Tag Archives: Brown Thornbill

Soon to find true form

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

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

II

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

III

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

IV

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

V

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

VI

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

VII

Brown Thornbill’s mid morning sun-bake

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, 6 Nov 2016

Brown Thornbill, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria

Brown Thornbill, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria, 6 Nov 2016

II

Brown Thornbill, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria, 6 Nov 2016

III

Brown Thornbill, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria, 6 Nov 2016

IV

Brown Thornbill, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, Victoria, 6 Nov 2016

V

 

From the beach of the Stone-curlew

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

Australian White Ibis, Inverloch Beach, Victoria

Pacific Gull, Inverloch Beach, Victoria

Pacific Gull, Inverloch Beach, Victoria

Pacific Gull, Inverloch Beach, Victoria

II

Brown Thornbill, Inverloch Beach, Victoria

Brown Thornbill, Inverloch Beach, Victoria

Brown Thornbill, Inverloch Beach, Victoria

II

Brown Thornbill, Inverloch Beach, Victoria

III

Brown Thornbill, Inverloch Beach, Victoria

IV

A sunny Winter’s Day at Willowind Farm

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

Brown Thornbill, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Brown Thornbill, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

II

Brown Thornbill, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

III

Brown Thornbill, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

IV

Spotted Pardalote, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Female Spotted Pardalote, Willowind Farm

Grey Shrikethrush, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Grey Shrikethrush, Willowind Farm

Dusky Woodswallow, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

One of four Dusky Woodswallows roosting in a local tree in the late afternoon sun.

Large Fungi, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Large Fungi, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Apricot tree Fungi, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Apricot tree Fungi, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Elster Creek to Elwood Canal

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

Little Black Cormorant, Elster Creek

Willie Wagtail, Elster creek

Willie Wagtail claiming his part of the lake while hunting for insects

Juvenile Noisy Miner, Elster Creek

Juvenile Noisy Miner waiting for his next meal

Brown Thornbill,  Elster creek

Brown Thornbill, Elster creek

Brown Thornbill,  Elster creek

II

Superb Fairy Wren,  Elster creek

Female Superb Fairy Wren – the boss

Superb Fairy Wren,  Elster creek

II

White Browed Scrubwren,  Elster creek

White Browed Scrubwren, Elster creek

White Browed Scrubwren,  Elster creek

II

Moorooduc Woodlands Flurry

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, Moorooduc Quarry

Eastern Yellow Robin in a typical perched hunting pose…ready to pounce on its prey from above.

Eastern Yellow Robin, Moorooduc Quarry

Eastern Yellow Robin II

Eastern Yellow Robin completed Nest, Moorooduc Quarry

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

Golden Whistler, Moorooduc Quarry

One of the bright male Golden Whistlers that moved through the Robin’s nest area…

Brown Thornbill, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve

A curious Brown Thornbill, watching the action

A possum Drey, Moorooduc Quarry

A possum Drey, Moorooduc Quarry

Thornbill and the Irregulars…

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.

Brown Thornbill

Brown Thornbill

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

Australasian Grebe in breeding plumage – one of the three Grebes we see in Victoria but not very often at the Lake

Willie Wagtail,

Willie Wagtail – a regular in low numbers

Masked Lapwing

Masked Lapwing – usually a few somewhere in the area and often heard during the night flying over the suburb squawking loudly all the way.

Magpie Lark

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…

Hardhead

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.