A new grassland grows

With the closing of the Elsternwick golf course and planned conversion to a wetlands and open parkland, the unmaintained grass of the old fairways is growing long and seeding. This is already bringing more bird species to the area to enjoy the seeds, including a small flock of Long-billed Corellas.

Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic

Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic

Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic

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Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic

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Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic

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Acrobatic antics for a good feed

During spring the understory throughout Greens Bush has been in full bloom. Amongst the many birds that I saw feeding on the flowers was this White-naped Honeyeater. I mostly see this species  higher in the canopy and more often hear them as they make their distinctive calls. I think it was a fairly young bird to allow me to get so close to watch it as it moved arobatically around several low bushes. It was a good opportunity to photograph this beautiful little bird with the lovely orange eye lid.

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Inspecting a hollow

I am still finding birds at Greens Bush nesting, looking for suitable nest sites and feeding juveniles that have fledged and left the nest. I found this pair of Crimson Rosellas (below) inspecting a Eucalyptus hollow. One was hopping in and out of the small hollow while its mate stood watch nearby.

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Crimson Rosella guarding the nest hole on a nearby branch

Safe and warm….

I sometime run into locals while walking around my usual circuit at Green’s Bush and I can always learn from them about what is happening in the area. Earlier this year Virginia taught me about the local trees, which I am hopeless at identifying. I ran into her and her partner Mark again last weekend and caught up with the local happenings particular around finding owls. There are a few species at Greens: Powerful Owls, Owlet nightjars and Southern Boobooks. I have yet to find any but there seems to be quite a few around. I asked V about how her animal orphan caring was going and she reached down her shirt and pulled out this little Ring-tiled possum from a small pouch. The ring tail possum and its much bigger, meaner cousin the Brush-tail possum are a favourite food for the Powerful Owl. The possums are very common and the large powerful owls quite rare due to lack of old growth trees for breeding hollows. But I would not wish this little guy to become a snack for a big owl. So much effort and time goes into giving it a chance to grow up.

Ring-tailed Possum, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Ring-tailed Possum, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

The little hunter returns

With the on-coming summer a few new migratory birds are heading to Greens Bush for the warmer seasons. I heard recently the distinctive sounds of 5 short barks of the Sacred Kingfisher: a tiny bird in bright blue, hunting amongst the trees. I only spotted the kingfisher after tracking its barks and seeing a flash of blue against dull brown tree bark. It seemed to be investigating all the nearby tree hollows and calling often.

Sacred Kingfisher, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Sacred Kingfisher, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Sacred Kingfisher, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Wait…..what??

After failing to find the Tawny Frogmouth’s nest, I got a few more directions and went back the next night to Elsternwick Park (North) and found it. It was in an obvious position and quite visible when you knew where to look and what to look for. The nest was more robust using more materials than I seem this species use before. I photographed the Frogmouth from a few angles, waiting to see whether the nesting parent would open its eyes. I moved to the front of the nest and took a few images and checked the back of the camera looking for clear shots and exposure when I noticed two yellow eyes looking out at me from the parent’s belly. Turns out the chicks had already hatched and were quite large. I only saw one chick moving about and it was quite curious about me. At one point it even had a good stretch of its wings. After a few shots I left them in peace to enjoy the late afternoon and get ready for evening’s hunting.

Tawny Frogmouth on nest, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth on nest, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth and chick, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth and chick

Tawny Frogmouth and chick, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth with chick stretching its wings.

Nesting Tawnys at the new Elster Creek Wetlands

I heard from a friend that there were nesting Tawny Frogmouths at the old Elsternwick Golf Course, now formerly called Elsternwick Park North (and wetlands). I spent some time looking for the nest with no luck. But I did find one of the pair roosting nearby. He was very relaxed and wasn’t by bothered by me at all. He did open his eyes and watch me for a minute while I stumbled around a bit trying to get a clearer shot below him. As it was dusk the sun was right in the worst possible position.  These are one of my favourite birds, nocturnal, unafraid, and sit still for a photography to go nuts. They are also invisible to most eyes unless you are looking for the grey coloured lump in a tree that does not quite belong.

Tawny Frogmouth, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

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Tawny Frogmouth, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

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