Notes to readers of this Blog


Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Blood Moon (Lunar Eclipse) and the Australian Bustard near Nyirripi, NT

An article caught my eye while scrolling through the news on-line. There was to be a Lunar Eclipse this evening, just on Moon Rise! I thought I would head out into the scrub and find a pool of water to try to get not only the eclipse, but some reflections as well. Alas, the moon had lost most of its lustre by the time it was high enough to reflect in the water. Never mind. The sight was pretty amazing as it "grew" out of a bush on the horizon.

So, there I was snapping away at the moon, concentrating steadily on where it was going, how it was changing, when something caught my eye at the bottom left of the view-finder of the camera. I took one more shot then checked the playback. Yep, it was there alright, an Australian Bustard or Bush Turkey. It hung around for a good 20 minutes in total, and I kept thinking to myself, "you are so lucky I am only shooting with a camera mate, cause there are lots that live around here that shoot with something different".

Then, as a bird-watcher, I was in a bit of a dilemma - take shots of the moon or the bustard? In the end I settled for quick bursts of both, the moon started to change and the highlights blew out, and the exact opposite with the bustard as the light faded it was harder and harder for the camera to focus.

Anyway, a lovely visitor to share the lunar eclipse with. I was hoping it would fly across the moon so I could get a silhouette but it stayed too low and the shots are barely discernable. Some other time.

See if you can spot the Bustard in the first photo:

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bird and scenery photos from Nyirripi and surrounds

The recent rains have created a few interesting conditions in the area west of Alice Springs. Nyirripi Community is roughly 450 kms to the west north west of Alice, and is only a small community with a population of around 250-300 people. There are 2 ways to come when travelling by road. The first is via the Tanami Rd to Yuendumu and then take 160 kms of dirt, or alternatively, take the Tanami Rd to the Mt Wedge turnoff and take 200 kms of dirt through Newhaven Station. After driving both ways, the Newhaven Rd is much less corrugated, but also less traffic which is great if you are bird-watching while driving, not so great if the car breaks down. Having said that, I didn't see a lot of birds along the track through Newhaven Station. Perhaps it was because it was the middle of the day and the lakes were a lot emptier last week. Since the rains, the lakes and waterholes should now all be pretty full. The rains have also made driving a little trickier, especially travelling from Alice Springs early last week. They are drying out now so conditions don't stay the same for long out here.

The raptors haven't been abundant, but there have been a number of different species. The Grey Falcon still eludes me, but it will happen one day. Driving along the Tanami Road and coming into Nyirripi, as well as around the Community and surrounds, I've seen Australian Hobby, Black Kite, Black-breasted Buzzard, Brown Falcon, Collared Sparrowhawk, Nankeen Kestrel, Wedge-tailed Eagle and Whistling Kite. Here are a few photos of the raptors:

Black-breasted Buzzard

Brown Falcon

Collared Sparrowhawk

Wedge-tailed Eagle

It hasn't just been the raptors though. There is a large variety of honeyeaters, bush birds, woodswallows, chats, and a couple of ever-present birds, namely the Willie Wagtails and Zebra Finches. Some of the more unusual sights or noises have been a group of 10 Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes, including a number of juveniles, a Channel-billed Cuckoo calling early yesterday morning just before sunrise, and only smallish groups of budgerigars. I was expecting the budgies to be flocking up by now but the largest group I have seen was only around 100. 

Here are a few photos of some of those mentioned above:

 Masked Woodswallow

Black-faced Woodswallow

Pied Honeyeater

Singing Honeyeater

Crimson Chat

Willie Wagtail


Red-backed Kingfisher 

Zebra Finch

and then there is the scenery, dominated by Karku, the local "Uluru"

some of the tall grasses and large skies

the work car beside a claypan

a map of Alice Springs to Nyirripi

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A few bird photos from Papunya

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

Brown Honeyeater


Red-backed Kingfisher

Zebra Finch

"Surf's Up in Papunya!" 
Water ripples in a large puddle