I often drop into the Quarry Reserve in Moorooduc to check in on the Peregrine Falcons that make the flooded quarry their home. In the surrounding bushland are many bird species working hard through their breeding cycles. I watched a pair of Brown Thornbills searching for insects amongst the scrub and was surprised to see a Cuckoo seemingly working the branches with them. It even hopped to the ground and rummaged amongst the leaves. Occasionally it would stop and make the typical Shining Bronze Cuckoo calls. I am sure that the Thornbills had raised this cuckoo.
Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Brown Thornbill, Moorooduc Quarry, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Mornington Peninsula, Nature Photography, Photography, Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Victoria
A return visit to Berwick to look for the Channel-billed Cuckoo, resulted in another failure. I did however enjoy another walk around the Wilson Botanic Park. On the boardwalk near the bird hide I found a young Brown Thornbill hunting for spiders and enjoying a little morning sun. He seemed quite young as I was only standing a few metres away and these little shy birds move quickly through the brush, never standing still or staying exposed in the open.
Brown Thornbill, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria
While photographing the Beach Stone-curlew on Inverloch Beach at the weekend, a number of other birds flew by including flocks of Ibis, pelicans, cormorants, and gulls. Several Pacific Gulls flew near to have a look at what we were up to. Considering the sheer number of crabs available I am not sure why more birds weren’t feasting – I daresay that the soldier crab may have an acquired taste that the Stone-curlew has no problems with. Back at the carpark we also found a small flock of curious Brown Thornbills.
Australian White Ibis, Inverloch Beach, Victoria
Pacific Gull, Inverloch Beach, Victoria
Brown Thornbill, Inverloch Beach, Victoria
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Brown Thornbill, Inverloch Beach, Nature Photography, Pacific Gull, Photography, Victoria, White Ibis
I dropped by the folks’ farm in Moorooduc yesterday. They live on a 10 acre block with large pine trees down one side and a Eucalyptus woodlot along another edge. The long driveway is bordered by rows of Willow Trees. Next door is a free range egg farm guarded by several Mareema Sheepdogs that have been trained to guard the chickens from foxes. Given the number of chickens we find in the sheep yards they do miss a few visits by the local foxes. A few raptors also tend to regularly stop by and watch for chicken stragglers. I have counted 24 bird species so far at the farm. The property has a nice mix of native and introduced mature trees as well as some native bushes for the smaller birds. I photographed a few below, along with some nicely coloured fungi.
Brown Thornbill, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria
Female Spotted Pardalote, Willowind Farm
Grey Shrikethrush, Willowind Farm
One of four Dusky Woodswallows roosting in a local tree in the late afternoon sun.
Large Fungi, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria
Apricot tree Fungi, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria
Posted in Birds
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Brown Thornbill, Dusky Woodswallow, Grey Shrike Thrush, Moorooduc, Nature Photography, Photography, Spotted Pardalote, Victoria, Willowind Farm
On the weekend I took the fairly short walk from the golf course lake to the rocky mouth of Elster Creek, which opens into Port Philip Bay. Along the way I photographed a few of the species that can be found: two cormorant species like to roost on the lake overnight, several Willie Wagtail pairs have claimed their spots around the lake and hunt across it while loudly claiming their rights, and a large Noisy Miner clan are permanently located along grassy areas of the canal and the lakes. At the mouth of the creek there are a number of small bird families making a living. They are also territorial: feeding, nesting and defending their little patches. It is a tough area to live in, a major byway for human traffic, hot at times and exposed to strong winds and storms from across the Bay. The coast is heavily patrolled by many aerial hunters and other opportunistic feeders including mammals – the Rakali (native water rat) is an effective aggressive hunter, and is well known in this part of the Elwood Canal/Elster Creek catchment.
To find these tiny settlers you need to walk along either side of the canal mouth and listen for the high pitched calls of the three main species – Superb Fairy Wren, White Browed Scrubwren and the Brown Thornbill. A little bit of whistling mimicry and phishing can make them pop up to see what is happening. A walk into the low coastal scrub to get to the breakwater rocks can bring them out as they scold you for entering their territory and possible nesting areas. Photographing these small fast birds can be very frustrating but quite rewarding when one stays still long enough in the right light and you finally take a nice image.
Little Black Cormorant, Elster Creek
Willie Wagtail claiming his part of the lake while hunting for insects
Juvenile Noisy Miner waiting for his next meal
Brown Thornbill, Elster creek
Female Superb Fairy Wren – the boss
White Browed Scrubwren, Elster creek
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Bird Photography, Brown Thornbill, Elster Creek, Elwood Canal, little black cormorant, Nature Photography, Photography, Superb Fairy Wren, Victoria, White browed Scrubwren, Willie Wagtail
In a follow-up visit to the Moorooduc Quarry to check on the progress of the little Eastern Yellow Robin nest, I found a completed nest, many other birds and another Drey (they seem to be popping out everywhere now I know they exist). A busy flock of Male Golden Whistlers came through and it soon became a little crazy with birds flying everywhere. The Robins were trying to protect their patch and the male Whistlers seem to be chasing each other. A few Brown Thornbills dropped into the mix as well to check out the fuss.
Eastern Yellow Robin in a typical perched hunting pose…ready to pounce on its prey from above.
Eastern Yellow Robin II
The completed nest of our Eastern Yellow Robin, made of paperbark strips and camouflaged with moss and lichen held in place by spider web netting – amazing engineering
One of the bright male Golden Whistlers that moved through the Robin’s nest area…
A curious Brown Thornbill, watching the action
A possum Drey, Moorooduc Quarry
Posted in Bird Bahaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Brown Thornbill, Drey, Eastern Yellow Robin, Eastern Yellow Robin Nest, Golden Whistler, Nature Photography, Victoria
While waiting for a neighbour to come by so we could walk over to the lake and along Elster Creek I saw this little Brown Thornbill in a tree that overhangs my front garden. Not a very common bird in inner suburbia unless you have good undergrowth for it to escape the attention of other aggressive birds and the predator Butcherbird. I have seen the Thornbills for a couple of years now in the street so the cover must be improving.
After watching the Thornbill for few minutes we walked over to the Lake and saw a few birds, some regular and some not some common.
Australasian Grebe in breeding plumage – one of the three Grebes we see in Victoria but not very often at the Lake
Willie Wagtail – a regular in low numbers
Masked Lapwing – usually a few somewhere in the area and often heard during the night flying over the suburb squawking loudly all the way.
Male Magpie Lark – a crazy bird during breeding season – will attack any reflection of itself even in sunglasses on top of a woman’s head…
Female Hardhead – not that common here. Also called a White-eyed Duck due to the males white eye ring. Has found sanctuary here to escape the current Duck Season.
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australasian Grebe, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Brown Thornbill, Elsternwick Lake, Hardhead, Magpie Lark, Masked Lapwing, Nature Photography, Victoria, Willie Wagtail
I recently visited the family farm for a few hours of stacking 2 tonne of firewood with Fanior Ann and Henry Martin. After the job was done and the payment of lunch was settled, I had plenty of time to pass by Moorooduc Quarry to see how the Peregrine Falcons were getting on. I only heard and glimpsed one of the resident falcons but I did have good views of a Wedgetail Eagle drifting over on the afternoon air currents – too far above for any good shots. I found a few of my regular sidekicks as well as an ancient(ish) rock drawing of the legendary and deadly Drop Bear….
White Eared Honeyeater
White Eared Honeyeater II
Drop Bear – on the other side of the quarry I noticed an old warning etched into the rocks – everyone has a different opinion on what a drop bear looks like – this is as good as any I have seen.
Eastern Yellow Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin in a typical hunting pose – about to launch down onto the ground after a meal…
Posted in Animal, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Brown Thornbill, Drop Bear, Eastern Yellow Robin, Moorooduc Quarry, Nature Photography, Photography, Victoria, White Eared Honeyeater
An early morning follow-up visit to Greens Bush produced a few interesting bird shots as well as a young fox exploring his neck of the woods.
The Eastern Spinebills were fighting with the New Holland Honeyeaters over the nectar in the flowering Mistletoe hanging from the local gum trees.
Young Eastern Spinebill
Black Faced Cuckoo-Shrike with its distinctive look and call.
Brown Thornbill feeding a Shining Bronze Cuckoo chick – the adult female Cuckoo will lay a similar looking egg into a target bird’s nest. The host parents will raise the young cuckoo as their own and don’t seem to realise that it is not their own species – even when it looks and sounds very different and can be much bigger – as above. The Thornbill jumped over the young Cuckoo and fed it from the right hand side.
I have spent quite a bit time out and about this year and have seen a number of foxes. This one was quite small and seemed to be on its own having a look around.
Young Fox out and about exploring
Hears the shutter clicks and starts to trot forward to investigate
Slows down as he sees that something big is up ahead (me)
Finally sees me clearly, freezes and bolts back along the path…
Posted in Animal, Birds, Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike, Brown Thornbill, Eastern Spinebill, Fox, Greens Bush, Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black faced Cuckoo Shrike, Brown Thornbill, Fox, Greens Bush, Mistletoe, Nature Photography, Photography, Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Victoria