Category Archives: Animal

Something odd in the paddocks

While driving along one of the forest roads in the Muckleford State Forest in Newstead, I drove along the edge of one of the homestead paddocks and noticed a very odd sheep amongst the flock.

Sheep, Newstead, Victoria

Strange sheep of the Muckleford Forest

Old homestead, Newstead, Victoria

An old homestead

Pickpocket Diggings and the Antechinus

When I visit Newstead, I like to drop by Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve in Yandooit. One of the spots in the Reserve is called Pickpocket Diggings. It is an old gold mining area with many mullock heaps. It is a popular area for gold detecting enthusiasts. On most occasions I seem to be able to find Yellow-footed Antechinus, a carnivorous marsupial mouse,  hopping across the path to trees in broad daylight. They dont seem to be bothered by people that much and I got pretty close. I watched this tiny hunter looking  for insects at the base of a tree and when it caught something it ran back to its home in an old tree stump. The males only live less than a year and die out in a super charged breeding frenzy while the females live on to raise their pups.

Yellow-footed Antechinus, Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, Sandon, Vic

Yellow-footed Antechinus, Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, Sandon, Vic

Yellow-footed Antechinus, Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, Sandon, Vic

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Yellow-footed Antechinus home, Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, Sandon, Vic

Yellow-footed Antechinus home

There can only be ONE!

At the Wilson Botanic Park last week, we noticed that there were dozens of turtles in the water and on the rocks sunning themselves. I watched as a pair fought it out for king of the rock…in slow motion…

Long necked Turtles, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria, 30 Oct 2016

Long necked Turtles, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria

Long necked Turtles, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria, 30 Oct 2016

Making his move…

Long necked Turtles, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria, 30 Oct 2016

Almost got it…

Lotus Flower Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria, 30 Oct 2016

ohh pretty, Lotus Flower 

Long necked Turtles, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria, 30 Oct 2016

a big splash…and one remained, oblivious to all the action…

Hare of the T-section

I don’t often see Hares in the wild. I have seen two now at Werribee  and both were a surprise…once when it came down a dirt track towards the car I thought it was a fox, then a small dog but then it raised its ears and I saw it was a hare.

The hare below was just sitting and enjoying a bit of sun on a cold winters day. When the birds alert went up that a raptor was cruising by it seemed to recognise the call and became much more aware and started to look up and around.

I had to check Wiki to learn more about it: Long-eared, and long limbed, Hares are fast runners, typically living solitarily or in pairs. Hare species are native to Africa, Eurasia, North America, and the Japanese archipelago. Hares do not bear their young below ground in a burrow as do rabbits, but rather in a shallow depression or flattened nest of grass called a form. Young hares are adapted to the lack of physical protection, compared to a burrow, by being born fully furred and with eyes open. They are able to fend for themselves soon after birth where rabbits are born blind and hairless.

Hares are swift animals: The introduced hare found in Australia (Lepus europaeus) can run up to 56 km/h and can leap up to 3 m (10 ft) at a time.

During a spring frenzy, hares can be seen chasing one another and “boxing”, one hare striking another with its paws (probably the origin of the term “mad as a March hare”). For a long time, this had been thought to be male competition, but closer observation has revealed it is usually a female hitting a male to prevent copulation.

Hare, Western Treatment Plant, T-section, Werribee

Hare, Western Treatment Plant, T-section, Werribee

Hare, Western Treatment Plant, T-section, Werribee

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Hare, Western Treatment Plant, T-section, Werribee

well suited for a life above ground, fast, wary and camouflaged

Alert but not alarmed…

On the weekend I met up with my local “gang” of birders and we wandered up  Elster Creek to the Golf Course lake and had a look around…besides finding a turtle (my first Eastern Long Necked), we also watched the feeding antics of the local Little Corellas feeding on the ripe seed cones of a tall skinny conifer. They use their feet like we would use our hands. I noticed that when the Noisy Miners (a local, aggressive Honeyeater) screeched out their alarm calls the Corellas stopped feeding and quickly looked skyward but did not seem overly concerned (did the alert suggest a certain generally non-threatening predator?)…I have seen a number of bird species do this…I am convinced there is a common bird language.

Little Corella, Elster Creek, Victoria

Little Corella enjoying a seed cone from a Conifer…

Little Corella, Elster Creek, Victoria

Watching us watch him…

Little Corella, Elster Creek, Victoria

Looking skyward when the alarm call goes out from a different bird species…

Eastern Long necked turtle, Elster Creek, Victoria

Eastern Long necked turtle, Elster Creek, Victoria

Exploring Elster Creek at night

One night a few weeks ago I wandered along the local creek looking for Tawny Frogmouths and Boobook Owls. I have been spending more time lately improving my night and flash photography with my Canon Speedlite Flash units. To get close enough and take a picture of an owl at night I need to become much better at getting into position and using the flash (let alone actually finding the owls). Along the creek to the golf course where the owls had been spotted were many possums – the smaller Ring Tailed and larger Brush Tailed. Using a red coloured flash light and walking quietly I was able to get quite close to the possums and practice my focussing and shooting using the flash. I got mixed results and my owl shots (I actually found a Boobook on a fence at the lake) were terrible…hopefully I will get a second chance…meanwhile I will keep practicing on the local possums…

Ring Tailed Possum, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

Ring Tailed Possum, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

Ring Tailed Possum, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

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Ring Tailed Possum, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

Demon eyed Ring Tailed Possum

Brush Tailed Possum, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

Brush Tailed Possum, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

Tiger snake of the Great South West Walk

While walking part of the Great South West Walk in the Lower Glenelg National Park I came across a Tiger snake sunning itself in the afternoon sun.  I moved to the side of the track and photographed it as it got closer to my camera. It seemed curious about the lens. A good way to not fear a snake is to try and photograph it (safely)…well after the yelp of fright from initial contact… they are harder to photograph than birds…while moving much slower, they are less visible and less common to find.

Tiger Snake, Great South West Walk, Lower Glenelg National Park, Victoria

Tiger Snake, Great South West Walk, Lower Glenelg National Park, Victoria

Tiger Snake, Great South West Walk, Lower Glenelg National Park, Victoria

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Tiger Snake, Great South West Walk, Lower Glenelg National Park, Victoria

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