Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Hawking Falcons.

Brown Falcon eating an insect
Photo with a Nikon D300 + Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm VR
(Murphys Creek, Queensland, August 28 2011)

Had a great day with birding friend, Michael Atzeni at Murphys Creek, on Sunday. It was my first time there after the devastating flash floods that hit last January. I was shocked to see just a little of the damage. It is a beautiful natural area, however, and is starting to show some regrowth and I hope to show some of the sights I had there in upcoming posts on this blog.

The last thing we came across on the way home was a pair of Brown Falcons performing some curious aerial behaviour. They seemed to be eating something in flight and going to and fro around us. Unfortunately, I missed the best chances when they were nearest when I was using my Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm VR.  I usually love this lens for flight shots but it just didn't have the reach and furthermore was failing to focus accuratley. Thankfully I had time to change to the Nikkor 80-400mm VR. I had also had a focussing failure with this lens earlier in the day and decided to use my back-up. Hope my camera isn't on the way out. If you look closely, you can see some insects in some of the shots. A nice little encounter for the last birding event on my last day of my holidays.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Which Canada Goose?

 Cackling Goose (?), or Lesser Canada Goose, (?) Aleutian Goose or B.h. taverneri (?)
-Any ideas by readers much appreciated with many thanks!
(Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan, October 27, 2010)

I originally thought these were Cackling Geese, but I'm a little confused by my bird guides. These clearly have a white collar (around the base of the neck) but the photos in the only guide I have depicting "Cackling Geese" don't have any hint of white collars. Another older, Japanese guide, has only one goose species that looks anything like this and just has it listed as a "Canada Goose"; and according to the third guide, Birds of East Asia - China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Russia (by Mark Brazil), they are a subspecies of,  "Lesser Canada Goose" but again the white-collars of these birds seem to indicate they are more likely  "Aleutian Goose" Branta hutchinsii leucopareia and not "Cackling Goose" Branta hutchinsii minima (which is fairly small and again depicted without having a white collar). ....And in hindsight, I thought these were fairly large, which according to the Brazil guide they could even be Branta hutchinsii taverneri, (but doesn't list the common name). I remember a few days after I saw them I asked a Japanese friend what they possibly were and he just gave me a Japanese name which just "vagued me out".

Fukushimagata, Niigata has waterbirds in the tens of thousands in Autumn and I didn't think they were that special at the time.

Thursday, 4 August 2011