Guitarist of Flanigan Lane

A walk through a narrow laneway: Flanigan Lane, in the Melbourne CBD,  and a nice surprise, a very large mural of a Blues guitarist…

Guitarist wall mural, Flanigan Lane, Melbourne CBD

Guitarist wall mural, Flanigan Lane, Melbourne CBD

Spring is fast approaching…

Many birds are busy at the moment. Potential nest sites explored, claimed and defended, nest mounds are being constructed and the recent mild weather has convinced several species to start the nesting cycle now.

The two mounds below were found in the first T-section lagoon at the Western Treatment Plant. I was surprised to see that they were fairly close to the road and in a large and fairly exposed lagoon.  Very happy to see the Brolgas nesting again at the Lagoons, though a little concerned that if it rained further then the nest could be swamped by the rising water levels. The swan’s nest was much higher from the water.

Nesting Brolga, T-section, Western treatmwent Plant, Werribee

Nesting Brolga, T-section, Western treatmwent Plant, Werribee

Brolga, T-section, Western treatmwent Plant, Werribee

Nesting Brolga’s mate nearby keeping a watch…

Nesting Swan, T-section, Western treatmwent Plant, Werribee

Nesting Swan, T-section, Western treatmwent Plant, Werribee

Finlay Alley, a secret dark laneway

I found an old map of the various street art alleys and laneways. Over the last few weeks I have been checking several of these old sites for any new works. Many of the map’s sites are gone now, the laneways still exist but the sides are new tower blocks for student and cheaper apartment housing. One gem that I did find full of interesting large murals was Finlay Alley –  an alley, that doglegs into a dark covered lane. There is a new block going up soon on one of the perimeters and hopefully the site won’t be altered too much

Street Art, Finlay Alley, Melbourne CBD

Street Art, Finlay Alley, Melbourne CBD

Street Art, Finlay Alley, Melbourne CBD

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Street Art, Finlay Alley, Melbourne CBD

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Street Art, Finlay Alley, Melbourne CBD

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Street Art, Finlay Alley, Melbourne CBD

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Rainbows and Red-rumps

I walked around Braeside Park last week with a few friends. It has been a while since I have explored this part of the park having spent more time recently looking around the neighbouring Woodlands Industrial Estate wetlands. With all the rain over winter the lagoons have filled up nicely and there is a lot of fresh growth. There was quite the buzz around the park as many parrots, lorikeets and cockatoos searched for and explored every hollow they could looking for suitable nest sites. Once claimed the nest sites are vigorously and noisily defended. The highlight of the day was a large dead tree with a quite a number of hollows that seemed to be occupied by Red-rumped Parrots – a parrot apartment block. While it is still Winter here, one can definitely feel the change coming as the birds move into gear for the new breeding season.

 

Rainbow Lorikeets, Braeside Park, Victoria

Rainbow Lorikeets, Braeside Park, Victoria

Red-rumped Parrots, Braeside Park, Victoria

Female Red-rumped Parrot exploring a hollow

Red-rumped Parrots, Braeside Park, Victoria

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Male Red Rumped Parrot, Braeside Park, Victoria

Male Red Rumped Parro waiting for the female to pop back out with a decision…

Red-rumped Parrots, Braeside Park, Victoria

Red-rumped Parrots – male guarding above and the female enjoying a little sun in the nest hollow below. Her duller colouring is well suited for long stints at the nest

The hunter’s perch…

One of the best reasons to visit the Western Treatment Plant over winter is the large number of Raptors that can be easily seen.  The species found all year round include the Swamp Harriers, Kites (Black-Shouldered, Black and Whistling) and the Brown Falcons. Several more stop by for a few months to breed locally or just to take advantage of an abundant food supply – these include the Black Falcon, Kestrel, Brown Goshawk, Spotted Harrier, Sea-Eagle and Wedge-tailed Eagle.

Below are two regulars that I often see and photograph. The Brown Falcon and the Whistling Kite – both perched in late afternoon light on dead tree branches with great open views of the surrounding area.

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Whistling Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Whistling Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Last bird of the day…

On the drive out of the Western Lagoons and T-section and back along the Point Wilson Road heading home after along day of birding, I spotted a dark silhouette in one of the bordering Pines. Very easy to identify with the swallow shaped forked tail, the raptor on the branch was a Black Kite. The kite is a medium sized raptor, blackish-brown in colour,  and often seen slowly cruising along the country highways. It is reported to be the most common raptor in the world. We regularly see several along this road and it is one of the first birds we encounter for the day and one of the last.

Black Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Black Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

A deadly hunt

On a recent trip to the Western Treatment Plant, we saw and photographed a number of raptors including several Black-shouldered Kites. We drove along the lagoon tracks and found a kite feeding on a recently caught rat.  The kites favoured prey are the mice and rats that inhabit the long grass fringes of the lagoons at the treatment plant. The kite is one of the two Australian species of raptor that can hover above a hunting ground and drop with sudden speed onto its prey. (the blog’s image logo was a kite that was hunting and hovering). After it catches the rat, it then flies to a regular feeding post or branch and consumes the prey by tearing the rat apart and eating until the rat is small enough to swallow the rest whole. Rather gruesome but interesting to watch and photograph.

Black-shouldered Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Black-shouldered Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Black-shouldered Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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Black-shouldered Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Black-shouldered Kite with a rat

Black-shouldered Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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Black-shouldered Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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Black-shouldered Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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