Wednesday 30 June 2010

Westleton Heath, Dunwich Heath and Minsmere

I was given the gift of a day off yesterday so rather than have a disappointing local walk I decided to go to Suffolk. I did a big circular walk, leaving the car at Westleton Heath and making my way down the country roads towards Dunwich Heath and Minsmere and looping back to Westleton Heath for dusk.
Apart from some nice Stonechats on Dunwich Heath and a frustratingly distant and fenced off view of what was probably Silver Studded Blue Butterflies, i didn't see much until I got to Minsmere. I bumped into someone who just had some Bearded Tits so I stuck around and while we were waiting a Bittern sat up on the reeds enough for us to see it's head before flying off towards Island Mere. I did get a good view of 3 Bearded Tits, including a smart male who sat up long enough for me to snap him.

I then went to Island Mere to track down the female Ferruginous Duck. I'm not 100% sure i saw it (was more likely a female tufted silhouetted against the sunlit water) but
while I was scanning I did see the unusual sight of a grass snake swimming across the water being chased by ducks. Also of note were some Southern Marsh Orchids on the approach to the hide.
I Left Minsmere back along the coast to Dunwich Heath and back up to Westleton Heath where I saw a pair of Dartford Warblers (got decent view but alas no photo) before waiting for nightfall. I had a short churr from a Nightjar at dusk but it never got going after that. I heard a further 2 birds on my way back to the car.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Mt Lewis, Queensland

I popped out to Mt Lewis this morning while Tamara was getting herself together. There was only so far I could get in my hire car but I still managed to jam into a few key species and take some record shots.

Double-eyed Fig-parrot (1 0f 5 birds seen at the Bushy Creek bridge)

Yellow-breasted Boatbill

Victoria's Riflebird (female)

Forest Kingfisher

Brown Cuckoo-dove

Other new ones for my list included Emerald Dove, Pale-yellow Robin and Graceful Honeyeater.

Monday 21 June 2010

Cassowary, Etty Bay

Me and Tamara are up north enjoying a week away to mark our ninth wedding anniversary. We (I) couldn't come this far without trying to see a Cassowary whose only Australian population are in far north Queensland. According to my research the first place to try was Etty Bay. So, we drove back down south from Port Douglas to try our luck. Sure enough we got there, saw a Cassowary, looked at a gigantic monitor and an even bigger Golden Orb Spider and then drove the three hours back. Magic!

The Cassowary showed up for ten minutes soon after we arrived.

Southern Cassowary

Southern Cassowary walking straight for me.

Southern Cassowary

Despite appearances I think this might have been a female. The brighter coloured neck and 'wattles' are what to look out for. But, then, I've only seen one bird and can't really compare. Just wanted to get the ballbag shot in really.

This big Lace Monitor was quite happy hugging the base of a tree.

Golden Orb Spider

It was the biggest spider we'd ever seen. The lady at the servo had named it Charlotte. She had apparently already eaten quite a few boyfriends - the spider, that is.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Western Australia

Black-footed Rock-wallaby, Yardie Creek. Western Australia

I've just returned from nine-and-a-half weeks of filming around Western Australia for Tourism WA. It was quite demanding (and happy) work and despite not being able to properly 'bird' the place I did capture a few images between takes and on rest days. I've posted them, retrospectively, throughout the blog but if you can't be bothered scrolling through you can click the following links (links open in a new window).

May and June 2010.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Jabiru, Cape Leveque

One of the more enduring bird encounters marked the last day of our extraordinary journey. I'd had two very brief sightings of Jabiru (Black-knecked Stork) previously but this young bird was the most pleasing. For a species with a seemingly unsure future it was great to see this young bird in such rich 'country'.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Star Lane Pits revisited

Had a good explore over Star Lane Pits today. Birds included Kestrel, house Martin, Reed Warblers, Whitethroat, Cetti's Warbler, a Green Woodpecker and 3 swallows. There were lots of Holly Blue butterflies (above), a couple of Speckled Wood, common Blue and Blue-Tailed Damselfly were abundant. Also seen were a Common Lizard, a single Bee Orchid (that I couldn't resist photographing despite blogging an identical photo last year). Other photos are a Carder Bee and view of Yellow Flag Iris and blooming Water Lily on the main public lake.

White-breasted Woodswallows, Derby, WA.

White-breasted Woodswallows

Saturday 5 June 2010

Home Valley Station, WA.

Home Valley was home to some fantastic birds but the pair of Barking Owls at their day-roost took the biscuit.

Barking Owl

Long-tailed Finch

Pheasant Coucal

Friday 4 June 2010

Blue-winged Kookaburra, El Questro

Blue-winged Kookaburra

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Partridge Pigeon, Mitchell Plateau

This was the only place I really dipped a target bird. In this case I was looking for Black Grasswren - this is the only place on earth that they exist after all. The blow was softened though by the sight of my first Partridge Pigeon. The yellow-faced race of the Kimberleys are more vulnerable than their red-faced cousins in NT. According to the guy running the helicopter tours of Mitchell Falls they are pretty common around his shed. I saw two in all.