Each December I try to spend a week in Mallacoota exploring the area’s National Parks and looking for birds and animals I dont usually see in my part of the world. Many of the Northern birds have their most southern range in and around the Mallacoota inlet and surrounding forests. On the way to the ‘Coota, a 6 hour drive from Melbourne, I stopped for a break and a bite to eat at the Cabbage Tree Creek Flora Reserve. On this occasion it was hot and dry and swarming with mozzies in the shade. I spent an hour walking the short tracks. I noticed that the Palms were fruiting (nutting?) but did not find any of the usual birds that feed on them other than some noisy flocks of Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo. The Palm is the only Fan-palm found in Victoria.
I did find a small green nest being built by a Yellow-faced Honeyeater. I watched as a pair brought back small fibres and wove them into the nest. At times one would hop into the bowl and flutter about seemly trying to shape it. Much of the material was live moss and lichen so it would remain green and well camouflaged.
Yellow-faced Honeyeater nest, very well hidden.
Yellow-faced Honeyeater and nest , Cabbage Tree Creek Flora Reserve, Vic
Completed nest a week later when I passed through on the way home.
Cabbage Tree Palm fruiting
Cabbage Tree Palms
A young Cabbage Tree Palm finding space in the crowed understory.
Black-faced Monarch, Cabbage Tree Creek Flora Reserve, Vic
Over the Xmas break I planned and completed a compass tour of Victoria. It covered Mallacoota and various other spots in the far east of the state, the North East/Central covering the Grampians, Little Desert and Wyperfeld National Park, the far West including Nelson and the The Lower Glenelg National Park as well as a few spots on the way home, and finally the South – Mornington Peninsula. I am finally back at work – resting from all the driving, mozzie bites (and three ticks), early starts and the heat of the desert country. I am already thinking about the end of year trip and what new spots I can discover or visit.
Below are a few photos of the Cabbage Tree Palms from the Cabbage Tree Creek area, located along the Princes Highway on the way to Mallacoota – The Cabbage Tree Palm is Victoria’s only native palm species and are found in a few locations. The picnic ground has a lovely short rainforest walk with many bird and animal species. I saw my first lifer (lifer = first time seeing a bird species) of the trip – a TopKnot Pigeon.
The Topknot Pigeons are often found in this reserve feeding on the fruit of the palm. I saw a flock of around 10 flying across the reserve – they are a very nervous species and will flush and fly off even when I was quite far away. I will have to try for photos the next time I head to Mallacoota.
Cabbage Tree Palm, Cabbage Tree Creek
I did find a curious family of Brown Gerygone along the walk and spent some time photographing them. A tiny bird the size of a thornbill with a melodic song. I managed to see all three main Victorian species in 2015 – Brown, Western and White Throated.
Brown Gerygone, Cabbage Tree Creek