here just before the wet season starts and usually only stay for a few weeks. There must have been 30 or more. I rang my friend who has never seen them to come over. We both got some good photos of them, considering their size and location in the trees.
|Another Varied Sittella|
|The Varied Sittellas are usually found in this type of tree|
After photographing the Sittellas for a while we went for a quick walk around the property. We didn't get far and it started raining. Before we left to go back to the house I got this quick photo of a Brown Honeyeater.
We decided to go for a drive towards Pomona. As we were driving into town this Pied Butcherbird was seen on the power lines. A terrible photo but the best I could get in the late and overcast conditions in a hurry. It's funny, I see certain birds like this and don't bother taking a photo generally as they are so common. I'm going to start taking photos of these common birds too.
We headed towards some of the creeks and tributaries that feed into Six Mile Creek just out of Pomona as we knew there were Brown Thornbills and other small scrub birds. We both wanted to get a good photo of the Brown Thornbill. The sun came back out, but it was getting quite late to get good photos. Before we saw the Brown Thornbills we saw some Brown Gerygones. I was pleased with this sighting as it was only the second time I had seen them and the first time I had photographed them. They came quite close and we got a few good snaps. The Brown Thornbills came out in large numbers but it was too dark to get any decent shots.
|Another Brown Gerygone|
|The same Brown Gerygone from above|
|Another photo of the same Brown Gerygone|
A few nights later I went back out around my property to have a look around for the Masked Owl I had heard a week or so prior with my friend. I didn't find the Masked Owl but I did hear it clearly again, and it was quite close. I did find a Barn Owl just near the shed and a few other birds like Purple Swamphens, King Quail, Plumed Whistling-Ducks, Laughing Kookaburras and Pacific Black Ducks.
|Laughing Kookaburras roosting at the top of a big gum tree|
Unfortunately the Collared Sparrowhawk has been harassing my aviary birds again. As soon as you go outside he takes flight and stays at least 60 meters away at all times. This photo is poor quality but good enough to identify it.
|A pair of Brown Thornbills displaying|
This weekend I went back to the creeks and tributaries that feed into Six Mile Creek to get some good shots of the Brown Thornbills. This time it was mid morning so I had plenty of good light available. I saw a few Brown Gerygones again but the Brown Thornbills are very aggressive towards them, and as soon as they came out from the foliage they were chased off by the Brown Thornbills.
|The same Brown Thornbill|
|Another Brown Thornbill|
|The same Brown Thornbill from above|
While I was watching the scrub birds all around me, a Willie Wagtail came in and landed close by. It was enjoying the warm sun. It must have felt unthreatened by me and within a minute it decided to sun itself for a few minutes before taking flight to catch more of the plentiful insects that were flying around.
|Willie Wagtail sunning itself|
The next visitors to make their way to me were several Fan-tailed Cuckoos. They were taking advantage of all the caterpillars in the trees. As soon as I moved to get a closer shot they flew deeper into the scrub, but before they flew off I managed to get a few decent shots.
|Fan-tailed Cuckoo having a caterpillar for breakfast|
|Another Fan-tailed Cuckoo with the same type of caterpillar|
|Fan-tailed Cuckoo roosting in the tree|
|Another Fan-tailed Cuckoo roosting in the tree|
|Willie Wagtail looking for insects|
After a while the Brown Thornbills seemed to move away from the area where I was sitting. As a result the Brown Gerygones moved into the area. They too were feeding on the bounty of caterpillars in the trees.
|Brown Gerygone feeding on a caterpillar|
|The Brown Gerygone after eating his meal|
|Another Brown Gerygone|
When I got back home I had a quick look around before I had to leave again. Heaps of birds were out today. There were dozens of Grey Fantails and Eastern Yellow Robins, many Striated Pardalotes, White-browed Scrub-wrens, Red-browed Finches and many others.
|Eastern Yellow Robin|
|Eastern Yellow Robin looking for insects|
|Eastern Yellow Robin|
|Another Eastern Yellow Robin|
A few friends and I have made a few trips in the last few weeks to a private property just outside of Pomona. On the first night we didn't see much and just before we were about to leave a small bird flew close to our head. We heard it call not long later and it was a Owlet Nightjar. Within minutes we heard about 4 calling out. We only saw one in the torch beam but before we could get a photo it had flown off. That night we did hear a Masked Owl calling out too, but it was a long way off.
The following trip we heard numerous Owlet Nightjars. They stretched the entire property. At one time we could hear 6 calling out. It may have been the same birds following us along the whole property or they may have been much more numerous. We saw them dart out just above our heads several times but were unable to get a photo. Finally we heard one calling, then it flew and we heard it land in a tree nearby. We were lucky enough to be able to get a few very quick photos before it flew off again. They are very difficult to photograph at night as they don't like the torch shining on them at all and they seem to be able to throw their voice quite a distance which makes them hard to pinpoint.
Once we finally got a photo we were very excited as it is the first time we've seen them, other than flying and it is the first time I have photographed them. Just as exciting was the fact we heard the Masked Owl again, a little closer than last time and we heard the very distinctive Powerful Owl calling out. I couldn't believe my ears. My friend was sure to. It sounded like it was a long way from us though, which is highly possible as their call can be heard from over 1km away. We heard it call several more times over the next hour or so, each time getting closer to our position. We will definitely be back to see if we can get some better photos of the Owlet Nightjar and to hopefully locate and photograph the Powerful Owl and Masked Owl. Unfortunately the scrub on this property is very dense and hard to move through and we don't have access to it on a regular basis. Hopefully my friends can organise for me to get to the property again in the near future.
|Owlet Nightjar again|
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Australian Birds KEUNEA PHOTOGRAPHY