Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas Mixed Ducks

Thank you for visiting this blog for another year. I'm very grateful for your visits and comments. I know it's a busy time of the year but I hope you can have a bit of time to sit down with a quiet beer and enjoy these mixed ducks.....

Some hints: All photos taken at Hyoko, Niigata, Japan.

Eurasian Wigeon, Common Pochard, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Northern Pintail, ?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Jardine's Harrier

Jardine's Harrier
Circus assimilis

Murphys Bridge, Queensland, Australia

I was still just a very small child when I loved searching through an old British Children's Encyclopaedia printed in the 1930s. Of course, my favourite section is still, "Birds of Prey of the World". The photos were small and sepia or black & white and the names and stories are from a time when large ships had sails. It was enough to stir my imagination. I remember Jardine's Harrier, the Korean Sea-eagle (just like Steller's minus the white shoulders) plus the Monkey-eating Eagle and pages of others.

I was older when I discovered newer books with clearer illustrations and found the mysterious 
"Jardine's Harrier" was really called Spotted Harrier. A less adventurous name. 

Regardless of its name, the Spotted Harrier is a very beautiful raptor and I recommend the adventure of  seeing one in the wild.

This harrier was spotted by Kay William's last New Year's Eve. I don't mean Kay put the spots on it, I mean she saw it first. Kevin and I were sitting in the front seats of the car and we didn't see anything and Kay was sitting in the back and called out "Spotted Harrier!" Sadly the grass on the side of the road was too high for me to get a complete view. 

Does anyone want a spoilt dog? I'm tired of typing with one hand.

Spotted Harrier

Murphys Bridge, Queensland, Australia

December 31, 2013

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Accipiters a Plenty

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

November 30, 2014

Here are some of the results from my walk around Fukushimagata last Sunday. I've been thinking of buying a Nikon D7100 as my full-frame D800 is rarely close enough for the wetlands. Most of these pics are heavily cropped and I've already filled up my 2 terabyte computer hard-drive with photo files in just two years. I usually take RAW files as well but just went down the j-peg path with these...but I'm disappointed with the quality.

Apart from the photos it was a very warm day for that time of the year and birds of all kinds were a plenty.

Today is snowing heavily with a maximum forecast of 2 degrees Celsius so I'm inside doing my blog!

Japanese Green Pheasant

I disturbed 3 pheasants in the long grass under foot...first, one, then I took another step and two more burst out over the water....within two seconds the goshawk below appeared hot on their tails, just failing as they made it to the reeds on the other side of the water.
Northern Goshawk
Waterfowl at Fukushimagata
At first, I thought this largish raptor was a goshawk.
It attacked the large resident peregrine just before I got this shot but now I realise it's a sparrowhawk. Sparrowhawks are not so common in Niigata. 
Northern Goshawk

Adult goshawks are not so easy to get close to, but I saw at least three different ones within a couple of hours.

Eastern Marsh Harrier

lots of harriers too

Eastern Marsh Harrier
scanning over the water for unaware quary

Bean Goose


Monday, 1 December 2014

Eastern Grass Owl

Eastern Grass Owl

Cape York, Queensland, Australia

October 12, 2012

Here are a couple of shots of an Eastern Grass Owl in flight at Cape York back in 2012. I took these photos through the back window of a 4WD when on the Kirrama Wildlife Tour.

I was then, and am still, amazed by the ability of the focus system of my D800. It picked up the owl just with a single spotlight on it.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Visitors from the North Pacific?

Peregrine Falcon

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

November 24, 2014

Today was a national holiday and I enjoyed a walk around Fukushimagata. (It was a dull day as you can see in the photos, but no rain!) More and more, I'm not surprised when finding birds that I think are from the North Pacific region. The above peregrine is a return visitor, the locals call, "O-hayabusa". (Great Peregrine) I'm sure it is the same one in the same location seen the last few winters. I think it is a Peale's Falcon as in this past post.

Not long after I photographed the "Northern Pacific Peregrine", some "Lesser Canada Geese" flew over. I've reported them before as well as seen here.

I've also included an American Wigeon, which I photographed at Hyoko back on November 8, 2014.

According to my field guides, all these guys are supposed to be rare visitors to Japan. I'm lucky to meet up with them again!

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

American Wigeon 

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

November 8, 2014


Lesser Canada Goose

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

November 24, 2014

Lesser Canada Goose (top) with Bean Goose (below)

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Boobook of Domville

Southern Boobook

Domville State Forest, Queensland, Australia

October 1, 2014

I had a wonderful opportunity when I was invited by Rod Hobson to volunteer on a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service survey of Domville State forest. I was pretty hopeless as a contributor but thoroughly enjoyed seeing beautiful Australian bush. Thank you to Rod and all those involved. 

I was very excited to see this male Boobook who was concerned about his quiet day being disturbed. We didn't bother him for too long but I'd never seen one in the daylight before. 

One missed chance was getting better shots of the grass trees. I carried landscape lenses with me everywhere but took them out of my bag that day to lighten the load. One of the problems with being a gear-head. Most of the grass tree photos were taken with my near retro iPhone 4s.

I've included a shot of the "Super Moon" which I photographed in Toowoomba back in August. The pic seemed to fit in with the other pictures in this post.

Supermoon on August 13, 2014 as seen from Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia