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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Soon to find true form

I often drop into the Quarry Reserve in Moorooduc to check in on the Peregrine Falcons that make the flooded quarry their home. In the surrounding bushland are many bird species working hard through their breeding cycles. I watched a pair of Brown Thornbills searching for insects amongst the scrub and was surprised to see a Cuckoo seemingly working the branches with them. It even hopped to the ground and rummaged amongst the leaves. Occasionally it would stop and make the typical Shining Bronze Cuckoo calls. I am sure that the Thornbills had raised this cuckoo.

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Oops a bit too close…

I was watching a Bassian Thrush move along the path collecting worms for a return to the nest. It would occasionally drop all the worms, pick up an irresistible insect of some sort for a snack and then one by one pick up all the worms and move down the track. It had 6 bigs worms in its beak and after a few minutes ducked down a side wallaby track. I stood still and tried to see where it would go so I could find the nest. A meter or so from my face an Eastern yellow robin flew to a branch and hopped into a nest. I had no idea it was there but after standing still for so long it seemed to not see me as a threat. I slowly moved back to the other side of the track and took a few pics. After several minutes she flew off and I took few pics of the nest. Robins have amazing nests made with soft bark strips and then covered with spider web and live moss and lichen.

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Not so Common Bronzewing

I have recently extended my usual circuit around Greens Bush in the Mornington Peninsula National Park to include several of the fire trails that occur further along the Two Bays Walk. On Saturday I took the longer circuit. Where the fire trail came back into the forest my eyes were adapting to the change in light when I disturbed a plump bird a few metres in front of me and with an explosion of clattering wings he flew to a tree above. He didn’t fly far and I had good views of a bird I had not seen before at Greens Bush. A male Common Bronzewing (the large pale head marking denotes a male Bronze)

Common Bronzewing, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Common Bronzewing, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Common Bronzewing, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

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Pass friend and be recognised

There has been a lot of media lately about local magpies diving bombing posties and kids going to school. A friend even had a nasty scratch on her face from an attack. I have lived in my area for many years and have never been bombed by the local maggies. I have read that they are very territorial but can actually recognise human faces in their territories, up to 25 distinct people. To play it safe when I walk past a magpie in the streets around my house I take my hat off and give them a clear view of my face. I have done this since I read the article on facial recognition. I reckon it works. I photographed this female (or juvenile, a mottled grey back indicates a female or juvenile) while walking my dog yesterday. She gave me a good long look and then went back to searching for grubs and other tasty morsels in the grass below a pedestrian bridge over the creek behind my house.

Magpie, Elster Creek, Elwood, Vic

Magpie, Elster Creek, Elwood, Vic

Checking out the competition

Green’s Bush is exploding with activity at the moment with spring well under way and the weather finally warming up. A walk into the southern section and I found the little boss below tsking and telling me to move along. I had actually stopped to photograph some bracken in nice light when he popped into the scene and tried to pick a fight.

White-browed Scrubwren, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

White-browed Scrubwren, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Bracken, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Bracken, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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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