With the closing of the Elsternwick golf course and planned conversion to a wetlands and open parkland, the unmaintained grass of the old fairways is growing long and seeding. This is already bringing more bird species to the area to enjoy the seeds, including a small flock of Long-billed Corellas.
Long billed Corella, Elster Park North, Elternwick, Vic
After failing to find the Tawny Frogmouth’s nest, I got a few more directions and went back the next night to Elsternwick Park (North) and found it. It was in an obvious position and quite visible when you knew where to look and what to look for. The nest was more robust using more materials than I seem this species use before. I photographed the Frogmouth from a few angles, waiting to see whether the nesting parent would open its eyes. I moved to the front of the nest and took a few images and checked the back of the camera looking for clear shots and exposure when I noticed two yellow eyes looking out at me from the parent’s belly. Turns out the chicks had already hatched and were quite large. I only saw one chick moving about and it was quite curious about me. At one point it even had a good stretch of its wings. After a few shots I left them in peace to enjoy the late afternoon and get ready for evening’s hunting.
Tawny Frogmouth on nest, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic
I heard from a friend that there were nesting Tawny Frogmouths at the old Elsternwick Golf Course, now formerly called Elsternwick Park North (and wetlands). I spent some time looking for the nest with no luck. But I did find one of the pair roosting nearby. He was very relaxed and wasn’t by bothered by me at all. He did open his eyes and watch me for a minute while I stumbled around a bit trying to get a clearer shot below him. As it was dusk the sun was right in the worst possible position. These are one of my favourite birds, nocturnal, unafraid, and sit still for a photography to go nuts. They are also invisible to most eyes unless you are looking for the grey coloured lump in a tree that does not quite belong.
Tawny Frogmouth, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic
There has been a lot of media lately about local magpies diving bombing posties and kids going to school. A friend even had a nasty scratch on her face from an attack. I have lived in my area for many years and have never been bombed by the local maggies. I have read that they are very territorial but can actually recognise human faces in their territories, up to 25 distinct people. To play it safe when I walk past a magpie in the streets around my house I take my hat off and give them a clear view of my face. I have done this since I read the article on facial recognition. I reckon it works. I photographed this female (or juvenile, a mottled grey back indicates a female or juvenile) while walking my dog yesterday. She gave me a good long look and then went back to searching for grubs and other tasty morsels in the grass below a pedestrian bridge over the creek behind my house.
On an evening walk along Elster Creek and into the golf course recently I came across this little band of Long-billed Corellas. They were searching for seeds and working the grass for roots. I love the sound of the Corellas and will search them out along the creek. I have to find the birds to clearly ID them as I can’t tell the difference between Little Corellas and Long-billed by the calls. Even in flight it can be difficult unless you can spot the red/pink chest splash and red around the eyes
Click to play a recording by Andrew Spencer
Long-billed Corellas, Elster Creek (golf course), Elsternwick, Vic
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