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 home
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
Making his move…
Almost got it…
ohh pretty, Lotus Flower
a big splash…and one remained, oblivious to all the action…
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
well suited for a life above ground, fast, wary and camouflaged
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 enjoying a seed cone from a Conifer…
Watching us watch him…
Looking skyward when the alarm call goes out from a different bird species…
Eastern Long necked turtle, Elster Creek, Victoria
Posted in Animal, Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Behaviour, Bird Photography, Eastern Long Necked Turtle, Elster Creek, Little Corella, Nature Photography, Photography, Victoria
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
Demon eyed Ring Tailed Possum
Brush Tailed Possum, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria
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
Camping at Halls Gap, in the Grampians, I got up early one morning to check out the locals birds. Walking across the road to some paddocks near a few houses I watched several deer resting after a nights feeding. Apparently there are 6 species of deer in the forests and associated farmland in Victoria and they number in the tens of thousands. It seems incredible that I have only seen them a few times over the years. I spend so much time in the forests and yet I never see them. There is still so much to be aware of when walking around. As soon as the general campground started to wake up these two quietly wandered back up the slopes and into the forest.
Deer, Halls Gap, Grampians, Victoria