Nature photography challenge

lorikeet on red flowers
Rainbow Lorikeet feeding on the flowers of an umbrella tree

A “Nature Photography Challenge” has been circulating on facebook recently. The idea is that each new person challenged has to publish one nature photo every day for a week and invite one new person each day to taken up the same task. When I was challenged I saw it as a good reason to sift through my older photos for attractive images which, for one reason or another, hadn’t already been published here on Green Path. Now, of course they are being published here, partly so that I can expand on the information about them but partly to give them a public life longer than facebook affords.

I began with the Rainbow Lorikeet, above, a photo taken in the garden of a friend on Magnetic Island earlier this year and offered to facebook friends in Southern states as an example of the stereotypically gaudy tropical wildlife. There’s not much more to say about it except that this very common species has recently been split into seven, “three of which occur in Australia: Rainbow Lorikeet (now Trichoglossus moluccanus) in the east; the Red-collared Lorikeet (T. rubritorquis) in the north and the Coconut Lorikeet (T. haematodus) in Boigu and Saibai Is. in Torres Strait,” according to Ian Montgomery of Birdway. That makes our local birds Trichoglossus moluccanus, not Trichoglossus haematodus as they used to be.

grey dove
Peaceful Dove in the frangipani tree

I will continue here with the other birds I posted, rather than following my “Challenge” sequence. The Peaceful Dove, Geopelia placida (aka Geopelia striata) is as ubiquitous here as the Rainbow Lorikeet but very much quieter in coloration, demeanour and voice.

grey heron
Striated Heron fishing from Aplin’s weir

The Striated Heron, Butorides striata (another not-gaudy, not-noisy local bird), often squats like this while fishing, unlike Egrets which stand tall and spear down from their maximum height. Aplin’s Weir  is on Ross River not far from my home and has therefore often featured on Green Path.

The last of my bird photos was an exercise in defamiliarisation:

birds in flight
Squadron

Birds in flight, obviously, but which birds?

Pelicans. Those enormous beaks are hardly noticeable from straight ahead, especially when we are not cued by the contrast between the pink beak and the black-and-white plumage. I took the shot on a Ross Dam walk with the Townsville Bird Observers Club a few months ago.

butterfly close-up
Extreme close-up of a butterfly’s face

I was surprised to find myself posting so many bird photos and only one insect, since a few years ago, the ratio would have been reversed. The butterfly, for what it’s worth, is a Common Eggfly, Hypolimnas bolina, one of the half-dozen species most often seen around my garden. If you want to see what the whole butterfly looks like, there are photos here.

Bottle tree on a low basalt ridge beside the road from Hughenden to Porcupine Gorge
Bottle tree on a low basalt ridge beside the road from Hughenden to Porcupine Gorge

I submitted two landscape photos. This one was taken on a trip ‘out West’ four years ago; this post has a couple more and links to yet more.

Bottle trees (Brachychiton rupestris) are fairly common in the dry tropics. The Kurrajong and Illawarra Flame Tree are closely related, but the Boab (baobab) is not related at all, despite the obvious similarity of form.

My other landscape broke my own rule (of finding pictures which hadn’t already appeared here) for the sake of the greatest possible contrast with the Rainbow Lorikeet photo. It shows cattle country near Mount Fox, just over the crest of the Dividing Range a little North of Townsville.

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