Sunday, June 30, 2013

Owling in the Hinterland

Last weekend a few friends and I went out owling again. The main reason we went out was to get a photo of the Masked Owl that my friends spotted and photographed here a few days earlier. It was seen in the Cootharaba area. They have now seen it three times in the last few weeks and they have got several photos of them. On the way to the area where the Masked Owl was found this Tawny Frogmouth was spotted in a tree overhanging the road. He is able to fly ok even though he has a damaged wing. The bird's left wing hangs down much lower than it should.

Tawny Frogmouth

The Tawny Frogmouth checking me out

After looking around the area for an hour or so we gave up on the Masked Owl and concentrated our efforts on the Owlet Nightjars that could be heard all around the area. The are extremely difficult to spot as they are very small and they throw their voice a long way from where you think they should be from their call. On top of that they are often higher up in the trees. We saw a few of them while we were looking and heard several others calling out. We managed to spotlight a few of them and get a couple of photos as well. The Owlet Nightjars in these photos were at least 25 - 30 meters from us but we still managed to get a couple of reasonable shots.

Owlet Nightjar

The Owlet Nightjar from a different angle

Another Owlet Nightjar

More updates and pics coming soon.

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Birding Around Cootharaba

A few weeks ago I went with a couple of friends to do some bird watching around Cootharaba. First job was to get a photo of the Brown Falcons that had been around the area for the last few weeks. An adult bird had been seen along with a juvenile bird and they were the dark morph of this species. This was the younger and smaller bird in the photos directly below and the adult bird is further down. It was seen feeding the younger bird even at this age even though it can hunt by itself.

Young Brown Falcon

Brown Falcon again

Juvenile Brown Falcon

The adult bird could be seen but she was in a tree down the hill so we thought we would come back later to see if we could get a photo from a closer distance. Next we went down closer towards Boreen Point onto a private property to get a photo of the Scarlet Honeyeaters. They are always very common on this property so we thought we would get a photo. Unfortunately the weather was turning bad and it started sprinkling lightly and was quite cool and dark, even though it was about 2 o'clock. We managed to get a few photos in the area before we had to leave. We saw all the birds photographed below and we also saw many Red-backed Fairy-wrens and Variegated Fairy-wrens that we didn't photograph.

Scarlet Honeyeater

Juvenile Rufous Whistler 

This Spotted Harrier was flying around just above the top of the long grass in the gullies for the entire time we were there. When we first arrived it was perched in a tree fairly close to the car. By the time I wound the window down and got the camera ready, it was gone!! So these photos are the best I could get with such a large distance between me and the Spotted Harrier for the rest of the trip.

Spotted Harrier from a distance

Spotted Harrier

Golden-headed Cisticola

Golden-headed Cisticola on the lookout

When we went back to where the Brown Falcons were, we found that the adult bird had moved into a more suitable position to be photographed. I walked down close to the tree where it was perched and got a few photos. It was really dark and it was actually sprinkling when I took the photos so I rushed them a bit and as a result the colour isn't as good as it should be.

Mature Brown Falcon

The following day I had a quick look around in the trees around the house. I found dozens of White-throated Honeyeaters. They are seen fairly regularly on the property but I haven't seen them in this quantity here before. As usual they were really high in the trees which made it difficult to get a good photo. This was one of the better ones I got of them today.

White-throated Honeyeater

There were heaps of female, male and juvenile Rufous Whistlers around as well.

Rufous Whistler
This Peaceful Dove was left behind when the rest of the flock flew off as I approached. Over the last few years their numbers have continually increased. Most days now you see between 20 - 30 in the flock that stays relatively close to the house. They definitely take advantage of all the food left behind by my poultry.

Peaceful Dove


More updates and pics coming soon.

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