Monday, October 29, 2012

The big & the small of Kununurra

We'll start with "the big" shall we? This Jabiru was spotted as we drove along the irrigated areas just north of Kununurra. It was one of those "Was that a .....!?" moments as we tore past, screeched to a halt, three-point turned on the bitumen and went back. She was just standing there beside an irrigation channel and allowed us to take a few shots from the car. You know that thing where you manoeuvre the car trying to get the right angle (and right window!) to get a shot?

We left her in peace and continued on our way stopping to photograph this kingfisher:

Red-backed kingfisher
The "small" today was actually a "big" for our family. When walking along the Hidden Valley's short nature walk in Mirima National Park we heard rustling and suspected quail. We sat on the boardwalk and patiently waited. Sure enough 5-6 quail emerged and gradually explored their way through the leaf litter moving towards us! We were in a narrow gorge and it was late in the day so the light was very dull. Here are the better shots:

One of the first shots - an "insurance" shot through the grasses. 
Fitting a round bird in to a square hole!

Brown quail

After these shots the camera was put down as the birds were actually too close for the only lens I had with me! As it was a pleasure just watching these guys without that "gotta get the shot" feeling I felt that I both had my cake and eaten it! We were buzzing afterwards - the kids thought they were great!

Bird on!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kununurra cockies

Oh if I had my time over again! I was towing a trailer pop-up caravan through the busy regional town of Kununurra. We had the whole family on board when I spotted these guys feeding. I remember thinking they may just be funny shaped rocks but as we passed realised "Red-tailed blacks!" Well, there was no reversing or U-turning. I had to drive around the entire block and still negotiate a park in a non-trailer friendly spot!

Red-tailed black-cockatoo (female)
At this stage I was so unfamiliar with the bird that I didn't really appreciate the difference between the sexes. As it happens I have largely ended up with pictures of the females! Through the viewfinder & in the heat of the moment I'm afraid I wasn't being particularly observant. I must change that!

Further I didn't make any observation of what they were feeding on (and I still can't guess even with some close up views). I will be quite specific with my geotag. Maybe someone can help me out! I recall being under trees on a lawn nature strip in front of some sort of municipal building!

Female at front, male at rear. The male is "black with clear scarlet panels in tail". The female & immature birds have the yellow spots as seen. The female tail panels are "orange-yellow barred black" (descriptions from Pizzey)

I find the outline of the ground-feeding birds quite unusual (above & below)

Female tail-panels
Perceived "social pressure" meant I had to move on (kids waiting in the car, passers-by wondering what was this freak doing?) and I left the birds to their feast! If I had my time again ....

Bird on!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Kimberleyland treats

This is the last post containing photos taken from within the Kimberleyland caravan park. As you may have gathered I thoroughly enjoyed being able to walk a few metres from where you were eating or sleeping or having a drink and taking photos of birds I had hardly ever seen before!

White-breasted woodswallow (above and below)

Sacred kingfisher
Whistling kite
Black kite
Black kite
Great bowerbird checking out what's cool. These air conditioning units are atop a houseboat moored lakeside.

Bird on!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Finches of Kimberleyland!

Yes, well actually Kimberleyland was the name of the Kununurra caravan park at which we stayed. These photos were taken within the grounds in August this year.

Crimson finch

Crimson finch (female)
How long are those toes!? Crimson finch (above & below)

Star finches - I loved it when they lined up on a reed!

Bird on!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waterbirds of Lilypad Lagoon, Kununurra

By early August we had crossed the border and were staying at Kununurra in northern WA . We were ready for a powered site but the caravan park staff were only able to offer us an unpowered site in the overflow section:

Compared to the powered site gridlock this was brilliant and we happily went without power for another few nights!

The Comb-crested jacana were a family favourite. We loved watching them walk on top of the lily-pads and other vegetation of the lake.

This Intermediate egret hunted near our van quite happily. 

Intermediate egret
Straw-necked ibis 
Here are a few shots showing the acrobatics of Australian reed-warbler:

Masked lapwing - this northern (nominate) race has considerable variation from the race we have down south (which was previously commonly known as Spur-winged plover) 
Whiskered tern
Buff-banded rail (seen while searching for better views of the lifer, White-browed crake, below) 
White-browed crake - there were several of these in our corner of the lake
Great egret contemplating his claws

This water lizard (?Merton's monitor) was lazing within metres of our caravan.

Lily-pad Lagoon, Kununurra

A bit of filter fun on a photo of my brother's campsite

 Bird on!