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Tag Archives: Cranbourne Botanical Gardens
For some reason Wallabies don’t seem to panic as easily as Grey Kangaroos. They can be quite approachable particular in areas where they have become accustomed to people walking around. As long as you don’t cut off their escape paths they are happy to keep eating and just keep an eye on you. We recently saw a few Black or Swamp Wallabies at Cranbourne Botanical Gardens – woodlands area. They are usually on their own or with a joey. We were able to take a few shots and slowly creep forward before they ambled off. They have nice colouring especially in late afternoon sun light. The Grey Kangaroos were much more flighty and generally took off as soon as they saw us.
According to Wiki, the swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) has some unusual names that I have not heard of before including black-tailed wallaby, fern wallaby, black pademelon, stinker (in Queensland), and black stinker (in New South Wales) due to its characteristic swampy odour (which we did not smell on this occasion but now I am curious).
At this time of year one of the predominate sounds of the woodlands behind the Australia Gardens at the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens comes from the White Eared Honeyeater. It has a variety of distinctive calls and can be quite photogenic when it stays still long enough. It makes a low level, deep, thick sided bowl type nest and lines it with animal fur and hair. We found the Honeyeater below collecting spider webs for its nest.
With so many Honeyeaters it is little wonder that we also heard and saw Fan Tailed Cuckoos. The nests of White Eared Honeyeaters are parasitised by Fan Tailed Cuckoos.
New Holland Honeyeaters dominate the formal parts of the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens. They are generally easy to get a nice image of but it can be much more time consuming trying to get a shot with a bit of personality. Many of the native plants are flowering at the moment so there are good opportunities to find an ideal bush with nectar filled flowers and wait for a Honeyeater to turn up. Many times they land on a high point behind you, you notice, you spin around and it takes off, then you curse yourself as you realise you just missed the shot that was right in front of you. I recently visited with a few bird photography friends and we had a challenging time attempting to find “the” shot – a never ending quest. It seems harder to get a good shot, that you are happy with, of a fairly common subject while often we seem happier with average shots of a rarer subject.
There is nothing like a nice afternoon bath in a small fresh puddle – perfect temperature, perfect depth. This New Holland Honeyeater was one of several birds that made quick flights into the water. After a quick dip and a splash around it would take off to a nearby branch to groom and then back into the water again. Bathing, grooming and keeping the feathers in good condition are extremely important to birds. It is fun and challenging to try and take decent images when the opportunity arises…
The Australian Garden is located at Cranbourne and is part of the Royal Botanic Gardens. It is dedicated to Australian plants and landscapes and displays the various regions of Australia and its native plants. A great place to take visitors. It has large formal created gardens and larger areas of open natural parkland, woodlands, heathlands and even wetlands. It has many species of birds and quite a few Black or Swamp Wallabies as well as Wombats and Echidnas. I have visited a few times in the last couple of weeks. The previous Post at this site was about the Bandicoots that I had photographed. [I have since found out that the Bandicoot without the tail and the healed scars is called Stumpy and is a regular at the Stringybark Picnic area.
By far the most abundant bird in the formal part of the Garden is the New Holland Honeyeater. Due to their numbers and ready food source available with the flowering Australian natives they are a great target for taking photos.
Saturday was another lovely Winter’s day in Melbourne and we decided to head down to the Melbourne Botanical Garden, (Cranbourne), also known as Australian Garden. We started at the Stringybark Picnic area and walked along the forest paths looking birds and reading the various information signs. We came across a large curious nest only a few metres off the ground. I could not figure out what made it or what was using it – I could see a brown furry looking lump through the side entrance but could not confirm what it was – I was unable to get closer without bashing through and damaging the prickly bushes in front. Last night, a local naturalist (Gio) suggested that it was most likely a Drey – a round nest made by a Ring-Tailed Possum. I did not know that Possums made nests like this nor had I ever heard of a Drey…
Moving around the paths we saw a number of Eastern Yellow Robins and watched for a while as they hunted. I found one of their freshly made nests. Very similar style to the previous nest that I have posted about from Moorooduc.
The highlight of this part of the day was spotting a Southern Brown Bandicoot, a threatened marsupial species, often wiped out from areas by foxes. This site is protected by a fox proof fence and so the species is surviving. We saw one dart across a path. As we were walking back to the car my eagled eye walking partner yelled out that I was about to step on another one. This little guy was not very scared of me at all and we moved back a bit and took a few photos. It had some nasty healed up scars on its rump and a missing tail. I was surprised by its size – roughly the size of a small cat – much bigger than I expected. It moved around the path, had a little stretch and at some point decided to bolt off the track but only into the fringe where we watched it a bit more while it napped. We left it alone and drove to the main part of the gardens.