Category Archives: Bird Behaviour

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

Building a picture of territories

I have found several spots now at Greens Bush where I am sure that Bassians have set up feeding and nesting territories. Besides looking for the right sort of terrain and vegetation I am also on the lookout for fresh droppings. When watching the birds feed and pick up some good size morsels they seem to process the previously taken food and excrete a bright white splash. Based on the  amount of white droppings I am finding in an area I can be fairly certain that I have found another Bassian feeding area. The shots of the two birds below were taken in different parts of the forest walk that I have come to expect to see Bassians.

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

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

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

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

III

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

IV

Yet to learn fear

There are quite a few juveniles birds along the Greens Bush Baldry circuit. It has been a fairly good breeding season and I am seeing many young birds from a few locally common species….Grey Fantails, Red-browed Finches, Brown Thornbills, White-browed Scrubwrens and Bassian Thrush. The one pictured below was feeding on the track where I often find them. Being a young bird it has yet to learn what to fear and flew up to a nearby branch and tried to figure out what I was up to.

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

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

Shake your tail feathers…

A brightly coloured Crimson Rosella flew down to a low branch next to the track I was walking along at Green’s Bush recently and started to preen. It finished with a vigorous  shake of his tail feathers. It was all over in about 10 seconds and he flew off. I was lucky enough to get off a few quick action shots during the waggle.

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

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Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

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Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

IV

A home of grass and spider webs…

Taking a long slow walk around the Baldry Circuit at Green’s Bush, I am still finding many birds hard at work building nests and feeding young. Some of the early starters like the Pardalotes, Rosellas and the Eastern Yellow Robins are just about done with many new juveniles now flitting amongst the branches waiting for a free feed from their parents. Another group are just starting their breeding duties. A pair of busy Grey Fantails were flying in and out of the lower branches of an Acacia. The material they were collecting was a mix of finely shredded dried grass and spider webs interwoven into a small goblet shape that the Fantail could barely sit in. A fantastic little structure fit for purpose for just a few months and then will disappear.

Grey Fantail, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Grey Fantail building a nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Grey Fantail, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

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Grey Fantail, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

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Grey Fantail, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

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Grey Fantail, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Off for more spider-web

Further around the track I found another Eastern Yellow Robin’s nest that appeared to be done for the season. It was empty inside and I waited for a while nearby to see if any Robins visited but none appeared. It is also made up of finally stripped bark and spider webs as well as decorated with bits of moss and lichen – great camouflage. The nest was in plain sight (if you could recognise it) next to the the path in a low prickly bush.

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Murder mystery at Moorooduc

Its not everyday that you stumble onto a fight to the death between birds. I have seen many squabbles between ducks, coots and honeyeaters and of course one sided battles between birds of prey and their victims. But I have not seen a fight to the death between small beautiful songbirds.

I often hear Spotted Pardalotes in the various forests that I explore.  I even get the occasional visitor in my inner city suburb. They have a distinctive call and I more often record them in my logs as heard rather than seen. During spring when they are building their nesting burrows and attending eggs and chicks they become much more visible at the lower levels of the forest. I have a good spot at Moorooduc Quarry  where I can find, observe and photograph the Pardalotes. On a recent visit I walked along my regular burrow track and found a two male pardalotes fighting on the ground. I couldn’t tell which one was the intruder or the burrow owner. The fight resulted in the death of one of them and the other continued to attack until I removed the pardalote when the victor had flown to a nearby branch. I wanted to check the dead bird for the injuries. There was no blood or obvious wounds except both eyes were missing. Once I removed the dead male pardalote and stood back I waited to see whether the other would return – I was still trying to figure who owned the burrow. Probably 5 min later the male returned to the area with a female closely behind. They moved around the area and finally the female ducked into the burrow. My guess is that the victor was the intruder and he brought his mate to inspect this prime position. I had no idea that this beautiful tiny bird had such ferocious fights to the death.

Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Spotted Pardalote battle

Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

VI

Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

VII

Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

The victor looking at me like I was next on his hit list…

Pardalote nest, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Pardalote nest burrow

Pardalote nest track, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Pardalote nest track, Moorooduc Quarry Reserve, Mt Eliza, Vic