Notes to readers of this Blog


NOTES TO READERS OF THIS BLOG

Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.
Cheers,
Richard

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Banded Lapwings disturb a nature stop and then others appeared!

Driving along my now favourite stretch of road, the Namatjira-Kintore Link Rd, which runs between Glen Helen and Haasts Bluff/Papunya, I pulled over to heed the call of nature. As I headed towards some trees a little off the road, I noticed there were others already in residence - 8 Banded Lapwings. I had only just been reading about their habitat the previous night as I was fairly sure they should be around somewhere, and sure enough, Pizzey and Knight stated they tended towards the small shrubs and trees during the day. Unfortunately for me, they had chosen my spot. I slowly walked back to the car, grabbed the camera and then took some photos:

Banded Lapwings

in flight

looked a secluded spot for a comfort stop except for the 8 incumbents!

I put the camera back in the car and headed across the road to another group of trees. This time Banded Whiteface were the initial culprits, again headed back to the car to grab the camera (was I ever going to get the relief I was now starting to need desperately?) but this time they had flown well back into the scrub, not to be seen again. This time, with camera around my neck I started the process I had originally intended when I heard the "chk chk" almost at my feet! Hands up to the camera and I saw a tail at the back of some spinifex. "What the...?" what was going on? I had seen the Bourke's Parrots early morning about 200 metres back down the road last week and now Banded Lapwings, Banded Whiteface and whatever this "chk chk" bird was. I stood still for about 5 minutes, being checked out by a Willie Wagtail who had a nest nearby, and a Grey-headed Honeyeater, followed closely by a Brown Honeyeater. I was determined to keep my gaze on the spinifex bush about 10metres ahead of me where I had seen the tail. Eventually I could stand it no longer. No, I didn't answer the call of nature, but instead moved forward to the spinifex bush. "Chk  chk" there it was again, but ahead and to the left about 5 metres this time. I was about to move again when up it popped! A Spinifexbird, sat beautifully on a fallen exposed branch. Camera up and ..... (zoom out... zoom in.... zoom out.... zoom in and focus, just as the bird moved. Oh I long for my new gear!

Not wanting to continue the chase and disturbing the poor thing, I decided to finally relieve my now over-extended bladder, and headed back to the car, kicking aside the Crimson Chats, Masked Woodswallows, Black-faced Woodswallows, Australasian Pipits and the ever-present Willie Wagtail who had all landed between me and the car.

As I sat in the car I wondered what the birding will be like in another month as everything dries out and they all start to congregate around the remaining water holes. I can't wait!

Red-backed Kingfisher with breakfast, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Mistletoebird and a strange couple

I took these photos this morning at Haasts Bluff of a Red-backed Kingfisher eating a large green insect.

Red-backed Kingfisher



Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

Mistletoebird

Unfortunately this photo isn't very good quality as it was almost dark when I took the shot. I had seen two Common Bronzewings fly in to a large watercourse, and followed one of them to the opposite bank from where I was sitting. I put the camera up to my eye and noticed a second bird sitting above the Bronzewing. I am fairly sure it is a Spotted Harrier, but the light wasn't good enough for a decent ID

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bourke's Parrot, Cockatiel, Budgerigar and Scenery photos Alice Springs to Haasts Bluff

Back on the road again for work, and although the camera gear is not my usual kit, still manage to get some half decent photos. Really hanging out for the new gear though.

Driving to Haasts Bluff (which is about 240 kms west of Alice Springs past Glen Helen) early morning, I was very happy to see about 6 Bourke's Parrots. Having only seen these near dusk at a dam to the north of town, I wasn't expecting them in the morning, although when I looked at the map it probably isn't too far for them to fly to and from the dam to where I was. Would have loved to have had a decent camera, but you use what you've got.

Bourke's Parrot

Further along the road towards Haasts Bluff, there is a claypan that still has water from the January rains. I parked myself at the edge of the claypan one evening and delighted in a wide variety of birds coming in for a drink. Budgies and Cockatiels were competing with the Magpie-larks and Butcherbirds for the noisiest. Not far from where I was sitting was a small dead tree, providing a nice perch for some of the birds.

Cockatiel


Budgerigar

The drive itself from Glen Helen to Haasts Bluff is about 40 kms of bitumen followed by 58 kms of dirt. Some of the scenery is stunning. Here are a few shots over the past week or so.

Mt Sonder, just north west of Glen Helen in the early morning

Mt Sonder during the day

same spot as photo above but looking toward Ormiston Gorge

hills near Haasts Bluff

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Young Kingfisher photos and story

I went for a walk with the dog to Honeyemoon Gap the other day. It is about 15 kms west of Alice Springs township, and despite all the rain we had recently, the creek has dried up completely now.

The sacred Kingfishers have been there each time I have gone this year, and on this occasion I spotted a young one, managing to fly horizontally low to the ground and then it tried to fly up to a low branch of a young tree in the middle of the river. The dog was running around so I was trying to keep an eye on both of them. fortunately the stern words in the backyard as far as chasing birds seems to have been effective as the dog had no inclination to go towards the bird. I eventually located the bird sitting quietly in the shade on a small sand bank. I snapped off a few photos from a fair distance and then started to wonder why it hadn't flown off. I crept closer until I was only a few feet from the bird. I was starting to worry it was injured, when it flew off, again horizontally, straight past the disinterested dog and flew around the base of a large river gum. Now I knew it would be in trouble as dingoes frequent this area, so I found a longish stick and then went to find the bird. Wasn't hard. Sitting right at the base of the gum, this time it didn't move as I got closer, and its beak was wide open, obviously the bird was a bit distressed and it had been a hot day. I eventually got the stick under its short tail feathers and maneuvered the stick so it had to lift its leg. After a short time, the other leg clung on and I lifted the bird up into a nearby large tree with a low branch, but also plenty of shade. Unless the parents hang around as it finds its "wings", it is probably doubtful if it will make adulthood, but it survived at least part of an afternoon it may have otherwise not done so.

Here are the pics:

Sacred Kingfisher juvenile

on the bank where I first spotted it

the river gum it flew to the base of

the base of the tree, can just make out the bird slightly to the left of the middle

not moving, so I'll be a statue on the base of the gum

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sacred Kingfisher family photos

I took the dog for a walk out to Honeymoon Gap late yesterday afternoon. There are only a few small pools of water left on the north side of the Gap around the base of a few of the larger trees. The "peep, peep, peep" of the Sacred Kingfishers were coming from everywhere. There was at least one family, two adults and a juvenile.
The juvenile seemed to be saying "where's my dinner"


and the adults seemed to be saying"I've got it, come and find me"




Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Recent Bird Photos from around Alice Springs

Australian Ringneck

Black-shouldered Kite

Hardhead

Hooded Robin

Long-billed Corella

Plumed Whistling Ducks

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Splendid Fairy-wren

Whistling Kite

White-winged Triller

Yellow-billed Spoonbills

Zebra Finch

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A few recent bird photos

Blue Bonnets in South Australia

Curlew Sandpiper in Victoria

Golden Whistler in Victoria

Golden-headed Cisticola in Victoria

Grey Currawong in South Australia

Hoary-headed Grebe in South Australia

Sooty Oystercatcher in South Australia

Striated Fieldwren in Victoria