Churchill National Park Fairywrens.

A friend took me to Churchill National Park a while back. I have been looking for new sites around the greater Melbourne with good photo opportunities. It was a the first time I had visited this site and it was pretty good. There are plenty of tracks and I found good range of forest bird species and a colony of Superb Fairywrens including this nicely coloured male below.

Male Superb Fairy-wren, Chrurchill National Park, Vic

Male Superb Fairywren, Churchill National Park, Vic

A challenging ID

Below is another of the young birds I have been finding while walking around Greens Bush down the Mornington Peninsula. To ID this one took some effort and fooled me a bit due to its rufous colouring – I was thinking Rufous Fantail or Rufous Whistler, or maybe something exotic. It was definitely a juvenile as it moved around a nearby bush in a deep rainforest glade along the track. It was quite curious and I tried to keep it interested by phishing and psstting so I could take a few images to check out later…any ideas? The previous juvenile to fool me was a young Eastern Yellow Robin.

Juvenile Golden Whistler, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Mystery Bird, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Juvenile Golden Whistler, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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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

Hunters of Lake Tutchewop

On the first visit to Lake Tutchewop on my two day trip into Northern Victoria, we failed to find the Orange Chats but we did find quite a few shore birds along the drying beach and mudflats. Watching them with keen eyes from the nearest higher vantage points were a pair of Brown Falcons.

Brown Falcon, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic

Brown Falcon, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic

Brown Falcon, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic

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Brown Falcon, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic

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Brown Falcon, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic

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On the look out

Looking for breakfast…

Laughing Kookaburra, Rotunda Reserve, Newstead, Vic

Laughing Kookaburra, Rotunda Reserve, Newstead, Vic

The Lake Tutchewop Twitch

A friend and I took off early one morning after Christmas for a 2 day birding trip north to look for several lifers and to stock up on a few species not seen this year. At Lake Tutchewop, the site of an 2015 twitch for the Long Billed Dowitcher, we were looking for Orange and Scarlet Chats as well as White winged Fairy-Wrens in summer breeding plumage. It is a fairly barren place, hot, dry and windy in summer and cold, wet, windy and very muddy in winter. We actually visited twice over the 2 days, once on the way up and a return visit on the way home. It was on the second trip that we found the Orange Chats. A small, timid, bright orange bird feeding on insects and seeds amongst the low saltbushes along several tracks and fence-lines. I saw at first dozens of White-fronted Chats and slowly walked through the feeding birds trying to get closer – the White Chats have a decent flush zone and getting a nice clear photo is hard. While standing still for a while to trying pretend I was just a tree and not a threat to them, a bright orange bird popped into view. Trying to stay calm and not prematurely start my victory dance I signalled for John, back near the cars,  to come over and share in the view. We stayed an hour and saw many Chats – there must have been at least 30 Orange Chats and many more White-fronted. While the closest photos taken were shooting into the sun, by walking slowly and keeping low I managed to get a few decent shots and quite a few observations. The Orange Chat took my Aussie Lifers to 349 and my Vic Ticks to 347.

Orange Chat, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic, 30 Dec 2017

Orange Chat, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic

Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic,

Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic,

Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic,

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White Fronted Chat, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic, 30 Dec 2017

White Fronted Chat, Lake Tutchewop

Orange Chats, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic

Mixed Chats

Orange Chat, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic, 30 Dec 2017

Orange Chat, Lake Tutchewop

Orange Chat, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic, 30 Dec 2017

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Orange Chat, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic, 30 Dec 2017

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Orange Chat, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic, 30 Dec 2017

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Spring’s endless demand

Along the Elwood foreshore behind the life saving and fishing clubs is a small grove of mature Banksia trees as well as wattles, sheoaks and acacia bushes and trees. In spring it is a good spot to find Little and Red Wattlebirds attending their young. The Red Wattlebird below was bringing back small insects to its pair of young.  The begging was incessant and is what drew me to the tree from the other side of the picnic ground. It was going to take many visits and small flies to make the chicks happy…

Red Wattlebird, Elwood beach foreshore, Elwood

Red Wattlebird, Elwood beach foreshore, Elwood

Red Wattlebird, Elwood beach foreshore, Elwood

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Red Wattlebird, Elwood beach foreshore, Elwood

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