Who knew that Bazas shelled their grasshoppers?

Pacific Bazas, also known as Crested Hawks, are beautiful birds of prey which are uncommon enough to call for a photo at every opportunity. We saw one in the Quarantine Station picnic grounds at Pallarenda on Friday as it flew up to perch in a tree.

From behind, we could see its head jerking up and down as it tore at prey which it was holding against its perch; from in front, I was able to get photos showing us what it was doing. It was carefully shelling a Giant Grasshopper in exactly the way we would shell a prawn, and for the same reason: to avoid the crunchy bits.

Pacific Baza with prey
Baza with lunch
Pacific Baza with prey
Food preparation time
Pacific Baza with prey
…and here we go!

Old book reviews added to Green Path

I have just added two old book reviews to the blog, moving them here from my older site because they are still relevant to the themes of Green Path:

There may be more to come – but very slowly, since I’m not often willing to spend my time revisiting previous work.

Mother love in the wilderness

Here’s a hold-over from my visit to White Mountains National Park a few weeks ago: a beautiful spider-web and its resident family.

The web, shining in the sunlight in the camping ground, caught my eye and when I investigated I saw that the piece of dead grass suspended above it was a spider’s retreat overflowing with spiderlings.

Spider web
Spider web

Continue reading “Mother love in the wilderness”

Birds at Torrens Creek

Torrens Creek is a tiny town just to the west of White Mountains National Park and it’s a natural stopping point on a trip to Porcupine Gorge or White Mountains (or Rainsby, for that matter, although I haven’t been that way for a few years).

A pre-dinner ramble from the pub to the bore and beyond coincided with the birds’ sunset activity: a Crested Pigeon (Oxyphaps lophotes) on a power line was extremely dubious about something on the ground; a Magpie reckoned that the top of the bore was a great vantage point; and a Blue-faced Honeyeater in a bottlebrush tree was touched by golden evening light.

Crested Pigeon
Crested Pigeon

Continue reading “Birds at Torrens Creek”

Porcupine Gorge after the floods

My recent visit to White Mountains was an add-on to a longer visit to Porcupine Gorge, north of Hughenden. I’ve been to the Gorge several times before and wrote about the area at some length after my visit in April last year, covering the Gorge, its wildlife and nearby points of interest in three separate posts.

The main focus of this post, therefore, is the effect of the monsoonal floods early this year. Townsville was hit hard, but so was Western Queensland. The Flinders River had 50-year floods and was 200 kilometres wide at its peak; and the Flinders, of course runs from the Burra Range and the northern corner of White Mountains National Park through Hughenden to the Gulf, picking up the waters of Porcupine Creek on the way.

Continue reading “Porcupine Gorge after the floods”