Tag Archives: Antechinus

I knew they had to be there somewhere…

Greens Bush is a great habitat for many bird and animal species and I am building a good list of birds but only a few mammals: Swamp Wallaby, Grey Kangaroo and a lone koala. I felt sure that there would be Antechinus (small marsupial hunter) somewhere in the National Park and it took 5 years to finally see four in one day in a small section of the forest in mid-summer. The pair below were running and chasing each other up the trunk of an old tree and along a dead branch. At one point the larger of the two (female?) carried up small branches/grasses in its mouth to what I assume to be a nest. The female can live several years while the male does not live past his first breeding season having mated until organ failure. Watching the energy of these two chase and wrestling up the tree trunk I can see how it might not end well for the male.

Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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The Robins and the Owl

There is a walk along the inlet from Captain Stevenson’s Lookout around the coast to Bastion Point. It runs along the edge of the camp grounds through tall banksia trees and coastal scrub and into a Pittosporum forest. The track leads on to the new Bastion Point boat ramp facility and the nearby swimming beaches now protected by the new sea wall. I met a couple who were going for stroll along the path who said that a large Caspian tern was fishing with the Silver Gulls in the shallows at the beach. Not having photographed a Caspian Tern before I headed down to find and hopefully photograph the tern. While walking through one of the deeper darker patches of Pittosporum Forest I came across a family of Rose Robins in quite a fluster. Several pink chested males and a number of females and juveniles seemed to flying back and forth across the path and into various low trees and bushes. I stopped to watch for a while and take a few photographs of these elusive tiny birds and noticed a pile of feathers at my feet. It took me a few moments to figure out what they were from – a juvenile Kookaburra. I looked straight up and into the eyes of a large Powerful Owl. This type of Owl prefers a daytime roost in trees located in cool, dark forest gullies. If it makes a kill during the night it hangs onto the kill all day and feeds at the start of the following night. Hanging from the Owl’s talons was the previous night’s kill.

Rose Robin, Pittosporum Walk, Mallacoota

Rose Robin, Pittosporum Walk, Mallacoota

Rose Robin, Pittosporum Walk, Mallacoota

Rose Robin, Pittosporum Walk, Mallacoota

Powerful Owl, Pittosporum Walk, Mallacoota

Powerful Owl, Pittosporum Walk, Mallacoota

After taking a few shots of the Owl I walked down to the beach and watched the Caspian Tern dive into the water and catch a good sized bait fish and fly off across the inlet. That left me with the hunting Silver Gulls to photograph. It was a nice change to watch them hunting for fish rather than begging for potato fries and digging through rubbish.

Silver Gull, Bastion Point, Mallacoota

Silver Gull, Bastion Point, Mallacoota

Silver Gull, Bastion Point, Mallacoota

looking for bait fish in the shallows

Silver Gull, Bastion Point, Mallacoota

whoops, cut that a bit fine

Silver Gull, Bastion Point, Mallacoota

shaking off the water…

Silver Gull, Bastion Point, Mallacoota

finally scored a fish…

I found another Antechinus in the forest but I am not sure what sort it is, I think a Brown Antechinus but I will have to research it…going by the girth I am guessing that this is a pregnant female. By this time of year the males have mostly died off after a vigorous mating season.

Antechinus, Pittosporum Walk, Mallacoota

Antechinus, Pittosporum Walk, Mallacoota

Frogmouth, Whipbirds and a Pure White Raptor

Whenever I visit Mallacoota I try to get to the Double Creek area several times a day. There is always a good variety of bird species (local and migrating through) and several vegetation types to explore from creek side vegetation, wetlands, woodlands, rain-forest and ridge-lines with tall forests. It is a compact site with four paths to wander down.

Along one of the creek sides I found a pair of Leaden Flycatchers singing away declaring their territory while above I spotted a white morph Grey Goshawk. The white/grey Goshawk is the only pure white raptor in the world. I knew that a raptor was cruising above by the danger calls of all the nearby birds. The bird alarm gave me just enough time to get the camera pointed skywards and set for a bright sky. The Goshawk cruised just above the trees.

Male Leaden Flycatcher, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Male Leaden Flycatcher, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Female Leaden Flycatcher, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Female Leaden Flycatcher

Grey Goshawk, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoot

Grey Goshawk (white Morph), Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

I found the Tawny Frogmouth when I stopped at the small carpark to have some lunch and was staring into the trees when I noticed someone staring back….

Tawny Frogmouth, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Tawny Frogmouth, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

White Browed Scrubwren Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

White Browed Scrubwren Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

White Browed Scrubwren Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

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Lewin's Honeyeater, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Lewin’s Honeyeater, trying to stay cool along the creek on a very hot day

Eastern Whipbird, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Eastern Whipbird working hard to feed two chicks that were following closely

As I watched the Whipbirds move around the undergrowth I spotted the little Antechinus hunting. It is a fearless tiny marsupial hunter, and given its mouselike size I am always surprised to see them out and about hunting in daylight.

Antechinus, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Antechinus, I have not worked out the local species yet  – could be Shy, Brown or Swamp.