A Spring visitor at the Quarry

For the last few years in early spring, Moorooduc Quarry has hosted several Brush Bronzewing feeding along the grass and gravel paths. I will regularly see and hear the Common Bronzewing but the Brush is rarer and more often found further north into Central Victoria. They seem to be migrating and stopping off at Moorooduc Quarry for a few weeks for a feed and a rest. I don’t see them at other times of the year locally and I am not sure where they are headed. They may be just stopping by for a particular food source.  It is something I will have to research. I found this young male Bronzewing feeding on the path. He only flew up to a nearby perch and watched as I fiddled with my camera settings. Usually the bronzewings will take off at a decent rate and fly well into the forest before stopping. I was lucky to get a bit of good light to pick up his reflecting iridescent feathers.

Brush Bronzewing, Moorooduc Quarry, Moorooduc, Vic

Brush Bronzewing, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Brush Bronzewing, Moorooduc Quarry, Moorooduc, Vic

II

White-eared Honeyeater

While photographing the Tawny Frogmouth at Moorooduc Quarry, a White-eared Honeyeater flew in to see what I was up to. The honeyeaters dont sit still for very long so I clucked and clicked my tongue a bit while I adjusted and focussed my camera. It seemed to work for a few moments.

White-eared Honeyeater, Moorooduc Quarry, Moorooduc, Vic

White-eared Honeyeater, Moorooduc Quarry, Moorooduc, Vic

White-eared Honeyeater, Moorooduc Quarry, Moorooduc, Vic

II

Soaking up the morning sun…

On a walk up the track to the top of the Moorooduc Quarry I found a dozing Tawny Forgmouth on a low branch. He was quite relaxed until a group of walkers joined me and he stretched into his branch like pose and then eased back once they moved on.

Tawny Frogmouth, Moorooduc Quarry, Mount Eliza, Vic

II

III

IV

Bath time for a Great Egret

With the slow wilding of the local ex-golf course into an extensive wetlands and woodlands, more birds are spending time in the existing Elster Creek lagoons. One of the semi-regular visitors is the Great Egret below. The egret hunts along the creek during the day and in the evening flies to the larger lagoon for a quick bath and a preen.

Great Egret, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic

Bathtime

III

IV

V

VI

Stranger Danger

 

The tracks around Green’s Bush are full of nests, juveniles and adults frantically feeding their nestlings. The Eastern Yellow Robins are all along the circuit walk hunting within their territories and alerting their mates when an intruder walks along. The Robin has a number of alert calls and this one was making a piping call and keeping an eye on me as I walked underneath. I must have been near the nest as it did not fly to a lookout a bit further away as they usually would when I try to photograph them.

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park

ii

Varied Sittella

Over the last two years I have seen an increase in the numbers of Varied Sittellas moving in small family flocks. They may have been around much longer but they travel and feed fairly high in the tree canopy and sound very much like Striated Thornbills. It wasn’t until I stood still long enough to watch a mixed feeding flock that I discovered them. Now I see them quite often in a number of spots around the Greens Bush circuit. I read up about them recently and learned that they are quiet vocal in their feeding groups (and do sound different to Striated and Red-browed Finches, all of which are high pitched chirps) and that people often mistake them for treecreepers due to their feeding habit. I watch them working the trees with treecreepers and can see that they are a fair bit smaller, more stubby. What I have not noticed is that they spiral down branches and trunks while the treecreepers spiral upwards. I can’t believe I never noticed it and it probably means I am spending too much time ticking off birds for listings rather than observing. I also read that the males have longer bills and tend to feed lower in the trees while females stay higher. Time to get more observant.

Varied Sittella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

And back to Winter at Greens Bush

I recently clocked up 90 visits to one of my favourite sites to survey for birds and other native wildlife. I like to track the birds I find and record my sightings and locations on the ebird app, part of a worldwide database based at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the US.  Going over my sightings looking for more data on the Bassian Thrush, I found that I had clocked up 90 visits to the one site: Greens Bush in the Mornington Peninsula National Park.  On the last two visits I saw a total of 8 Bassians across several locations on the circuit , a good healthy and permanent population.

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