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)


Painted Honeyeater 

(Grantiella picta)

Little Corella 
Plumed Whistling Duck

Australian Painted Lady
Vanessa kershawi

Satin Azure 

Ogyris amaryllis meridionalis 


Golden Orb-weaver 

Nephila edulis

Red-bellied Black Snake

(Pseudechis porphyriacus)

Australian Tiger

Ictinogomphus australis

Leaden Flycatcher


Gold-fronted Riverdamsel 

Pseudoagrion aureofrons

Wandering Percher 

Diplacodes punctata

Mosquito Fish

Blue Skimmer

Orthetrum caledonicum

White-winged Triller

Orange Threadtail 

Nososticta solida 


Black Kite

Black Falcon

Wandering Ringtail 
Austrolestes leda 


Wandering Ringtail  

Austrolestes leda 


View from Prince Henry Drive, Toowoomba

White-headed Pigeon

Variegated Fairy-wrens

(Malurus lamberti)


Brown Thornbill

Regent Bowerbird

immature male

Regent Bowerbird


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 


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 


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


Superb Fairy-wren


Raptors of the Darling Downs.

Back on December 28, 2009, went for a look south-west of Toowoomba, Queensland. The gateway to the sweeping plains known as the Darling Downs. As it turned out I remember seeing the same species in the same area 20 years ago. A good place for parrots and raptors. Unfortunately, the light wasn't nice for photography. (Dark clouds on every horizon). It was exciting however to see the Spotted Harrier (above and below) bounding through the fields. The first one I've seen and photographed in some years. It is a world class beauty. Better on a sunny day but I was happy to see it. I'll get better photos another day.

Above and below: Two different versions of Brown Falcon sighted just 10 minutes or about 4 kilometres apart. Both are females and had mates of similar plumage to their own. The lower one had me going when I downloaded it. I thought it could have been the rarer Black Falcon. I followed up that notion with wiser birders, but all said and done, it is a Brown. The light was so bad when I photographed it I could only see a dark blob but such are modern digital cameras that the image yeilded more detail than I expected.

Below: Black-shouldered Kites are fairly common small, but beautiful little hawks and are a part of the landscape there. (Usually alongside Australian/Nankeen Kestrels).

Below: This is a Brown Goshawk (I think male). He was photographed on the eastern side of Toowoomba on December 27th. Directly overhead, again with dark cloud and back-lighting. -I touched this up a bit by lightening it and uping the saturation.

Australian Raptors

Grey Goshawk
(Toowoomba escarpment, 2008)

Grey Goshawk
(Toowoomba escarpment 2008)

Square-tailed Kite, (Oakey 1995)
 Square-tailed Kite
 (Oakey 1995)

Wedge-tailed Eagle
(Bunya Mountains National Park, 2006)

Wedge-tailed Eagle harassed by Australian Magpie
(Upper Lockyer Valley, Queensland, 2008)

Brown Goshawk (Immature)
(Toowoomba cemetery, 1995)

-Photographed with a Tamron 500mm mirror lens on Pentax Z-20 film camera

(As above)

Black-shouldered Kite
(Near Southbrook, Queensland,1994)

(As above)

Pacific Baza
(Capalaba, 1995)

Pacific Baza
(Daintree River, North Queensland, 2007)

Whistling Kite
(South-eastern Queensland, beach, 2008)

Whistling Kite attacked by Australian Magpie
(Toorbul, Queensland, 2008)

Eastern Osprey
(Toorbul, 2008)

Australian Hobby
(Toowoomba cemetery 2007)

Australian Hobby
(Westgate Park, Port Melbourne, Victoria, 1999)

Nankeen Kestrel (Also known as Australian Kestrel)
Jan Juc, Victoria, January 1992 or 93.

The camera was a Pentax K1000 with Sigma 70-250mm zoom lens. The film was Kodak Gold 100.

Black Falcon
(Toowoomba 2006)