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