While I was paying a lot of attention to the Black-winged Stilts that were resting and preening on the rowing platforms on Albert Park Lake in inner Melbourne, a pair of swans cruised up to my side and waited patiently to be fed. These semi-tame swans are used to being fed by people at the local picnic tables. Being empty handed I took advantage of their tameness (and hunger) to practice my portrait shots.
Black Swan, Albert Park Lake, Melbourne
Where is my food?
Eye and bill markings are unique to each Swan
I enjoyed a walk to the local lake and along the Elster Creek with some of the local birders late Saturday afternoon. Many of the resident birds are starting to nest and raise chicks. It is a noisy, busy time with much activity. Several neighbourhood locals are keeping an eye on the breeding swans and sadly the cygnet count has already gone from 6 to 3 in a few weeks. I daresay the foxes at the golf course are also raising young.
Spring along Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria
Elsternwick Lake Swamphens, Elsternwick, Victoria
Elsternwick Lake Swan family
one of the cygnets
A watchful parent…
Elsternwick Lake Little Pied Cormorant
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black Swan, Elster Creek, Elsternwick Lake, Elwood, Little Pied Cormorant, Nature Photography, Photography, purple swamphen, Victoria
Many birds are busy at the moment. Potential nest sites explored, claimed and defended, nest mounds are being constructed and the recent mild weather has convinced several species to start the nesting cycle now.
The two mounds below were found in the first T-section lagoon at the Western Treatment Plant. I was surprised to see that they were fairly close to the road and in a large and fairly exposed lagoon. Very happy to see the Brolgas nesting again at the Lagoons, though a little concerned that if it rained further then the nest could be swamped by the rising water levels. The swan’s nest was much higher from the water.
Nesting Brolga, T-section, Western treatmwent Plant, Werribee
Nesting Brolga’s mate nearby keeping a watch…
Nesting Swan, T-section, Western treatmwent Plant, Werribee
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black Swan, Brolgas, Nature Photography, Nesting Black Swan, Nesting Brolgas, Photography, Pooh Farm, Victoria, Western Treatment Plant
As the migrating shore birds slowly build up in numbers at the Western Treatment Plant lagoons, I have been making a series of visits with a few friends to watch and photograph the spring nesting. There are many species building nests and raising young. The highlight was finding two separate Brolga nests.
Swan nesting, Western treatment plant
Nesting House Sparrows
Masked Lapwing nesting – I was a bit worried about this nest, the water rose quite high after a good rain fall a day earlier.
Whistling Kite nesting
Whistling Kite – on guard duty a tree away
Whistling Kite guard
Nesting Brolga – two large eggs on a small island in a lagoon.
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black Swan, Brolgas, Masked Lapwing, Nature Photography, Victoria, Western Treatment Plant, Whistling Kite
Over Easter I explored the Bellarine Peninsula, south of Melbourne and the other side of the opening of Port Phillip Bay. I have not been down this way before for photography and birding so it was all new. I researched some tips from John (my birding mate) and hit a few sites over several days.
The first area was the Lonsdale Lakes starting at Lake Victoria. It is a flat area with wide mud banks and a fairly shallow lagoon. It is quickly drying out but obviously still has a good food supply for the various species I came across: Swans, Stilts, Red Necked Stints, Red Capped Plovers, White Faced Herons and Gulls.
The vegetation long the lake side and paths is low scrub, shrubs, grasses and salt -bush and various succulent type plants -all very tough and hardy for dry, salty and windy conditions. It is quite attractive in the right light too with many shades of green…
The path along the lake’s edge
Lake side vegetation
Red Capped Plover – a tiny young bird in a wide expanse, well camouflaged when hiding beside a small rock
Red Capped Plover
Red Capped Plover II
Red Capped Plovers
Red Capped Plover III
Red Necked Stints flying in
Many Black Swans were feeding in the shallow water and flying over to fresh feeding grounds
I watched this White Faced Heron for a while and took a few shots as it fed in the mud along a nearby creek. At one point it stood quite still, did a full body shake and then went back to feeding. It might be part of a grooming action or just bringing in more air under its feathers as the day got later and cooler.
White faced Heron
White faced Heron II
White faced Heron III
White faced Heron IV
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Bellarine, Bird Photography, Black Swan, Lake Victoria, Lonsdale Lakes, Nature Photography, Photography, Red Necked Stint, Vegetation, Victoria, White Faced Heron
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.
Little Black Cormorants – I watched these Cormorants hunt as a pack. There were 6 in the group working closely together.
Black Swan P81 – I reported the swan through the myswan link . See Jawbone link above for more details on tagged swan research.
New Holland Honeyeater
Little Pied Cormorant
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Australian Pelican, Bird Photography, Black Swan, Great Egret, Kororoit Creek, little black cormorant, Little Pied Cormorant, Nature Photography, New Holland Honeyeater, Victoria, Welcome Swallow
Jawbone Reserve is an easy to reach Marine and Park reserve along the shoreline of Williamstown. It has many water and heathland birds and a good list of 50+ species can be gathered in a few hours. Some of the bird visitors are seasonal but most are there all year round. It is an excellent site for beginners (birders and photographers) as the birds are generally used to the passing traffic and will ignore anyone on the paths. If you walk along the edge and stop and use a camera or binoculars they can get a bit edgy and some species will fly off or move away. Careful observations (and quiet calm movement) will result in rewarding sightings and photos. At low tide the outer lagoon drops right down exposing sand and mud bars and thousands of waders can cover the area. A birding scope is needed to get clearer views further out.
Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic – looking west towards Altona
Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic – looking out into the Bay across the lagoons and tidal flats.
Sharp tailed Sandpiper
3 Shags on a Rock – Little Black, Little Pied and Pied Cormorants
Mid Day Siesta – Swans, Stilts & Cormorant
Blue Billed Duck – one of only a few true diving ducks amongst Australian duck species.
Blue Billed Ducks – male with Blue Bill and the female. The female Blue Billed can often be mistaken for the rarer and endangered Freckled duck.
Great Crested Grebe
Black Winged Stilts – well named. In the strong wind they did have a little difficulty in maintaining their balance. When scared or flying they make a sound like a small barking dog.
During high tide at Jawbone many of the water birds move onto the sheltered lagoons including hundreds of Swans. When I visited this last week, there were a number of swans with neck tags. Previously I have researched what the tagging meant. If you see a swan you can go to the http://www.myswan.org.au site and log the bird. It is part of a study and research program. Once you log the swan via its tag you can get a bit of a history of it and where it has been. I once asked a researcher about the tag as I thought it might be a bit cruel but was advised that it does not bother the swan and is actually quite loose. The swan’s neck is quite thin and half of it’s width is actually feathers so the tag fits well. I logged the swans below.
Black Swan P45
Black Swan S75
Black Swan R47
Black Swan R45
Black Swan F09
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black Swan, Black Swan Tagging, Black Winged Stilt, Blue Billed Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Nature Photography, Pied Cormorant, Royal Spoonbill, Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Victoria