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

Monday, 22 August 2016

Red-backed Kingfisher in the morning sun

One of my most enjoyable stopping places between Haasts Bluff and Papunya is the Frederick Blakely Memorial. I have had a few enjoyable birding experiences there, including a close-up "viewing" by a Black-breasted Buzzard, watching a pair of Red-capped Robins hopping about the road chirping away to one another, and last week I enjoyed a rare close-up experience with a Red-backed Kingfisher.

As I pulled off the road into the small memorial area, the kingfisher took off (as per usual) from a tree very close to the memorial itself. I watched as it flew not far away (not normal) and perched on an exposed branch on a nearby tree. I inched the car forward, winding down the window as I progressed, trying to reach over to the camera at the same time. It was still there. I stopped the car, turned off the engine and slowly brought the camera to my eye. It is normally at about this point in time I realise I have settings on the camera for a completely different shot, ie on the TV setting, with the lens set for a long distant shot and lots of the focal points selected. I was pleased to realise the camera was on the right settings for the shot in front of me. I clicked away. The resultant photos below are a few of the ones I chose.

Red-backed Kingfisher




Thursday, 18 August 2016

A week at Papunya

This week has been a bit of a change from the normal settings on the camera to try to use the "M" mode. I have heard a lot of people say if you can master that your photos will become a lot higher quality and finish. Certainly haven't mastered it, but have managed to fluke a few unusual shots, and see some stunning birds.

The last is not a huge list, probably only about 25 birds for the week. A few pleasant surprises - Painted Finches coming to drink, and Common Bronzewings during the day. Interestingly, hardly a bird of prey. I think I have only seen one Whistling Kite for the whole week atPapunya, very different to seeing all 6 falco varieties in one hour last year at the same spot.

Below are a few selected photos. You can probably notice the difference best with the "M" mode in the second Common Bronzewing, and the second Crested Pigeon. I hope you enjoy the photos:

Painted Finches



Zebra Finch

Common Bronzewing


Crested Pigeon


Horsefield's Bronze-cuckoo

Little Crow

White-winged Fairy-wrens


Maybe my favourite shot, the Willie Wagtail on an old cattle bone, I've titled this "Art Appreciation"

Monday, 15 August 2016

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos

The Red-tailed Black Cockatoos were in full voice around Lajamanu and surrounds. Both in town and out at the Turkey Nest "Swimming" Hole (wouldn't swim there myself).

Below are some shots I took over a couple of days.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos












Tuesday, 9 August 2016

A day well spent around Victoria River Roadhouse

For a change I decided not too stray too far from the campground at Victoria River Roadhouse on the weekend. Normally it would be up early, drive off somewhere, stop at any roadside water - pools of water, creeks, dams etc. and get to the end of the day exhausted from concentrating on both driving and bird-watching. So it was nice just to enjoy the surrounds of the area with only a short 5 minute drive to and from the boat ramp.

The scenery I find just stunning. I still got up early and walked along the "old" bridge, amazed at the lack of people doing the same. The escarpment lit up with the morning sun and the Victoria River is hardly flowing, allowing for wonderful photo opportunities with the cliffs and the water reflections.

Incredibly, my first bird noise whilst I was under the bridge was the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren. Even beat the Crimson Finches which is not easy to do. There were a host of small birds flitting around. Golden-headed Cisticola (still love the name), White-throated Honeyeaters, Willie Wagtails, Weebills, as well as the other aforementioned fairy-wrens and finches. Rainbow Bee-eaters constantly swooped and then sat on branches whacking the caught insect. Great Egrets and White-faced Herons sat in the shadows on the banks of the river, while Blue-winged Kookaburras called through the bush from somewhere beyond sight.
After an hour or so, still  untroubled by another human, I sauntered back to camp, moved to what I thought was a nicer area under a tree near the speargrasses and saw the Brown Quails mentioned in the previous post.
I headed down to the boatramp after the quail experience and found a few things along the road on the way in. A Nankeen Kestrel munching on a (now) dead lizard, a Rainbow Bee-eater perched beautifully on the barbed wire, Red-backed Kingfisher flying just in front of the car on the roadside, and eventually made it to the car park area at the boat ramp to be greeted by another Blue-winged Kookaburra, and the now familiar sound of the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren. I walked down to the ramp itself and glimpsed a Striated Pardalote nest. These are small holes in the dirt bank just before the ramp. As I was watching I saw one of the birds disappear into the hole. Within a minute it had come out again and flown off. I decided to sit and watch from a distance and see if this was a regular occurrence. I saw a flash of yellow black etc. zip into the hole. Camera at the ready, I was amazed to see what re-appeared:

Striated Pardalote


It was a very special thing to see, along with all of the other wonderful sights. I'd recommend spending a day exploring to anyone, and it was nice to spend a bit of time chatting with a few people I met, very interesting people and some very enjoyable chats.

Here are some scenery shots followed by some more bird shots.






Golden-headed Cisticola

Great Egret

Nankeen Kestrel with prey


Rainbow Bee-eater

Red-backed Kingfisher

White-throated Honeyeater

Monday, 8 August 2016

Brown Quails come out for a feed

Brown Quails are one of those birds that can either give you a fleeting glimpse, or do as these ones did and come and put on a show.

I first noticed them scurrying about in the shadows of the speargrass at the edge of the campground. About 30 minutes later they came back to about the same spot, but I was ready with the camera this time.

There were at least four of them, possibly seven in the original group, but only four returned for the second showing. I was hoping they would come out and stand up in the sun, so I was pretty happy with some of the shots, and they were quite close to my camp, a fortunate bit of positioning.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

Brown Quail