Category Archives: Bird Behaviour

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

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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

More hungry than timid

On recent walks around Greens Bush I have noticed quite a few juveniles learning the ropes from their parents. I found several Crimson Rosellas feeding in this flowering bush. The parents flew off but two juveniles stayed and kept feeding not overly concerned by me at all. This species in the wild is usually quite timid. It is a good time of year for getting closer to the forest birds and taking photos.

Juvenile Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Juvenile Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Tiny occupants

While walking with a friend in Greens Bush recently I found two new Grey Fantail nests, the first empty but the second was occupied by two tiny Fantails. The small goblet shaped nest made of strips of bark, grass and spiderweb has an opening only 4cm wide and 3.5cm deep. (I measured an empty nest). While we watched the nest for a while one of the parents would come back every few minutes with a snack for one of the chicks.

I returned the following week hoping the light would be better but found an empty nest. Standing there looking for any signs I eventually found the chicks above me in the dense foliage. As a parent came near the pair would make high pitched begging chirps but would quickly go quiet when the parent left. It took a while to track the pair back to the chirps through the leaves and branches.

grey fantail chicks in nest, greens bush, mornington peninsula national park, vic

Grey fantail chicks in nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

grey fantail chicks in nest, greens bush, mornington peninsula national park, vic

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grey fantail nest, greens bush, mornington peninsula national park, vic

Grey fantail nest.

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

VII

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

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