There has been a lot of media lately about local magpies diving bombing posties and kids going to school. A friend even had a nasty scratch on her face from an attack. I have lived in my area for many years and have never been bombed by the local maggies. I have read that they are very territorial but can actually recognise human faces in their territories, up to 25 distinct people. To play it safe when I walk past a magpie in the streets around my house I take my hat off and give them a clear view of my face. I have done this since I read the article on facial recognition. I reckon it works. I photographed this female (or juvenile, a mottled grey back indicates a female or juvenile) while walking my dog yesterday. She gave me a good long look and then went back to searching for grubs and other tasty morsels in the grass below a pedestrian bridge over the creek behind my house.
Magpie, Elster Creek, Elwood, Vic
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Australian Magpie, Bird Behaviour, Bird Photography, Elster Creek, Elwood, magpie, Nature Photography, Photography, Victoria
Once I harvested as many olives as I could process from our little front yard Olive Grove in Rosebud I left the rest for the birds. Previously I had not noticed many birds feeding on the olives. This year a number of species have enjoyed the late season fruit. I have seen Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Little Corellas, Silvereyes and now a pair of Crimson Rosellas. I was packing the back of my car only a few feet away and these guys just ignored me. The fruit is very ripe and starting to shrivel so must be quite edible even with their raw bitter flavour.
I have read that most parrots/cockatoos are left handed. The fellow below was right handed, grabbing and eating the olives using his right foot. It was windy at times and he did very well to hang on and feed at the same time.
Crimson Rosella, Rosebud, Victoria, 30 July 2017
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Behaviour, Bird Photography, birds eating olives, Crimson Rosella, Nature Photography, Olives, Photography, Rosebud, Victoria
On the weekend I met up with my local “gang” of birders and we wandered up Elster Creek to the Golf Course lake and had a look around…besides finding a turtle (my first Eastern Long Necked), we also watched the feeding antics of the local Little Corellas feeding on the ripe seed cones of a tall skinny conifer. They use their feet like we would use our hands. I noticed that when the Noisy Miners (a local, aggressive Honeyeater) screeched out their alarm calls the Corellas stopped feeding and quickly looked skyward but did not seem overly concerned (did the alert suggest a certain generally non-threatening predator?)…I have seen a number of bird species do this…I am convinced there is a common bird language.
Little Corella enjoying a seed cone from a Conifer…
Watching us watch him…
Looking skyward when the alarm call goes out from a different bird species…
Eastern Long necked turtle, Elster Creek, Victoria
Posted in Animal, Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Behaviour, Bird Photography, Eastern Long Necked Turtle, Elster Creek, Little Corella, Nature Photography, Photography, Victoria
On an early morning walk around the Double Creek Nature Walk, near Mallacoota, I came across several birds having a dust bath and soaking in some sun. I watched Eastern Yellow Robins dust bathing followed by a spot of sun baking. It was a prime spot amongst the thick forest and the Robins were moved along by a pair of Lewin’s Honeyeater who spent a bit more time at the baking spot. Normally Lewin’s are a little hard to get near and photograph but as I was slow moving and crouched down they were happy to ignore me and just get on with soaking up the rays.
I have seen several bird species at different locations sun baking: magpies actually lying on their backs in sand on the edge of a golf sand bunker – I thought they were dead until I walked up to have a closer look….not sure who got the bigger fright. I have seen pigeons with a wing in the air lying on the ground and then the Robins and Lewin’s honeyeater at Double Creek. It is not fully understood why birds do this: part of feather maintenance, drying off after a bath (though I watched these birds have a dust bath and not use water), irritating feather mites to help find and remove them, just enjoying the sun on a cool morning. Whatever the reason it was interesting to watch and photograph.
Lewin’s Honeyeater Sun-baking, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota
Lewin’s Honeyeaters sun-baking
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Behaviour, Bird Photography, Double Creek Nature Reserve, Double Creek Nature Walk, Lewin's Honeyeater, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Photography, Sun-baking Behaviour, Victoria
Gypsy Point, on the Genoa River, north of Mallacoota, is a small quiet village visited by people interested in nature and those wanting to get away from it all. I visited a few times during my recent stay in Mallacoota. Not only is it a good location for Sea-eagles it is also well known for a variety of birds, mammals and reptiles. While photographing the Sea-eagles from the small cruise boat, we came across a tiny Azure Kingfisher – a stunning looking little ambush hunter that works its way along the water’s edge, diving from an over-hanging tree branch down into the shallow water and taking small fish, frogs and aquatic insects.
The Kingfisher photographed below was not overly bothered by the boat and kept hunting along the river’s edge while the Captain tried to ease up and allow me a closer view.
Azure Kingfisher, Genoa River, Gypsy Pt
Looking for prey along the water’s edge
The beautiful colours of the Azure Kingfisher
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Azure Kingfisher, Bird Behaviour, Bird Photography, Genoa River, Gypsy Point, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Photography, Victoria
Karkarook Park is an old sand quarry site in Heatherton that has been rehabilitated into wetlands, a large multipurpose lake and bushland. It is a good site for Birding (50+ species in a few hours) and photography. It is used by locals for exercise, fishing, dog walking and picnics. The wetlands are excellent for spotting the rarer waders like crakes and rails and often migrating birds will stop for a few days rest – Stilts, Dotterals and the very rare Little Bittern.
On my last visit I watched as some newly hatched Dusky Moorhen and Coot chicks took to the water and were fed by their parents. I was quite surprised by the size of their feet.
Dusky Moorhen Chick
Dusky Moorhen Chick II
Dusky Moorhen & Chick
Eurasian Coot feeding its chick small bits of water weed.
Eurasian Coot and chicks
Eurasian Coot and chicks II,
I was walking down one of the woodlands paths when I was buzzed by a Willie Wagtail that was clearly agitated. They can be quite aggressive with other birds and are a very good bush alarm giving a clear distinctive warning (chicka chicka) when something dangerous is nearby: snakes, foxes, large lizards etc. But they don’t usually worry too much about people. I stood still and had a look around and realized that just near my knees in a bit of scrub were 2 Wagtail chicks that must have just come out of the nest. They did not fly away and just watched the parent. I moved back a few metres and sat down next to a tree. The parent then ignored me and started to feed his chicks. The other parent was on the other side of the bush looking after a third chick.
Angry Willie Wagtail
Willie Wagtail II
An Angry Dad giving me the stink eye…..
Willie Wagtail fledglings – 3rd chick just visible to the right
Willie Wagtail fledglings II
Little Wattlebird II
Any guess why this bird is called a Red Kneed Dotteral?
The Red Browed Finch caught my attention when it flew up to the top of a fence line and started to bop up and down with a delicate grass seed stem. He put on quite a show for a few minutes but when the female ignored him he dropped the seeds and flew off….
Dancing Red Browed Finch
Great Cormorant drying out on a pier post – there are a number of Cormorants resident on the lake.
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Karkarook Park, Photography, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Behaviour, Bird Photography, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Little Wattlebird, Nature Photography, Red Kneed Dotteral, Victoria, Willie Wagtail