It took 5 trips to Mallacoota but I finally found an Eastern Reef Egret, also called the Pacific Reef Heron. It is found along the east coast of Australia with its southern range ending around Mallacoota. While not rare along the east coast it has been my hoodoo bird. On my last trip in December I found one fishing on the rocks at Bastion Point and spent some time watching and photographing it. I took probably 400 photos and followed it along the exposed reef. It seemed comfortable with me sitting nearby and kept an exact flush distance. It briefly moved to the outer rocks when a few off leash dogs ran along the beach but came back closer once the dogs moved on. I was happy that I had finally found my Reef Heron. Two days later I found it again with its partner – or possibly two different birds, at Secret Beach along the coast.
Eastern Reef Egret, Bastion Point, Mallacoota, Vic
Hopping from rock to rock looking for prey
Occasionally getting swamped by waves
With the prize
At Secret Beach, I found two Reef Egrets resting and preening at high tide.
Eastern Reef Egrets, Secret Beach, Mallacoota, Vic
While photographing the two Egrets I moved as close as I could without making them nervous. Moving a little closer I straddled two rock outcrops above a small inlet and tried to balance. I got quite wet when a wave came in and broke over the front rock.
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bastion Point, Bird Photography, Eastern Reef Egret, Lifer, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Pacific Reef Heron, Photography, Victoria
While staying in Mallacoota I visit Bastion Point several times a day at various tides looking for the birds that usually stop by this part of the coast. On most visits I came across a flock of Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos. I think it was an extended family as there were several adults and a bunch of juveniles still begging for food. The sound young cockatoos make when begging would make anyone give them food just to shut them up. On this occasion the adults were quite agitated while the younger birds played around, looking about I found a young whistling kite on a tree branch nearby watching them all intently.
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Bastion Point, Mallacoota, Vic
Preening and teasing each other
Immature Whistling Kite watching the Black-cockatoos
A bright male Superb Fairy-wren on lookout.
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bastion Point, Bird Photography, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Photography, Superb Fairy Wren, Victoria, Whistling Kite, Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo
Ok, well beetles have become a pain in my cloaka, it took me several hours to search various insect sites and databases looking for the name of this quite large weevil beetle. I learnt many new things about beetles that I was not really looking for example: weevils are the largest grouping of beetles.
I found this rather large beetle in the sand between the sandstone outcrops of Bastion Point in Mallacoota. It was at least an inch long and not overly worried by me point my long lens within a few feet of it. The closest I got to id’ing it was finding the Leptopius genus in the weevil family. Birds are so much easier to ID compared to all the insects out there. As the tide dropped many crabs started to scurry about and duck into cover as I discovered them. The most common one was the Purple Sand Crab officially know as the Swift-footed Crab with a latin name of Leptograpsus variegatus. Tonight as I was writing this post, I started to look into the latin meaning for lepto and why the coincidence of finding two sand creatures with similar latin names. I stopped as I was heading down another rabbit hole and I thought I would rather watch a bit of Netflix and relax.
Genus Leptopius (sp), Bastion Point, Mallacoota, Vic
Swift-footed Crab, Bastion Point, Mallacoota, Vic
Posted in Victoria
Tagged Australia, Bastion Point, Leptograpsus variegatus, Leptopius, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Photography, Purple Sand Crab, Swift-footed Crab, Victoria, Weevils
I visit Bastion Point each year to try and find the elusive Reef Egret. It has eluded me on 5 visits to Mallacoota. Many other birders seem to find and photograph the egret but I just keep missing it. I loop around the usual coastal spots where it likes to hunt in the rocks pools at the change of tides. While I miss the Egret I do quite often come across the Sooty Oystercatcher, a nice sized wader with all black plumage, bright orange/red eyes and bill and thick pink legs. The Pied Oystercatcher seems much more common than the Sooty and Bastion Point is a good location to find and photograph it (while waiting for my hoodoo bird to turn up)
While the Pied hunts across inlets, bays and waterways and is often seen in large numbers, the Sooty Oystercatcher prefers ocean facing rocky outcrops where it pries off molluscs from the rocks and catches small crustaceans wading in shallow rock pools. I often find them in pairs even in non-breeding season. I am always keen to try and find and photograph the Sooty.
Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastion Point, Mallacoota
The ocean beach side of Bastion Point, Mallacoota
Sooty Oystercatcher feeling for prey in a rock pool
A pair of Sooty Oystercatchers
Pied Oystercatcher, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota