Birdsville birding trip, August 2019

Male Cinnamon Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma cinnamomeum)

From mid to late-August 2019 four of us travelled to Birdsville as we had been told that conditions were very favourable, rains earlier in the year had passed through the region on it’s way to Lake Eyre. We visited Quilpie, Windorah, Birdsville, Koonchera (SA), Bowra Sanctuary and Bollon.

These are images and clips of some of the species seen.

One of several Cinnamon Quail-thrush seen in the Birdsville area in late August 2019

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Australian Pratincoles east of Birdsville
Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps plumifera)
Pelicans and cormorants group-fishing at Birdsville
Cockatiels at dawn
Bourke’s Parrots at Coopers Creek
Cinnamon Quail-thrush
Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis)
Juvenile Pallid Cuckoo with ‘host’ parents calling (Rufous Songlarks)
Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis)

Handycam v Mirrorless

Captured some footage today with a Sony AX53 Handycam and a Sony A7iii ‘mirrorless’ with 100-400m and 1.4 convertor, results below….what do you think?

Rainbow Lorikeets with Sony AX53 (smartphone-remote enabled)
Little Wattlebird with Sony A7iii (100-400mm and x1.4 converter)
White-throated Honeyeater Sony AX53 (remote)
Various honeyeaters with Sony A7iii
Scarlet Honeyeater with Sony AX53 (remote)
Red-necked Wallaby with Sony A7iii

Experimenting with video-footage (Striated Pardalotes in SE Qld)

Since I filmed the 3 clips I’ve been experimenting with footage from various cameras, a Canon EOS7d_mk2, a Sony A7III and the Sony AX53 Handycam. The first featured will be almost un-edited (Hopefully on these I’ve removed most ‘wobbly’ ‘in and out’ bits, but there are no added ‘effects’)

I welcome any ‘constructive-criticism’, please add comments.

Footage taken with Canon EOS 7d mk2,100x400mm and X1.4 converter
Tripod and camera audio used

Footage taken with Sony A7III,100x400mm and X1.4 converter
Tripod and camera audio used

Footage taken with Sony AX53 Handycam (4K Res)
No Tripod but Steadyshot and external microphone

Footage taken with Sony AX53 Handycam (1080 Res)
Tripod and external microphone used


Original footage using Sony AX53 Handycam

Nesting in tomb drain-hole

Experimenting with 4K video an a Sony AX53 Handycam, a little disappointed with focus and ‘flatness’ as it was quite bright at time of ‘footage’. Please let me know what you think of these 3 clips.

Will attempt more with different equipment and settings in the ‘near-future’.

Glossy Black Cockatoos in SE Qld

Recently Glossy Black Cockatoos have returned to a small area of private land between Samford and Dayboro in South-east Queensland. The area is owned by conservation-aware land-owners but access is restricted, however the birds can often be seen from the roadside.

Over Easter (2019) I was fortunate to be granted access to one of these properties and was given permission to film/photograph the birds, currently I believe there are approximately 10 to 20 birds present, but they can still be difficult to locate as they are generally quiet except for the sound of their bills cracking casuarina-nuts.

Male Glossy Black Cockatoo
Glossy Black Cockatoo family

Special Sunday

Got up early this morning to try and record some audio soundscapes in the Samsonvale area, sadly the weather was somewhat ‘showery’ so most of the sound captured wasn’t very good-quality, however I did manage to capture some footage and audio of a family of Pacific Bazas and their interaction with other species present.

Adult Pacific Baza

Young Baza being ‘mobbed’ by 2 Grey Butcherbirds


Spectrogram showing Pacific Baza and Grey Butcherbird calls

Eaglehawk Neck Pelagics 26/27 Jan 2019

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Over the ‘Australia-Day’ weekend I attended a couple of Pelagic-trips from Eaglehawk Neck in Tasmania. We were quite fortunate to go as the state was experiencing heat-wave conditions and large bush-fires in the SW National Park, this produced a bad smoke-haze at the start of the first day which decreased as we moved further east. However winds were generally fairly light with a maximum of 25 knots, we travelled out to the ‘shelf’ where the ocean depth increases to 100 fathoms and ‘chummed’ to bring in birds.

Southern Royal Albatross 2 (1). Both immature/younger adult and both pelagic on the return leg.

BIRDLIFE AUSTRALIA PELAGIC TRIP OFF EAGLEHAWK NECK, TASMANIA
Saturday 26th Jan 2019

OBSERVERS: Tim Bawden, Isaac Clarey, Jo Culican, Rich Everett, Brian Johnston, Gina Hopkins, Linda Lewis, Mike Lewis, R Bruce Richardson, Robert Shore, Tom Tarrant, Bruce Wedderburn, & Rohan Clarke (report compiler).

WEATHER: Thick smoke haze in the AM, clearing just before the Hipploytes to reveal high hazy cloud that ranged from 40-80% cover through the rest of the day. Winds mostly 15-20 knots SW in the AM building briefly to 25 knots soon after we crossed the shelf but dropping back to 10-15 knots by the time we were heading in. Surprisingly warm in the AM, becoming cooler but still mild beyond the shelf.

SEA: A flat sea on a 1 m swell out to the Hippolytes, building slightly in offshore waters. Beyond the shelf we mostly experienced a 2-3 m swell with occasional sets to 3-4 m and a 1 m sea. Pretty comfortable, but there was a little bit of spray when underway.

ACTIVITY: Departed Pirates Bay Wharf at 0710. Headed down to the Hippolytes, which we circumnavigated, before taking an easterly route directly to the shelf break. Large numbers of birds on the way out, especially in inshore waters with an early NZ Wandering Albatross soon after leaving the harbour to raise expectations. Crossed the shelf break (100 fathoms) at 0900 before making our first stop a couple of miles beyond the shelf over 300 m of water were we berleyed for 1 hr 15 mins. Later we moved out to 1185 m for a second 1.5 hr berley session before a short ~10 min stop back on the shelf edge on the way in. Crossed back over the shelf at 1310 and docked at 1500.

MAMMALS (and other non-feathered things)

Australian Fur Seals: 25 on the Hippolytes. Also 1 inshore in the AM.

Common Dolphin: Just a couple of animals in inshore waters in the AM.

Mako Shark: A big fish, estimated by the skipper to be 200+ kg, made a few passes in the berley trail at our furthest point offshore for the day.

BIRDS: 23 species of seabird beyond the point at Pirates Bay was a little below average for the species count but the Cook’s Petrels were very nice, as were the large numbers of storm-petrels and the showy Fluttering Shearwaters.

NZ Wandering Albatross (gibsoni): 10 (3). 1 juvenile in inshore waters in the AM was a surprise over just ~40 m of water, the remainder (variously immature or adult) were pelagic. A possible exulens but pretty distant and not ID’d with any certainty.

Southern Royal Albatross 2 (1). Both immature/younger adult and both pelagic on the return leg.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 3 (1). 1 adult inshore in the AM, 2 immatures pelagic.

Shy Albatross: 120 (40). cauta/steadi: 34 inshore, 10 offshore, remainder pelagic. 3 imm (both pelagic), remainder adult.

Buller’s Albatross: 25 (5). 13 inshore, 5 offshore, remainder pelagic. All adults. A few nice showy individuals in at the back of the boat.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 50 (35). All pelagic.

White-faced Storm-Petrel: 180 (100). 5 offshore, remainder pelagic. Lots of nice close passes off the stern.

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 14 (6). All pelagic.

Fairy Prion: 30 (5). 3 inshore, 2 offshore in the AM, remainder pelagic.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 3200 (2000). Mostly offshore, but 200 inshore and 300 pelagic.

Sooty Shearwater: 15 (2). 4 offshore, remainder pelagic.

Fluttering Shearwater: 30 (5). 9 inshore, 10 offshore, remainder pelagic.

Common Diving-Petrel: 2 (1). Both pelagic at the first berley point. Crap views of the first, good views of the second.

White-chinned Petrel: 20 (8). Mostly pelagic but a couple followed us back into offshore waters in the PM.

Grey-faced Petrel: 1 pelagic at the second berley stop.

White-headed Petrel: 1 pelagic at the first berley stop disappeared pretty quickly.

COOK’S PETREL: 2 (1). Both pelagic at the second berley stop. First was seen reasonably well as it passed through the slick and down the starboard side of the vessel, the other was a bit more distant but photos confirm ID.

Australasian Gannet: 60 (50). 2 pelagic, remainder inshore. All adult. Another 50 on the Hipploytes.

Black-faced Cormorant: 75 (25). All inshore. Another 450 on the Hippolytes.

Crested Tern: 2 (2) inshore.

Pacific Gull: 5 (2). 4 adults, 1 juvenil all inshore in the AM. Also 2 adults on the Hippolytes.

Kelp Gull: 7 (4). 4 adults, 1 juvenile inshore, 1 second year bird pelagic, another adult inshore in the PM. Also about 30 on and around the Hippolytes

Silver Gull: 52 (50). All inshore. Also another ~10 on the Hippolytes.

Details of previous trips to the same area are available on ebird, click on the marker on the map to visit.

Shy Albatross, Grey-backed Storm-Petrel_no audio
White-faced Storm-Petrel_no audio
White-faced Storm-Petrel, Fluttering Shearwater_no audio
Shy and Yellow-nosed Albatross_no audio

Sunday 27th Jan 2019:

OBSERVERS: Tim Bawden, Isaac Clarey, Jo Culican, Rich Everett, Brian Johnston, Gina Hopkins, Linda Lewis, Mike Lewis, R Bruce Richardson, Robert Shore, Tom Tarrant, Bruce Wedderburn, & Rohan Clarke (report compiler).

WEATHER: Cool to mild with a 15 knot NW in the AM building to 20 knots beyond the shelf, before moderating to 5-8 knots from the NW. A fairly active front with a rapid change to 15-20 knot westerly pushed through at about 1400 but by then we were well on our way back in and it was of no consequence.

SEA: A 0.5-1m sea on a 1 m swell in inshore waters, building to a 1-2 m swell and 1 m sea at the shelf and beyond. With the decreasing wind the seas also moderated somewhat from midday. On the return leg we passed through a rather messy couple of miles of lumpy sea being held up by the tide, and then soon after with the wind change from the west a bit of spray got whipped up. Our timing was good because we avoided any unpleasantness from this front that would have occurred if we’d still been out wide.

ACTIVITY: Departed Pirates Bay Wharf at 0700. Headed north-east forgoing a pass of the Hippolytes. As a consequence numbers of some inshore/island frequenting species were down cf the Saturday trip. Crossed the shelf break (200 m) at 0840 before making our first stop a couple of miles beyond the shelf over 350 m (drifting to 800 m) of water where we berleyed for 1 hr 10 mins. Later we moved out to 1200 m for a second berley session before heading back in for a brief stop with a Long-liner that was well attended by birds. Crossed back over the shelf at 1250 and docked at 1500.

MAMMALS (and other non-feathered things)
Fur Seal sp.: Just a single at the Long-liner feeding on discards.

A single Mako Shark also visited us in the berley trail beyond the shelf.

BIRDS: 25 species of seabird beyond the point at Pirates Bay is about average for a January pelagic. Buller’s Shearwater was the highlight given there were a number of people hoping for this species. Wedge-tailed Shearwater is also a good rarity for Tasmania. Showy storm-petrels, Providence Petrel and generally large numbers of birds beyond the shelf were also nice.
Little Penguin: 1 pelagic near the shelf break.

NZ Wandering Albatross (gibsoni): 3 (2). All pelagic.

Southern Royal Albatross 2 birds on plumage. Both younger adults and both pelagic.

Black-browed Albatross: 3 (1). 1 adult inshore, 1 juvenile and 1 adult pelagic.

Wandering Albatross (exulans): 4 (2). All pelagic, including a lovely snowy bird at the Long-liner.

Shy Albatross: 250 (120). cauta/steadi: 10 inshore, 9 offshore, remainder pelagic. 5 imm (pelagic), remainder adult. Largest number was 120 around the Long-liner.

Buller’s Albatross: 40 (20). 2 inshore, 3 offshore, remainder pelagic. All adults. Highest count was 20 with the Long-liner.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 38 (10). All pelagic.

White-faced Storm-Petrel: 230 (100). 6 offshore, remainder pelagic. Lots of nice close passes off the stern. About 100 with the Long-liner.

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 13 (4). All pelagic.

Fairy Prion: 30 (5). 20 offshore, remainder pelagic.

BULLER’S SHEARWATER: 2 (1). Both pelagic at the first berley point.

WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER: 2 (1). Both pelagic – one at the first berley point and the other at the last. 5 years ago this was a major rarity off Tasmania….it is still rare, but the species has now been recorded in Jan/Feb in each of the last four years off Eaglehawk Neck.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 4000 (1500). Mostly offshore, but 300 inshore and 700 pelagic.

Sooty Shearwater: 10 (3). 2 offshore, remainder pelagic.

Fluttering Shearwater: 23 (2). 12 inshore, 3 offshore, remainder pelagic.

White-chinned Petrel: 44 (20). 2 offshore, remainder pelagic with highest count of 20 at the Long-liner.

Grey-faced Petrel: 13 (4). All pelagic.

Providence Petrel: 2 (1). Both pelagic.

Australasian Gannet: 25 (20). 22 inshore, 3 offshore. All adult.

Black-faced Cormorant: 2 (1). Both inshore.

Jaeger sp.: a single quick flyby in inshore waters. Either a Pom or an Arctic.

Crested Tern: 2 (2) offshore.

Pacific Gull: 1 adult inshore.

Kelp Gull: 3 (2). 2 inshore, 1 pelagic.

Silver Gull: 8 (2). 5 inshore, 1 offshore, 2 pelagic.

Shy Albatross_no audio
Shy Albatross_with audio
White-chinned Petrel_no audio
Storm-Petrels_muted audio
Sunrise and albatross

Mt Glorious – January 2019

Had a nice day during mid-January, was invited to a ‘belated’ birders xmas-breakfast at Judith Hoyle’s and Gavin O’Meara’s beautiful residence on Mt Glorious, caught-up with a number of old friends and made a few reasonable clips (unfortunately I’m having issues with the audio on the video-editing suite so there’s a lot of talking on a couple of the clips – will address the issue soon.)

White-eared Monarch (Goat Track)
White-eared Monarch (Goat Track)
New Holland Honeyeater (Mt Glorious)
Russet-tailed Thrush (Maiala National Park)

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Port of Brisbane December 2018

Over the weekend of 15/16 December there was plenty of ‘rarity’ action around the Brisbane area, possibly due to the very ‘unsettled’ weather. Local birders found several unusual waders, the best being a Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Calidris subruficollis)
at Fisherman’s Island and Long-toed Stint (Calidris subminuta) near Sandy Cape Road Reserve at Lindum. We were fortunate to see the latter on Sunday but failed to find the sandpiper until Wednesday. Unfortunately my photographic efforts were fairly ‘abysmal’ but I did manage a short bit of video on the Sony Handycam which might be slightly more acceptable…

Buff-breated Sandpiper (Calidris subruficollis) 
at Port of Brisbane 19 December 2018