Afraid of the Yowie

The Grey Kangaroo mobs that inhabit the Greens Bush section of the Mornington Peninsula National Park are generally quite skittish and can spot me quite a distance away. On occasion while I have been standing still watching birds, a group has moved past me along one of their trails. Once they notice me there is a mad panic as they bound off in all directions.  The last few visits I have found a lone Grey along the ridge-line track. The first time I was photographing a nest and he just moved from beside a tree a few feet away and stood up tall next to me and just stared. When I noticed him from the corner of my eye, he didn’t even budge while I shrieked at the sudden potential attack by a “yowie”…He dropped down onto his front paws and fed on some grass and then ambled off the track and back into the bush. On the weekend I came across him again just feeding on the grass along the track near the same spot as last time.  I walked right up close and took a few images.  He looked healthy enough, clear eyed and could hear me make my Skippy the Bush Kangaroo sounds, so I am not sure why this Roo is so easy-going. I will have to keep an eye out for him – and those pesky yowies and drop bears.

Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Building a picture of territories

I have found several spots now at Greens Bush where I am sure that Bassians have set up feeding and nesting territories. Besides looking for the right sort of terrain and vegetation I am also on the lookout for fresh droppings. When watching the birds feed and pick up some good size morsels they seem to process the previously taken food and excrete a bright white splash. Based on the  amount of white droppings I am finding in an area I can be fairly certain that I have found another Bassian feeding area. The shots of the two birds below were taken in different parts of the forest walk that I have come to expect to see Bassians.

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Yellow-tailed black-cockatoos on the road-side

On the way home from Green’s Bush I spotted a large flock of Yellow-tailed black-cockatoos feeding on pine cone seeds in some large trees and in the paddock below. I occasionally hear them and see a few flying across the roads around the Peninsula but I have not seen so many in a single flock: at least 30. I pulled over and tried to sneak up on them to get a few  photos. They were very wary and had a well defined flush zone. I did finally get a few shots.

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo feeding on a pine cone.

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos feeding on pine cones. 

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Beautiful Black-cockatoo

Beware the Drop Bear!

On the weekend I was nearing the end of my usual Greens Bush circuit, when I heard a Crescent Honeyeater and stopped to find the bird in the high trees. Straight away I noticed a large grey shape in an Acacia tree. It is only the second Koala I have found on this circuit and like the other Koala this one was also in a non-eucalyptus tree. As I walked towards him to get a closer view he watched me, becoming quite alert, not the usual dopey, sleepy animal, and then assumed this odd position, leaning back out of the fork. I am not sure what it was going to do, drop, climb, stretch. I have not seen this behaviour or position before – (well obviously it is the drop position for the drop-bear). After a few photographs I backed away and let him get back to his nap  – I was not going to fall for his trap.

 

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Drop bear in position.

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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A family of one legged Stilts…

Just to the north of the coastal bird-hide in the Lake Borrie Lagoons (Western Treatment Plant) is the mouth of the Little River. It is a great spot for various roosting birds at the high tides. On this occasion we found dozens of Red-necked Avocet roosting and preening and a few metres a small family of Black-winged Stilts.

Pied Stilt, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Black-winged Stilt family, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Red-necked Avocet, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Red-necked Avocets in a roosting flock, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

And the last one…

A great day at the Werribee Treatment Plant ended with a drive along the surrounding roads looking for the raptors using the fence posts as perches to watch for their evening meals. This little Kestrel was fluffed up against the cool air. The Nankeen Kestrel is also called the Chickenhawk (though it mostly hunts insects, small birds and mice), Mosquito Hawk and Windhover (due to its hunting technique). Its scientific name is Falco cenchroides – “resembling kestrel-like hawk falcon” (doesn’t leave much out).

Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Target sighted…

The Little Duck-Hawk

Another of the raptors we found along the roads in the Treatment Plant was an Australian Hobby. I don’t often see this species though have seen one twice now in the last few months. I actually see Peregrine Falcons more often. This one flew into the Paradise Lagoons section along one of the roads and watched the various birds in the area as well as watch us slowly drive forward.   The Hobby (from old French “hobe” meaning small falcon) was also called the “Little Falcon” , “Little Duck-Hawk”, “Black-faced Hawk”, “White-fronted Hawk” and its Latin name means “Long-winged Falcon”.

Australian Hobby, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Australian Hobby, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic