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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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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