Through spring and summer I regularly hear Fan-tailed Cuckoos calling: described as a mournful descending trill. Along one of the paths to the Moorooduc quarry a pair flew down to lower branches and started calling.
In the background you can also hear a Striated Pardalote, a Grey Fantail and a Grey Shrikethrush.
I dont often get a chance to photograph these shy birds as they move through the upper and mid tree canopy looking for hairy caterpillars and other insects.
Walking along one of the tracks around the Moorooduc Quarry I heard the distinctive call of the Mistletoebird along with the alarm call of a Superb-fairy wren. Usually the fairy-wrens stay low, nearer the ground, but a female wren was calling quite loudly as a Mistletoebird helped itself to the fruit of a Cherry Ballart tree. The Mistletoebird as its name suggests has a strong relationship with various native mistletoes (Box, Drooping and Creeping) and helps spread the seed onto other trees via a very fast and sticky digestive process. I hadn’t seen one feeding in a Cherry Ballart before. The ballart is another form of parasitic plant that uses the roots of other trees to gain its nutrients rather than the branches.
Mistletoebird, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic
Mistletoebird has a snack while a Superb Fairy-wren frowns at the intrusion.
I often stroll along the Elster Creek and up into the old golf course. I have started to take photos of the transition from a 9 hole public golf course to a wetlands. So far it is still much the same with a few trees removed and the grass growing longer. I will post up some images once things start to happen. New layout designs should be issued in March.
The evening is a great time for good light and finding fairly relaxed birds preening and having a last feed.
A flock of Gang-gang Cockatoos have been seen throughout the local suburbs, visiting parks and looking for food. They are usually found around inland mountain forests not along bayside beach suburbs. While walking my dog, I found four in a tall gum tree along the creek behind my house. They were squabbling with the local Magpies and Currawongs. I rushed home to get my camera gear to see if I could get a few shots of my first local sighting and only my third sighting in the last 10 years. The flock had moved on but I did find a lone female Gang-gang feeding on green seed pods in the lower branch of a large tree at the other side of the old golf course. I watched for a while as she ate green seeds and then napped briefly, roused and ate more. After 30 mins or so the other members of her flock flew along the creek calling, she joined them and they headed further down the coast. I have not seen them since.
Gang-gang Cockatoo, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic
For the last few years in early spring, Moorooduc Quarry has hosted several Brush Bronzewing feeding along the grass and gravel paths. I will regularly see and hear the Common Bronzewing but the Brush is rarer and more often found further north into Central Victoria. They seem to be migrating and stopping off at Moorooduc Quarry for a few weeks for a feed and a rest. I don’t see them at other times of the year locally and I am not sure where they are headed. They may be just stopping by for a particular food source. It is something I will have to research. I found this young male Bronzewing feeding on the path. He only flew up to a nearby perch and watched as I fiddled with my camera settings. Usually the bronzewings will take off at a decent rate and fly well into the forest before stopping. I was lucky to get a bit of good light to pick up his reflecting iridescent feathers.
While photographing the Tawny Frogmouth at Moorooduc Quarry, a White-eared Honeyeater flew in to see what I was up to. The honeyeaters dont sit still for very long so I clucked and clicked my tongue a bit while I adjusted and focussed my camera. It seemed to work for a few moments.