Tag Archives: Australia

Soaking up the morning sun…

On a walk up the track to the top of the Moorooduc Quarry I found a dozing Tawny Forgmouth on a low branch. He was quite relaxed until a group of walkers joined me and he stretched into his branch like pose and then eased back once they moved on.

Tawny Frogmouth, Moorooduc Quarry, Mount Eliza, Vic

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Bath time for a Great Egret

With the slow wilding of the local ex-golf course into an extensive wetlands and woodlands, more birds are spending time in the existing Elster Creek lagoons. One of the semi-regular visitors is the Great Egret below. The egret hunts along the creek during the day and in the evening flies to the larger lagoon for a quick bath and a preen.

Great Egret, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic

Bathtime

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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

And back to Winter at Greens Bush

I recently clocked up 90 visits to one of my favourite sites to survey for birds and other native wildlife. I like to track the birds I find and record my sightings and locations on the ebird app, part of a worldwide database based at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the US.  Going over my sightings looking for more data on the Bassian Thrush, I found that I had clocked up 90 visits to the one site: Greens Bush in the Mornington Peninsula National Park.  On the last two visits I saw a total of 8 Bassians across several locations on the circuit , a good healthy and permanent population.

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

Boobooks in the canopy

Some friends who live on a lovely property that backs onto the National Park that I visit most weekends gave me a tip that there was a family of Boobook Owls roosting in a dense stand of Blackwoods near their property. I found the owls and spent some time trying to find an angle through the branches and up into the canopy. It was very tricky shooting with the high sun and bright sky. The juveniles were quite curious about my antics and watched me as a I watched them.

Southern Boobook, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Southern Boobook, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Southern Boobook, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Southern Boobook, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Southern Boobook family, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Southern Boobook family

Southern Boobook family, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Southern Boobook family, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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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.