Blencoe Falls in winter

I visited Blencoe Falls, inland from Kennedy, in December 2016 at the very end of the Dry Season. Friends have just been camping up there and shared photos of their trip so, with their permission, I thought I would share them more widely.

The creek is beautiful but there is not much more water coming over the falls than when I saw them, and one has to wonder how such a small stream could have carved out such an enormous channel.

blencoe creek
Blencoe Creek near the camping ground (photo: Claire F.)

Continue reading “Blencoe Falls in winter”

The Dry Season continues

White-gaped Honeyeater
Oooh, that was good!

We’re well into the Dry season now and the birds come to water whenever they can. These White-gaped Honeyeaters (Lichenostomus unicolor) came to bathe under the sprinkler this morning.

Rain? What’s that? We had a few drops (almost few enough to count individually) a couple of days ago, but before then?

I had to look at the BoM’s records. They show we have had nothing over 0.2mm on any one day all the way back to early July when we had 12.4mm one day and a sprinkling on the days either side of it. June’s total was … wait for it … 2.2mm and in May the total was only 1.8mm. We had 10 mm in April but, really, it stopped raining at the end of March.

We have had less than 30 mm in a bit over five months. Continue reading “The Dry Season continues”

Black Cockatoo chick leaves the nest

My friend in Kelso who invited me to visit the Tawny Frogmouth a while ago and has spotted 75 species of birds around the house to my 50 got in touch a week ago about a Red-tailed Black Cockatoo chick (Calyptorhynchus banksii), saying, “Come and watch the mother feeding it,” etc, and we visited him today for the purpose.

The nest, in a tree hollow as usual, was visible from the back of the house and when we arrived about 3.30 the chick was sitting up, waiting for food:

Black cockatoo chick
Waiting patiently

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Whale-watching in the Palm Islands

The number of whales migrating up the coast past Townsville has been steadily increasing, and local residents now catch sight of them from the Magnetic Island ferry quite often. We have never been lucky enough to do so, however, so we booked a whale-watching trip to make sure we did at least see a whale before the season ends.

The tour operator picked us up in the city in his troop-carrier and we went out from Lucinda in his small boat at about 9.00. The weather was absolutely perfect until early afternoon, when a bit of wind blew up (not enough to make us too uncomfortable, just not as nice as the morning) and we had a wonderful day.

Our route took us roughly South-east once we cleared the end of Lucinda’s enormously long jetty, out towards Pelorus Island then South along the Eastern side of Orpheus and into the area between Fantome and Great Palm. (This map might help you keep track of our day.) Continue reading “Whale-watching in the Palm Islands”

Birding on the Town Common

On Saturday I was lucky enough to visit the Town Common with a small group which included two keen, knowledgeable birders. Thanks to them, we ended up with a list of more than 50 species from Red-backed Wrens and Spice Finches (10 cm) to Jabirus and Brolgas  (130 cm). We were happy that we spotted so many in just a couple of hours but I should note, just for context, that about 280 have been recorded on the Common.

We drove in past the golf club, visiting Payet’s Tower and the two nominated viewing points on the way to Freshwater bird hide, with a few unscheduled stops as one or another of us spotted birds from the vehicle. There is still a fair bit of open water on the Common and we saw substantial numbers of Magpie Geese, including about 150 in a single flock near the Pandanus viewing point. We briefly visited the Pallarenda Conservation Park, too, adding the Orange-footed Scrub Fowl, Scrub Turkey and others to our list.

Here are some of my photographs from the morning.

Crimson Finch
Crimson Finch, Neochmia phaeton, female

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