Saturday, 10 December 2016

Go North -- 10 -- Lakefield National Park ... still

After spending the night at Hahn's Crossing, we went for an early morning walk along the area next to the river then on to Kalpowar Campsite wherein lives a Papuan Frogmouth in the three trees between campsites 5 and 6. It is a rufous colour which indicates a female. There are three species of frogmouths in Australia. The Tawny lives all over Australia [34-52cm], the Marbled in the tip of Cape York, specifically Iron Range [37-46cm] and the Papuan which lives from about Cairns north to the tip of Cape York. Our location ruled out Marbled and ruled in Papuan on size and eye colour. This was a big bird.

Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuaensis
We discussed the ways of telling the species apart and decided it would be good to see the eye colour. When quite a few minutes of observation and photo-taking at close quarters produced narry a blink or open eye, Ethan fetched a stick and scratched the bottom of the tree, pretending to be a goanna. Immediately she opened her eyes and looked down to see what was up.
This meant I was able to photograph the eyes and although the images are all out of focus, you can see the orange-red colour. Indeed, a Papuan Frogmouth. 
Here are images of some of the other birds we saw that day.
Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus
White-Throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis
Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia humeralis
Forest Kingfisher Todiramphus macleayii
This was another good day for raptors with ten seen taking the total for the three days in Lakefield to 12. Square-tailed Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Brown Goshawk, Nankeen Kestrel, Wedge-tailed Eagle, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Brown Falcon, Australian Hobby and, best of all, Pacific Baza.

Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Go North -- 09 -- Lakefield National Park

Between the Red Goshawk and our camp for the first night in Lakefield NP, Hahn Crossing, was the Nifold Plain. In the middle of the plain is a sort-of-creek that flows during the wet and had a few connected billabongs remaining. We turned off the road and drove in a hundred metres or so. As we were pulling up, we spotted a bush full of birds. There were 150 Star Finches in the bush, all immature as far as we could tell. We set up our chairs near the edge of one of the billabongs with the light behind us shining on a dead tree that had fallen at the edge of the water -- the perfect place for small birds to come to water.

Star Finch Neochmia ruficauda

A Latham's Snipe, probably hungry after a long flight, completely disregarded us as it grubbed about in the mud on the edge.

Latham's Snipe Gallinago hardwickii

Rainbow Bee-eaters zipping around with their distinctive call.

Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus
The main excitement was a pair of Spotted Harriers which flew over the top of us quite few times then landed about 30 metres away to investigate something in a pile of dead branches. Magic. It was a pretty good raptor day. Seven. Red Goshawk, Whistling Kite, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Black Kite, Brown Falcon, Spotted Harrier.

Spotted Harrier Circus assimilis

On the way there we saw an Australian Bustard in typical pose just prior to flight.

Australian Bustard Ardeotis australis
Other birds seen included ....

Torresian Crows Corvus orru
Whistling Kite, immature Haliastur sphenurus
Diamond Dove Geopelia cuneata
Golden-headed Cisticola
Cisticola exilis
Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus
Lemon-bellied Flycatcher Microeca flavigaster
Sarus Crane Grus antigone
Sarus Crane, immature