Ian’s Bird of the Week – (Southern Cassowary) and Solar Eclipse

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 1

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 1

Ian’s Bird of the Week – (Southern Cassowary) and Solar Eclipse

by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter 11-14-12

It’s unusual for my primary photographic goal on a trip to be other than a bird, but birds this week in northern Queensland have been overshadowed – pun intended – by yesterday’s solar eclipse. Residents of the Townsville district had to face the difficult decision on whether to remain here where the probability of clear skies was great but be satisfied with a 96% eclipse or travel to Cairns where the weather forecast was cloudy but the eclipse was total.

Despite misgivings about the weather, we went to Cairns and in the end it was a close call. We awoke at 5:30am – totality was due at 6:38 – to an unpromising looking sunrise followed by a shower of rain and then headed off to the beach, equipped with solar spectacles and umbrellas. Just before totality, a cloud obscured the sun and the first photo was taken seconds before it was due, at 6:37’37”, according to my iPhone. The suspense was riveting until the cloud moved aside like a slow theatre curtain to reveal a total eclipse in all its glory and all the onlookers cheered. The second photo was taken, not with the iPhone, exactly 40 seconds later.

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 2

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 2

As well as the corona surrounding the sun, only ever visible from earth during total eclipse, you can see several solar flares between 9 and 10 o’clock and near 12 o’clock. The third photo was taken another 7 seconds later, at 8:38’24”, and the sun is already reappearing producing the ‘diamond ring’ effect. This happens when a relatively tiny portion of the sun – a Baily’s bead – is visible through an irregularity on the surface of the moon – a mountain valley or a crater.

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 3

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 3

For the photographically-minded, I was unsure what exposure to use and whether automatic exposure would be correct, so I used ‘bracketing’, taking 3 photos with exposures ranging from 1 stop below to 1 above the set exposure and adjusting the set exposure based on the results of the first photos. I got the best results at -2.7 stops, f5.6 at 1/100 and 1/125sec at ISO 100. I used a tripod.

On the way to Cairns we spent a night at Etty Bay on the ‘Cassowary Coast’, the name of the local government region that covers Mission Beach and Innisfail. Etty Bay is, I think, the best place to see Cassowaries, as at least one regular patrols the camping and picnic area looking for scraps of food. The Cassowary Coast has the following logo, and I wanted to take a photo of a Cassowary that emulated the sign (which emulates a Cassowary).

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 4

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 4

Cassowaries don’t normally frequent beaches, but this one has clearly found that it’s worth checking for scraps.

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 5

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 5

The one in the second photo might make a good poster for a qualified welcome to the Cassowary Coast!

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 6

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 6

The Southern Cassowary featured as bird of the week in 2006. Here is one of the photos that I used then, also taken at Etty Bay, for those of you who have joined the list since then.

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 7

Southern Cassowary and Solar Eclipse by Ian 7

Best wishes
Ian

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Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Check the latest website updates:
http://www.birdway.com.au/#updates


Lee’s Addition:

What great photos of the eclipse and the Cassowary to add to the delight. Thanks, Ian.

That second photo is a perfect catch of the Solar Eclipse. Wow!

He appointed the moon for seasons; The sun knows its going down. (Psalms 104:19 NKJV)

See:

Ian’s Southern Cassowary page for more of his great photos.

Casuariidae – Cassowaries Family

Cassowary – Wikipedia

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Cassowary Seed Spreaders – A. J. Mithra

Cassowary Seed Spreaders

Cassowaries eat mainly
large colorful fruits,
and they are considered
as the vital “keystone” species
cos they eat,
and therefore distribute
so many large tropical rain forest fruits.

SouthernCassowary(Casuariuscasuarius) from Wikipedia

SouthernCassowary(Casuariuscasuarius) from Wikipedia

In fact, the Southern Cassowary
is probably the single most important
seed disperser of the
Australian tropical rain forest.
So far, over 200
Australian tropical rain forest plants
have been recorded
to be eaten by cassowaries

Though the bird is hard to be seen,
their scat can be quite
common and conspicuous,
and can contain up to
1 kilogram of seeds….

The survival of the rain forests
of Australia depends upon
the survival of these birds…

Have we ever realized that
the extension of God’s kingdom
depends upon how far and wide
we sow JESUS, THE SEED?

How dare we expect to reap
goodness and mercy to follow us
all the days of our lives
when we haven’t sowed
JESUS, THE SEED??

If a bird can sow
hundreds of seeds,
in how many lives
have we sown,
JESUS,THE SEED?

He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalms 126:6 (KJV)

Have a blessed day!

Yours in YESHUA,
A J Mithra

His website is CROSSTREE
More of A. J.’s articles here.


Cassowaries are in the Casuariidae Family of the Casuariiformes Order

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