Tag Archives: Bird Photography

Small birds of Moorooduc

I often stop by Moorooduc Quarry to observe the Peregrine Falcons on the cliffs of the quarry. Afterwards I walk the nearby tracks and photograph the smaller forest birds.

Eastern Yellow Robin, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Superb Fairy-wren, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Female Superb Fairy-wren, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Superb Fairy-wren, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Walking along Elster Creek

I often stroll along the Elster Creek and up into the old golf course. I have started to take photos of the transition from a 9 hole public golf course to a wetlands. So far it is still much the same with a few trees removed and the grass growing longer. I will post up some images once things start to happen. New layout designs should be issued in March.

The evening is a great time for good light and finding fairly relaxed birds preening and having a last feed.

Crested Pigeons, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic

Crested Pigeons, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic

Crested Pigeons, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic

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White faced heron, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic, 21 July 2019

White faced heron, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic

A rare visitor stops by Elster Creek

A flock of Gang-gang Cockatoos have been seen throughout the local suburbs, visiting parks and looking for food. They are usually found around inland mountain forests not along bayside beach suburbs. While walking my dog, I found four in a tall gum tree along the creek behind my house. They were squabbling with the local Magpies and Currawongs. I rushed home to get my camera gear to see if I could get a few shots of my first local sighting and only my third sighting in the last 10 years.  The flock had moved on but I did find a lone female Gang-gang feeding on green seed pods in the lower branch of a large tree at the other side of the old golf course. I watched for a while as she ate green seeds and then napped briefly, roused and ate more. After 30 mins or so the other members of her flock flew along the creek calling, she joined them and they headed further down the coast. I have not seen them since.

Gang-gang Cockatoo, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic

Gang-gang Cockatoo, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic

Gang-gang Cockatoo, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic

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Gang-gang Cockatoo, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic

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Gang-gang Cockatoo, Elster Creek

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A Spring visitor at the Quarry

For the last few years in early spring, Moorooduc Quarry has hosted several Brush Bronzewing feeding along the grass and gravel paths. I will regularly see and hear the Common Bronzewing but the Brush is rarer and more often found further north into Central Victoria. They seem to be migrating and stopping off at Moorooduc Quarry for a few weeks for a feed and a rest. I don’t see them at other times of the year locally and I am not sure where they are headed. They may be just stopping by for a particular food source.  It is something I will have to research. I found this young male Bronzewing feeding on the path. He only flew up to a nearby perch and watched as I fiddled with my camera settings. Usually the bronzewings will take off at a decent rate and fly well into the forest before stopping. I was lucky to get a bit of good light to pick up his reflecting iridescent feathers.

Brush Bronzewing, Moorooduc Quarry, Moorooduc, Vic

Brush Bronzewing, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Brush Bronzewing, Moorooduc Quarry, Moorooduc, Vic

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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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Stranger Danger

 

The tracks around Green’s Bush are full of nests, juveniles and adults frantically feeding their nestlings. The Eastern Yellow Robins are all along the circuit walk hunting within their territories and alerting their mates when an intruder walks along. The Robin has a number of alert calls and this one was making a piping call and keeping an eye on me as I walked underneath. I must have been near the nest as it did not fly to a lookout a bit further away as they usually would when I try to photograph them.

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park

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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 quite 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.

A new grassland grows

With the closing of the Elsternwick golf course and planned conversion to a wetlands and open parkland, the unmaintained grass of the old fairways is growing long and seeding. This is already bringing more bird species to the area to enjoy the seeds, including a small flock of Long-billed Corellas.

Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic

Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic

Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic

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Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic

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Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic

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Acrobatic antics for a good feed

During spring the understory throughout Greens Bush has been in full bloom. Amongst the many birds that I saw feeding on the flowers was this White-naped Honeyeater. I mostly see this species  higher in the canopy and more often hear them as they make their distinctive calls. I think it was a fairly young bird to allow me to get so close to watch it as it moved arobatically around several low bushes. It was a good opportunity to photograph this beautiful little bird with the lovely orange eye lid.

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Inspecting a hollow

I am still finding birds at Greens Bush nesting, looking for suitable nest sites and feeding juveniles that have fledged and left the nest. I found this pair of Crimson Rosellas (below) inspecting a Eucalyptus hollow. One was hopping in and out of the small hollow while its mate stood watch nearby.

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Crimson Rosella guarding the nest hole on a nearby branch