Since February we have been seeing juvenile Nankeen Night-herons roosting and hunting along Elster Creek. Good conditions inland and locally over the spring and summer has meant good numbers are appearing. The juvenile has brown and white streaking to help with camouflage while building up their survival and hunting skills.
Juvenile Nankeen Night-Heron, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic
I walked along Elster Creek and into the wetlands a few weeks ago and watched a large Heron circle the wetlands and land in the shallow water. It attracted my attention as it was larger than usual and had a different flight shape – I had first thought it was a white-faced heron, but it did not look right. I moved along the edge of the wetlands until I could get a better view and was surprised to find a White-necked Heron. The first I have seen locally. I have usually seen them much further inland. While watching the heron two more came from behind the reeds and were immediately harassed by the roosting Silver Gulls. The local birds are not used to this large Heron and were dive bombing the herons when they moved around the wetlands hunting. When spooked the Heron raises its neck feathers in an aggressive display to make it look bigger and meaner. The three herons hunted around the small lake for the day and then moved on. I have not seem them since. There are many reports of this species around Melbourne at the moment and I believe that after a good breeding season further inland to the north they are now moving around as the inland wetlands dry out in late summer.
White-necked Heron, Elster Creek Wetlands, Elsternwick, Vic
Silver Gulls were harassing the Heron as it hunted in the shallows
A friend has been tracking the Eastern Rosellas that have been nesting in the golf course along Elster Creek. He is studying the plumage variations from newly fledged through to adult by photographing and observing three generations of local birds. The Rosellas managed to raise 4 chicks and all seemed to fledge but in recent sightings only two are being regularly seen. The area has roaming foxes, cats and dogs and the birds often feed on the ground. The juveniles are inexperienced and too trusting of approaching danger. Over the last few days I have been looking for and photographing the Rosellas to see how they progressing. They have favourite roosting and feeding spots and make feeding calls to each other – a lovely piping sound. They are one of my favourite local birds.
Platycercus eximius – meaning “excellent broad-tail”.
Eastern Rosella, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Vic, 5 Dec 2016
When the Eucalypts start flowering in summer the Musk Lorikeets start arriving in good numbers along Elster Creek and in the trees at Elsternwick Lake. Lorikeets are highly mobile and will follow flowering eucalypts all over the state. The muskies have a distinctly different call to the locally common Rainbow Lorikeet. I walked over to the lake on the weekend with a birding friend and we followed our ears to the red flowering gums. A few of the Muskies were low enough to photograph, most shots were of their typical pose – upside down and head into a flower.
Scientifically known as Glossopsitta concinna meaning “elegant tongue parrot” – due to the way it feeds on pollen and nectar rich flowers.
A sunny late afternoon walk along the creek produced the usual array of local birds, many with new families. We watched a pair of Long-billed Corellas feeding on grass seeds and later found a snoozing Cockatoo. It turned out to be One-eye, the partner to an escaped or released Cockatoo still wearing a cage leg ring. This couple has now bred in the same tree two years in a row and currently there are several chicks inside the big gum where we found One-eye.
Long billed Corella, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Victoria 19 Nov 2016
Sulphur crested Cockatoo, Elster Creek, Elsternwick – the cockatoo was fast asleep, enjoying the evening sun.