Every Year is a Big Year

Laughing Kookaburra

Japanese Gardens, USQ, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

January 1, 2017



My mum passed away early on January 1st. It was strange new beginning for us.

In a dream, later that day the we went walking around the Japanese gardens and the above Kookaburra snapped up the lizard in front of our shins.

Early the following day, Don, Heath and Rod picked me up and we headed west through a shower of rain. There, we were thrilled to see a Painted Honeyeater, and a couple of rare butterflies. A step farther and we found a number of dragonflies by a creek in which a Red-bellied Black Snake was taking a swim, as well as a variety of other birds. We finished the morning nearer to Toowoomba with a Black Falcon and a lost kitten.

A few days later, I caught up with Mick and we went for a stroll around Prince Henry Drive. The highlights were; Regent Bowerbirds, mostly female, with a single young male in their company and the always delightful Variegated Fairy-wrens…of which I again just photographed the females. (I always just seem to photograph females). Mick and I finished our walk with a pair of Brown Goshawks playing over the escarpment.

The next big thing was an evening gathering at Michael Hare’s place where we heard the distant calls of Sooty Owls. Michael, Mick, Rod, Judy, Brendon and I all enjoyed pizza and drinks on a barmy Queensland evening in the bush. It was a steamy evening with flashes of lightening. We also heard a Boobook and I photographed a Tawny Frogmouth and a nice big Brushtail Possum. We also enjoyed a giant centipede, the eyes of Wolf Spiders shining back at us, several snakes and frogs.

My last outing in Australia was to Gracie and Peter’s place to view Superb Fairy-wrens with tea and home-made cake.

Although times have been sad I have been surrounded by wonderful and enthusiastic people and we shared the joys of life all around us. 

After getting used to the Australian summer I arrived back in Niigata and have been skating around in ice and snow. I called Mr Honma and he told me he got his best ever flight shot of a Steller’s Sea-eagle just last week. We will go out looking for eagles soon.

If I surround myself with all these people wherever I go, there is no reason that every year isn’t a big year.

Please excuse my poor efforts to label my pictures. I’m hoping Rod will set me straight with the dragonflies and butterflies as he has done with the snakes. Please know that many of the insects, reptiles and amphibians (maybe birds and just about about everything else) on this site have kindly been identified by Rod Hobson.

Michael Atzeni caught up with me and put me straight about the flycatcher and male bowerbird. Thanks Mick. I need you guys.

Everybody I ever mention on this blog a also contributors.


I guess I should change the name of this blog to everybodymentionedinthisblogstoopfiles.


Striped Honeyeater

West of Toowoomba

January 2, 2017


Hairstreak Butterfly
Jalmenus sp. (ictinus/daemeli?)


Superb Fairy-wren

(Malurus cyaneus)

Male

Painted Honeyeater 

(Grantiella picta)


Little Corella 
Plumed Whistling Duck




Australian Painted Lady
Vanessa kershawi


Satin Azure 

Ogyris amaryllis meridionalis 

(male)


Golden Orb-weaver 

Nephila edulis

Red-bellied Black Snake

(Pseudechis porphyriacus)

Australian Tiger


Ictinogomphus australis

Leaden Flycatcher

female



Gold-fronted Riverdamsel 

Pseudoagrion aureofrons


Wandering Percher 

Diplacodes punctata

Mosquito Fish

Blue Skimmer

Orthetrum caledonicum

White-winged Triller


Orange Threadtail 

Nososticta solida 

(female)

Black Kite

Black Falcon


Wandering Ringtail 
Austrolestes leda 

(female)


Wandering Ringtail  

Austrolestes leda 

(male)

View from Prince Henry Drive, Toowoomba


White-headed Pigeon

Variegated Fairy-wrens

(Malurus lamberti)

Female




Brown Thornbill



Regent Bowerbird

immature male

Regent Bowerbird

Female


Restless Flycatcher

Brown Goshawks 

(Accipiter fasciatus)




Tawny Frogmouth


(Podargus strigoides)

Michael Hare's Place
and below

Above and below: Giant Centipede 

(Ethmostigmus rubripes)


Mountain Brushtail Possum or Southern Bobuck

(Trichosurus cunninghami)



Stony Creek Frog 

Litoria wilcoxii 

(female)


Great Barred Frog 

Mixophyes fasciolatus

Carpet Python

(Morelia spilota)

Black Flying Fox


Garden Orb-weaver 

Eriophora transmarina


Stony Creek Frog 

Litoria wilcoxii


Woodland Blind Snake 

Anilios proximus


Stony Creek Frog 

Litoria wilcoxii 

(male)


Stony Creek Frog 

Litoria wilcoxii 


Stony Creek Frog 

Litoria wilcoxii (female)


Spotted Dove

Gracie and Peter's place


Yellow Admiral 

Vanessa itea


Superb Fairy-wren

Male

Superb Fairy-wren

Female



Wyreema Wastewater Treatment Plant

Royal Spoonbill and Yellow-billed Spoonbill

Wyreema Wastewater Treatment Plant, Wyreema, Queensland, Australia




In the last few years I have enjoyed some visits to the Wyreema Wastewater Treatment Plant with members of the Toowoomba Bird Observers.

Wyreema is a small town on the south-western outskirts of Toowoomba.





It is a wonderful place to see some extraordinary Australian wildlife. Some highlights include, Royal Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Australian Pelican, Pink-eared Duck, Plumed Whistling-Duck, Black Falcon, and the list goes on. Apart from such large birds there are also tiny masters of beauty such as Zebra Finch and Superb Fairy-wren. During the drought, we even encountered Black Honeyeaters, Black-tailed Native-hens and Freckled Duck. Yellow-throated Miners are on the eastern edge of their range here, and nested nearby. Eastern Grey Kangaroos bound around the facility.



Black Falcon

Pink-eared Ducks and Plumed Whistling-Ducks


Sadly, I have heard the plant is soon closing down and the ponds or lakes could be filled in. I feel this will be a loss to the community as there are no other places such birds would gather in this area. 

It could be a nice opportunity to turn the place into a natural wetlands parkland, don’t you think? Plant a few eucalypts for koalas, make a nice circuit path with wheelchair access, and a couple of seats and where else better for international visitors arriving at the Wellcamp Airport to seek a close encounter with some of Australia’s natural treasures...




If you like the idea, please send a “Like”, to the Toowoomba Bird Observer's Facebook page.

Click here for a pdf of bird species




Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Australasian Darter

Cockatiel

Australian Pelican

Galah

Zebra Finch

Yellow-throated Miner

Waterfowl on stormwater runoff dam adjacent to the final treatment pond.

Golden-headed Cisticola

Golden-headed Cisticola

Grey Teal, Eurasian Coots, Chestnut Teal

Hardhead (White-eyed Duck)

Australasian Grebes

White-winged Triller

Freckled Duck

In with the New

Black Falcon

(above and below)

Peter's Farm, Queensland, Australia

January 1, 2016

(click on the pictures for a better view!)



I enjoyed two magnificent days of wildlife viewing to see out 2015 and welcome 2016.

In the morning of Friday, January 1st 2016, Glenda, Chris, Mick and I visited Peter's Farm. Peter was hard at work on his tractor where he flushed various species of quail including Stubble Quail. Although a couple whizzed by my nose I was far too useless to make the most of the skeet chances. However, it was very exciting to watch a pair of Black Falcons arrive to make the most of the tractor's movements and dart about the place with ease. Within a split second I watched a quail zoom by my nose then I glanced up to see one of these super-hero falcons appear just above where the quail had disappeared. What a way to start the year.

There were many wonderful birds on Peter's Farm including Red-backed Fairy-wrens, a family of Plumed Whistling-Ducks, a family of Pacific Black Ducks, numbers of Ibis, a little Pied Cormorant, pipits etc, etc.

Thank you Peter and family for the invitation, and thank you Mick, Chris and Glenda for taking me.




Black-shouldered Kite

In front of Peter's Farm, Queensland, Australia

Brown Falcon

Up the road from Peter's Farm, Queensland, Australia

Plumed Whistling-Duck

On Peter's Farm, Queensland, Australia


It wasn't necessarily out with the old on Thursday, December 31, 2015. 

A very kind Rod Hobson took me out to Goomburra National Park where Rod introduced me to an incredible selection of beautiful wildlife. Rod has an incredible wealth of knowledge of all of Australia's natural treasures and taught me a lot.

Thank you to Rod for getting back to me to correctly identify many of the images.

I enjoyed getting about with a couple of different lenses and having a go at some damselflies and dragonflies, birds, marsupials and frogs. And of course there were beautiful landscapes that I'll post later. Sadly, I can only enter 200 characters in the Labels tab and can't input all the species I'd seen in the two days.

Probably the most important encounters of the two days were two Fleay's Barred Frogs. An extremely beautiful upright native frog with a very confined range and now critically endangered.

Rod and I had a big day that lasted well into the night and finished off with the startling falling bomb call of a female Sooty Owl. Ended the year standing in the dark with the hairs on my neck quite ruffled!

Thank you Rod.


Whitewater Rockmaster

Diphlebia lestoides

female

Identified by Rod Hobson

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

December 31, 2015

Flame Flatwing

Austroargiolestes amabilis

Identified by Rod Hobson

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

December 31, 2015

Flame Flatwing

Austroargiolestes amabilis

Identified by Rod Hobson

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

December 31, 2015


Whitewater Rockmaster

Diphlebia lestoides

male

Identified by Rod Hobson

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

Satin Bowerbird

male

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

Satin Bowerbird

female

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

Southern Vicetail

Hemigomphus gouldii

Identified by Rod Hobson

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

Red-necked Wallaby

Identified by Rod Hobson

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

Eastern Stony Creek Frog

Litoria wilcoxii

Identified by Rod Hobson

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

Short-eared Brushtail Possum

Trichosurus caninus

Identified by Rod Hobson

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

Fleay's Barred Frog

Mixophyes fleayi

Critically Endangered

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

December 31, 2015

(above and two below)

Identified by Rod Hobson



Austral Cornflower

Rhaponticum australe

Identified by Rod Hobson

Zebra Finch

Galah

Notice the two sexes: Brown eye left = male    Pink eye right = female

Superb Fairy-wren

male

Bell Miner

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

Superb Fairy-wren

Goomburra, Queensland, Australia

December 31, 2015

Blue Skies of a Winter August


Black-shouldered Kite

Gowrie Junction, Queensland, Australia

August, 2015

(Above and below)


Here are some pics from a couple of outings with Kevin Williams in the second week of August. The mornings were cold but the sky was blue and incredibly clear. The days warmed up and were very comfortable. I certainly wasn't bored with beautiful birds everywhere. 

These pics were with the Nikon D7100 and Nikkor AF-S 80-400mm VR. I think they are nice and clear but I was having trouble framing them with a smaller viewfinder than the D800 and I kept chopping off the bird's wings when they flew... It was the first real run I've had with the camera since I got it. On other days I felt birds in Australia were too far away with the full-framed D800...

Getting back to the birds....aren't Black-shouldered Kites just superb up against the blue?

Thanks for the outings, Kevin!



Australian Kestrel also known as Nankeen Kestrel

Oakey, Queensland, Australia

Black-shouldered Kite

Gowrie Junction, Queensland, Australia

and below..




Black Falcon

Toowoomba tip, Queensland, Australia

and below...


Black Kite

Toowoomba tip, Queensland, Australia

and below..


Galah

Toowoomba tip, Queensland, Australia