Tag Archives: Double Creek Nature Walk

Warning calls, take the hint

On the drive into the Mallacoota township there is a spot that I explore each day as part of my birding/photography schedule. During December when I visited it was hot and very dry. Winding through the reserve, the creek was low and mostly dry, just several pools of dark water. As I entered the rain forest and my eyes adjusted to the lower light conditions there were multiple birds on the opposite bank diving into the creek bed and back up onto low branches. There was at least 5 species involved –  Bell Minors, Superb Fairy-wrens, Scrubwrens, a Lewins Honeyeater and a very agitated Grey Fantail. As I stood and watched I noticed movement and saw a large Red-bellied Black Snake. I am not usually concerned about these snakes as they hunt the really dangerous snakes. But they are a sign that other snakes are around. I was not even in the area 15 minutes and I had already found a snake.

The feisty Fantail below was dive bombing the snake and a landing on a branch near me before taking off again.

Grey Fantail, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota, Vic

Grey Fantail, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota, Vic

Grey Fantail, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota, Vic

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Grey Fantail, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota, Vic

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Red-bellied Black Snake, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota, Vic

Red-bellied Black Snake, Double Creek Nature Walk

Frogmouth, Whipbirds and a Pure White Raptor

Whenever I visit Mallacoota I try to get to the Double Creek area several times a day. There is always a good variety of bird species (local and migrating through) and several vegetation types to explore from creek side vegetation, wetlands, woodlands, rain-forest and ridge-lines with tall forests. It is a compact site with four paths to wander down.

Along one of the creek sides I found a pair of Leaden Flycatchers singing away declaring their territory while above I spotted a white morph Grey Goshawk. The white/grey Goshawk is the only pure white raptor in the world. I knew that a raptor was cruising above by the danger calls of all the nearby birds. The bird alarm gave me just enough time to get the camera pointed skywards and set for a bright sky. The Goshawk cruised just above the trees.

Male Leaden Flycatcher, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Male Leaden Flycatcher, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Female Leaden Flycatcher, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Female Leaden Flycatcher

Grey Goshawk, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoot

Grey Goshawk (white Morph), Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

I found the Tawny Frogmouth when I stopped at the small carpark to have some lunch and was staring into the trees when I noticed someone staring back….

Tawny Frogmouth, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Tawny Frogmouth, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

White Browed Scrubwren Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

White Browed Scrubwren Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

White Browed Scrubwren Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

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Lewin's Honeyeater, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Lewin’s Honeyeater, trying to stay cool along the creek on a very hot day

Eastern Whipbird, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Eastern Whipbird working hard to feed two chicks that were following closely

As I watched the Whipbirds move around the undergrowth I spotted the little Antechinus hunting. It is a fearless tiny marsupial hunter, and given its mouselike size I am always surprised to see them out and about hunting in daylight.

Antechinus, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Antechinus, I have not worked out the local species yet  – could be Shy, Brown or Swamp. 

Sun baking at Double Creek

On an early morning walk around the Double Creek Nature Walk, near Mallacoota, I came across several birds having a dust bath and soaking in some sun. I watched Eastern Yellow Robins dust bathing followed by a spot of sun baking. It was a prime spot amongst the thick forest and the Robins were moved along by a pair of Lewin’s Honeyeater who spent a bit more time at the baking spot. Normally Lewin’s are a little hard to get near and photograph but as I was slow moving and crouched down they were happy to ignore me and just get on with soaking up the rays.

I have seen several bird species at different locations sun baking: magpies actually lying on their backs in sand on the edge of a golf sand bunker – I thought they were dead until I walked up to have a closer look….not sure who got the bigger fright. I have seen pigeons with a wing in the air lying on the ground and then the Robins and Lewin’s honeyeater at Double Creek. It is not fully understood why birds do this: part of feather maintenance, drying off after a bath (though I watched these birds have a dust bath and not use water), irritating feather mites to help find and remove them, just enjoying the sun on a cool morning. Whatever the reason it was interesting to watch and photograph.

Lewin's Honeyeater Sun-baking, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota

Lewin’s Honeyeater Sun-baking, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota

Lewin's Honeyeaters Sun-baking, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota

Lewin’s Honeyeaters sun-baking

Lewin's Honeyeaters Sun-baking, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota

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Lewin's Honeyeaters Sun-baking, Double Creek Nature Walk, Mallacoota

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