Tag Archives: Australian Pelican

Hanging with the Pelicans at Hasting Pier

On the weekend a mate and I drove down the Peninsula and visited the Coolart Wetlands and then onto Hasting Pier for lunch and a spot of birdwatching across the mudflat (as you do)…the tide was rising so many of the birds were pushed to the far bank and not easily seen. At the carpark there is a boat ramp and the fishermen clean the fish and feed the Pelicans. The Pelicans are so focussed on a free feed that they ignore everything else. They are quite a large bird and can be a challenge to photograph – but are very interesting with all the feathers, long bill, large eyes and throat pouch. I like Pelicans: big, confident and goofy on land  but majestic in the air.

Pelican, Hasting Harbour

Pelican, Hasting Harbour

Pelican, Hasting Harbour

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Pelican, Hasting Harbour

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Pelican, Hasting Harbour

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Pelican, Hasting Harbour

Pelicans waiting for the next fish scrap to be tossed

Pelican, Hasting Harbour

All mine….

Pelican, Hasting Harbour

Pelican, Hasting Harbour

 

Flight II

A recent visit to the Western Treatment Plant with the Port Phillip Birders produced a good day with many birds on display and good opportunities for taking flight images.

White Necked Heron

White Necked Heron, Weribee

Pelicans

Pelicans, Weribee

Great Egret,

Great Egret, Weribee

A Hunter’s Gaze

While looking for Tawny Frogmouths at Braeside Park recently, I spotted a Black Shouldered Kite at the top of a dead tree in one of the dried out lagoons. The Kite of course saw me immediately moving from the scrub out into the waist high grass and thistles towards the tree. I did not make eye contact as I moved slowly and just stopped a few times to take a few photos. In the end I was quite surprised at how close close I managed to get. I had to back up a bit so I could use my 400mm Lens. Every now and again he would look at me and then go back to gazing down, around and up. He never did spook and after I took my shots I turned around and went back through the thorns and thistles to the lakeside path. The Kite is a stunning bird and a very successful hunter of mice and other smaller birds and animals. Another of my top 10 birds.

Black Shouldered Kite

Black Shouldered Kite keeping an eye on me

Black Shouldered Kite

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Black Shouldered Kite

One of the smaller Raptors in Australia. It still has the large talons, sharp eyes and the hooked beak

Black Shouldered Kite

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Black Shouldered Kite

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Black Shouldered Kite

Black Shouldered Kite – his glance up told me that something was flying above me…

When I turned around and looked up I saw a half dozen large Australian Pelicans flying in a wingtip formation.

Pelicans

Australian Pelicans

Birds of the Bellarine

The second day of my Easter trip exploring the Bellarine Peninsula took me to several coastal parks and bushland reserves and while the number of birds were not large the photo opportunities to get closer to the regulars was quite good.

Black Wallaby, Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, Victoria 4 April 2015

Black Wallaby, Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, Victoria 4 April 2015 – feeding on new grass growth after a bush fire in the area.

Red Browed Finch, Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, Victoria 4 April 2015

The Lookout – Red Browed Finch, Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, Victoria 4 April 2015

Silvereye, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

Silvereye, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

Silvereye, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

A careful selection

Silvereye, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

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Silvereye, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

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Superb Fairy Wren, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

I just want to sing ! – Superb Fairy Wren, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

Welcome Swallow, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

Welcome Swallow, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

A squadron of Pelicans flew over me as I walked along the Point – there were 6 large birds flying in perfect formation gliding along the coast.

Australian Pelican, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

Australian Pelican, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

Australian Pelican, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

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Red Browed Finch, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

Red Browed Finch, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

Opposite my accommodation in Queescliff was a park overlooking the beach and the heads at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. In the park are some large mature trees planted by the early settlers of the area. The trees are stunning and beautifully shaped by pruning and the wind. The one below reminded me of a giant bonsai. I spent some time one evening in nice late afternoon light walking around it and using my wide angle lens trying to capture the feeling. I failed miserably – I never thought that taking a photos of trees would be so much harder than birds.

Conifer, Queenscliff,  Victoria 4 April 2015

Conifer, Queenscliff, Victoria 4 April 2015

Pine, Queenscliff,  Victoria 4 April 2015

Pine, Queenscliff, Victoria 4 April 2015

While I was staying at Queenscliff there was a full eclipse of the moon that lasted for several hours and finished with a rare blood moon. While I did not stay up for the full blood moon (too cold and I had an early start the next day), I did get a few early eclipse shots trying out various settings. I got very few clear shots due to clouds  but was happy enough with the one below.

Lunar Eclipse, Queenscliff,  Victoria 4 April 2015

Lunar Eclipse, Queenscliff, Victoria 4 April 2015

Kororoit Creek: A waterway claimed by many…

I  explored a new area last week. The Kororiot Creek mouth opens out into Port Phillip Bay in Williamstown next to the Jawbone reserve.  To access the area you need to park at either the sports ground or next to one of the many fishing club shacks that line the Creek mouth on one side. As the nearby areas gentrify this part is fighting to stay the way it has always been – a working class fishing area/village. On the opposite side is a bank of salt marsh vegetation while on the village side it is Banksia trees and attempts at regeneration of creek side flora including White Mangroves. It is a remnant of the tidal wetland that ran right across this coastal area.

Further up the creek is the Mobile Oil Refinery Storage tanks. Considering the local birdlife including many migratory waders, it is surprising that such heavy can co-exist successfully with the wetland.

Great Egret,

Great Egret

Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow

Little Black Cormorants,

Little Black Cormorants – I watched these Cormorants hunt as a pack. There were 6 in the group working closely together.

Black Swan P81

Black Swan P81 – I reported the swan through the myswan link . See Jawbone link above for more details on tagged swan research. 

Pelican

Pelican

Pelican II

Pelican II

New Holland Honeyeater

New Holland Honeyeater

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant

Hastings Harbour Mudflats: Flames, Wrecks and Pelicans

Coming back from spending some time at the family farm, I stopped at Hastings to have a look at the mudflats at low tide. Hastings has a popular fishing harbour as well as a mixed industry site. A good amount of work has been done to turn it into a seaside town with a growing tourism market. There is a nice tree lined walk right along the edge of the mudflats and mangroves. Pelican Pier has a cafe with great views of the harbour. I have not been there for a long time and I was surprised to find that it is a pretty interesting place with a lot of scope for bird and general photography. There is a pier with lots of fishermen in action at low tide, many birds (Ibis, Egrets, Spoonbills, Swans & Pelicans) out on the mudflats that move up closer to the shore when the tide comes in and at least a dozen Pelicans hanging around looking for a free feed from the fishermen as they fillet and clean their catch.

Hasting Harbour

Hastings Harbour – heavy industry amongst the mangroves and Great Egrets

Hasting Harbour

An old fishing boat wreck out on the mudflat island. I did not notice the hovercraft in the background until I processed the image.

Pied Cormorant

Pied Cormorant – it took a bit effort to get the fish down. The cormorant kept juggling the fish trying to get it down head first. He got it in the end….

Pacific Gull

Pacific Gull

Pacific and Silver Gulls

Silver vs Pacific Gull – to see the two together gives you an idea of the size difference – the Pacific Gull is a big bird.

Pelican

Pelican – stretching and drying, and maybe telling stories about the one that got away….

Pelican

Pelican – everything gets a stretch.

Pelican

Pelican – with a long neck and bill you can pretty much reach anywhere….

Pelican

Pelican in the mangroves

The pelicans did not mind me too much as I got in close while they waddled in to the fish cleaning tables. I took a number of close shots of their feathers, eyes and beak throat pouch skin

Pelican

Pelican close-up

Ricketts Point – Pelican Bandits

Along Beach Rd at Beaumaris is a rocky platform that becomes exposed at low tide and is a favourite roosting spot for Silver Gulls, Crested Terns, Cormorants, Swans and Pelicans. Many other birds also stop by at times but these seem to be the main ones that are often here.

I always check the platform as I drive past and yesterday I noticed that it was visible with quite a few birds around. The carpark is only several meters from the edge of the rocks and screened by low salt bush so it is easy to get your gear ready and walk slowly onto the platform without spooking the birds. They are generally used to people and just move a bit further away. The best time to go is weekdays as the weekend and good warm weather guarantees lots of people visiting the area.

Ricketts Point, Beaumaris

Ricketts Point, Beaumaris – at the end of my visit, two skin divers set up their hunting gear at the point tower and finally spooked the birds.

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant drying off

Little Pied Cormorant II

Little Pied Cormorant II – dry and fluffed up after preening

Pelican

Australian Pelican – the short and tall of it…a few of the pelicans seemed to favour the upright resting position – I have not seen this before.

Pelican

Pelican stretching or yawning

Pelican

Pelican – cooling down or drying off a bit

Tagged Crested Tern

Tagged Crested Tern – many of the Crested Terns on the rocks were tagged

Tagged Crested Tern

Tagged Adult Crested Tern

Pacific Gulls

Pacific Gulls – a grey/brown juvenile (1st year)  and a Gull with almost adult plumage. It can take several years to reach full adult plumage.

Fisherman in their boat off Ricketts Point

Fishermen in their boat off Ricketts Point

Pacific Gull

Pacific Gull

The Pelicans developed an intense interest off shore and all started to watch the 1st year Pacific Gull move towards the fishing boat. One of the fishermen threw some bait or a chunk of fish to the Gull which attempted to bring it back to the rocks to consume. Several of the pelicans took off with a just a few flaps and immediately hounded the Gull in the air until it dropped the prize and one of the pelicans dived down and retrieved it. I have not seen this type of behaviour before –  it is usually the other way round  – maybe they knew the Gull was young and took advantage.

Pelican

Pelicans with a sudden offshore interest.

Pelican

Pelican taking off with a just a few beats of its wings

Pelican

Pelican – off to harass the Gull.