Thursday, 29 August 2013

White Cocky

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Oakey, Queensland, Australia

March 28, 2013

It's aways great to go home and see familiar faces. There were some Sulphur-crested Cockatoos along the creek running through Oakey when Kevin Williams and I visited back in March and I was happy to get these shots. Good that there are some large trees around. Hope you enjoy looking at them.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Marbled Dreaming

Marbled Frogmouth

Podargus ocellatus marmoratus

Cape York, Queensland, Australia

October 2012

One of my best ever birding experiences was night-spotting at Cape York.

To say the stars come out at night at Cape York is an understatement. I was anticipating a few distant observations but was totally enthralled by regular and reasonably close views of some of Australia's most  beautiful and fascinating nocturnal spirits. 

Sometimes I didn't know where to look or point my camera as more than one subject was visible at one time. Cape York is truly a precious place.

Australia has three Frogmouth species and all can be seen at Cape York.

1. There are two races of Marbled Frogmouth in Australia which are confined to smallish areas. One race is in south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales and the above race, only at Cape York. Other races can be found in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands (Ref various field guides and Wikipedia)

2. The Papuan Frogmouth is the largest Frogmouth (Up to 60cm) and, in Australia, is only found at Cape York. It is also found in Papua New Guinea, the Torres Straight islands, and Indonesia.

3. Most Australians are familiar with Tawny Frogmouths which are found Australia wide. Many people call them "Frogmouth Owls" but actually they aren't owls. If you look closely, you can see they have small feet. They catch their prey, mostly small mammals (rats and mice), with their large bills and swallow it whole.

I'd studied these birds in my books when I was young but never imagined seeing them so freely. It was like a dream.

Thanks to Kirrama Wildlife Tours

Marbled Frogmouth

Marbled Frogmouth

The large Papuan Frogmouth
Podargus papuensis baileyi

Cape York

Papuan Frogmouth

Papuan Frogmouth

The familiar Tawny Frogmouth

Podargus strigoides phalaenoides

Cape York

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Spectacled Monarch

Spectacled Monarch
Symposiarchus trivirgatus albiventris

Iron Range National Park, Cape York, Queensland, Australia

October 2012

My best shot of a Spectacled Monarch. Very aloof in the shadows and wearing duel rings. He kept his back to me and I just got this glimpse of the face.

There are three races in the rain forests and mangroves along the north eastern Australian coast and this, albiventris is the most northern.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Collared Sparrowhawk at the Wenlock River

Sign at the Wenlock River

Cape York, Queensland, Australia

October 14, 2012

 I was excited to pass across the Wenlock River last year. It was at the Wenlock back in the 70s that a seven year search by Jack and Lindsay Cupper for nesting Red Goshawks came to an end. They collected the first ever movie film of Reds at the nest and Australian photographic treasures. I remember it well from their book.

Just as I was taking pictures of the sign my eye caught a Collared Sparrowhawk passing right over me. Not a Red Goshawk but a welcome memory for my visit.

Collared Sparrowhawk

Possibly "Little Black Cormorants" but I'm not going to label them in case they're "Greats"

The photo was one minute after the sparrowhawk.

Sunday, 11 August 2013


Black-breasted Buzzard
Hamirostra malanosternon

Cape York, Queensland, Australia

October 13, 2012

Not great shots but I'm posting them for the record. I think I had a wannabe sighting about twenty years ago but this was my first confirmed sighting and only photographic record of this rare species. It was sighted by Michael Atzeni whose voice skyrocketed, "Russ, Buzzard!"

Black-breatsed Buzzard was one of my favourites from the bird guides when I was a kid. It is the third largest of Australia's raptors. It is pretty much absent from the areas I've spent my life but there are supposedly good populations in northern and central Australia.

It isn't related to the buteos of other parts of the world. Australia doesn't have any buteos. I think it was called a "buzzard" because nobody knew what else to call it. It is one of just three raptor species unique to Australia.

It is famous for peculiar behaviour such as using a large rock in its bill to smash down on and break open Emu eggs. I think the only other bird to do similar is the Egyptian Vulture?

Friday, 9 August 2013

Mod Squad: Plum-headed Finch

Plum-headed Finch

Flagstone Creek Road, Queensland, Australia

March 25, 2013

Niigata is hot now and I am just sorting out my pics for the last year. I should hurry up and do some more posts before I forget them all. Maybe another soon! Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

A Bright and Shining Flycatcher

Shining Flycatcher


Myiagra alecto wardelli

Cape York, Queensland, Australia

October 2012

I don't know why I had the ISO pumped up so high. Maybe I should just have had an f2.8 lens, but I'm still delighted to have had this encounter. Thanks Klaus