Messing about along the river's banks

Ratty, Mole and Co loved messing about in boats. Without boat, next best is messing about on riverbanks. One river running through Townsville City, so been messing about along Ross River. Above, female Magpie Goose preening in paperbark growing alongside a footbridge.

Waiting hungrily below, Short-necked River Turtle (a natural Greeny), one of scores on view (and thousands along the Ross). Stand for a while looking down on the river and the turtles hurtle (speed is relative) closer in hope of easy feed.

Downriver the other day, Pacific Black Duck adult looks caring but all is not as it seems. Duckling should have been elsewhere with seven siblings and parents but had become separated, maybe ducknapped. It paddled off upstream alone soon after in search of family.

Also alone one day in the same area, where Aplins Weir holds the freshwater Ross back from the tidal Ross, Australian Pelican looks ever bit as content to be on the river as ever were Ratty, Mole and Co. Musn't be too bo…

Ballad of the bold Brolga seeing off the Birder

Brolga family out for wander
Spy a birder over yonder

No worries, says the mister,
I'll  soon see off this blister.

Up he comes with low hisses
But fearsomeness he misses.

Worry not, says birder man,
Now with pictures in the can

You can forget hokey heroic
And stalk back to mum and chick.

Townsville Common early today

Female Blue-winged Kookaburra masters bill and coup

Old female friend crashed in on recent morning scout for early birds at entry to Townsville Common. Sudden rush of wings, rustling in bushes and Blue-winged Kookaburra emerged with breakfast firmly lodged in long-broken bill.

She's not merely a survivor but appears to be queen of a territory centred on the entry gate. But even so familiar a sight has - along with other kookaburras - been less often on show lately, perhaps because Forest Kingfishers are about in considerable numbers and outcompeting their larger cousins.

Hard by the entry gate, and  escaping the attention of predators (bar those with neat little new waterproof, shockproof microscopic-function cameras), Large Brown Mantid hangs around for a minute before returning to dangling upside down under fig leaves awaiting passing prey.

Upside down because sitting about on branches is not such a good idea. It's one thing to have a neat little new etc. etc. poked right in your face, it's altogether another as a vulner…

Red-winged Parrot helps find Black-throated Finches

Red-winged Parrot not primary target of quick drive 40km west of Townsville but this male feeding on roadside weed seeds took the eye. Which was just as well since the stop near a cattle station gate led to finding a mixed lot of finches and mannikins feeding on fallen seeds.

Among Plum-headed and Zebra finches, four Black-throated Finches, two of which flew to within a metre of me at the gate before heading off across the road. But one of the two others paused in a nearby tree before darting away again.

Taking the eye elsewhere, female Figbird with the species favourite food.

And Red-tailed Black Cockatoo female getting to the tasty section of a coastal almond.

Swamp Harrier drops in for closer views

Swamp Harrier stopped months of teasing at distance and circled pool in front of Payets Tower in the Townsville Common yesterday. Unclear what it was interested in, apart from possibly one of resident Darter pair in water. Which would be much more ambitious target than the diet of grasshoppers the Swampy's mostly been on lately.

Elsewhere in the air recently, Brown Falcon near Woodstock ...

... and Brahminy Kite over the Ross River.

Water Python puts lethal squeeze on White Ibis

Just caught sight of Australian White Ibis's final seconds alive at edge of pool beneath Payets Tower in Town Common Conservation Park today. A forlorn wave of wing as snake dragged bird into pool. Quick walk back to Troopy for camera change and gumboots. Snake quit kill soon after this picture, perhaps realising it was wrapped around more than it could swallow. But can't rule out camera-shyness.

Sticking up for birds on sticks

Sick of birds on sticks? Too bad. They've got to go somewhere, apart from with atlas listings. And I've vetoed barbed wire and similar artificial perches. But BOS 'savers' do build up after failing to fit into blog themes. Apart, that is, from theme of birds on sticks. Original, huh? Above, Sacred Kingfisher near takeoff, Ross River.
Horsfields Cuckoo in early-morning light, Townsville Town Common Conservation Park.
Forest Kingfishers in light and shade, Town Common.
Nutmeg Mannikin male, Ross River.
Mistloebird male with fig, just metres away from Nutmeg.
Pale-headed Rosella, Bald Rock  area, Town Common.
Striated Pardalote, one of pair beside Old Flinders Highway.
White-browed Robin, in thicket by Town Common entry gate.