Tag Archives: Elsternwick Lake

The Muskies are coming…

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.

Musk Lorikeet, Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick, Vict, 3 Dec 2016

Musk Lorikeet, Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick

Musk Lorikeet, Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick, Vict, 3 Dec 2016

II

Musk Lorikeet, Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick, Vict, 3 Dec 2016

III

Musk Lorikeet, Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick, Vict, 3 Dec 2016

IV

Musk Lorikeet, Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick, Vict, 3 Dec 2016

V

Musk Lorikeet, Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick, Vict, 3 Dec 2016

VI

Musk Lorikeet, Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick, Vict, 3 Dec 2016

VII

 

Spring is here…

I enjoyed a walk to the local lake and along the Elster Creek with some of the local birders late Saturday afternoon. Many of the resident birds are starting to nest and raise chicks. It is a noisy, busy time with much activity. Several neighbourhood locals are keeping an eye on the breeding swans and sadly the cygnet count has already gone from 6 to 3 in a few weeks. I daresay the foxes at the golf course are also raising young.

Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

Spring along Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

Elsternwick Lake Swamphens, Elsternwick, VictoriaElsternwick Lake Swamphens, Elsternwick, Victoria

Elsternwick Lake Swamphens, Elsternwick, Victoria

Elsternwick Lake Swan family, Elsternwick, Victoria

Elsternwick Lake Swan family

Elsternwick Lake cygnet, Elsternwick, Victoria,

one of the cygnets

Elsternwick Lake Swan, Elsternwick, Victoria

A watchful parent…

Elsternwick Lake Little Pied Cormorant, Elsternwick, Victoria

Elsternwick Lake Little Pied Cormorant

The wary ablutions of a Welcome Swallow

On a recent walk to the local lake I was walking along the edge for a while and watching for the Spotless Crake that has taken up residence on the small island in the lake.  Standing still for a while I happened to look up and on a branch of a dead tree overhanging the lake I noticed a Welcome Swallow. It had just landed  and was now grooming in the late afternoon sun-light. It made fast motions and was quite aware of everything around it including me. Butcherbirds were calling so it knew that a possible predator was in the area. The swallow would be very hard to catch in the air but possible to take when on a branch. I have not taken any decent shots of a Swallow in the air so took advantage of one that remained fairly still for a few minutes.

Welcome Swallow, Elsternwick Park Lake, Victoria, 6 April 2015

Welcome Swallow, Elsternwick Park Lake, Victoria, 6 April 2015

Welcome Swallow, Elsternwick Park Lake, Victoria, 6 April 2015

With fast grooming motions

Welcome Swallow, Elsternwick Park Lake, Victoria, 6 April 2015

it gave attention to every long feather

Welcome Swallow, Elsternwick Park Lake, Victoria, 6 April 2015

stopped for another quick look around for danger

Welcome Swallow, Elsternwick Park Lake, Victoria, 6 April 2015

waggled its tail feathers

Welcome Swallow, Elsternwick Park Lake, Victoria, 6 April 2015

gave special attention to the flight feathers

Welcome Swallow, Elsternwick Park Lake, Victoria, 6 April 2015

every feather inspected and put back into position

Welcome Swallow, Elsternwick Park Lake, Victoria, 6 April 2015

all done…and now another quick flight to catch a snack over the water…

Thornbill and the Irregulars…

While waiting for a neighbour to come by so we could walk over to the lake and along Elster Creek I saw this little Brown Thornbill in a tree that overhangs my front garden. Not a very common bird in inner suburbia unless you have good undergrowth for it to escape the attention of other aggressive birds and the predator Butcherbird. I have seen the Thornbills for a couple of years now in the street so the cover must be improving.

Brown Thornbill

Brown Thornbill

After watching the Thornbill for few minutes we walked over to the Lake and saw a few birds, some regular and some not some common.

Australasian Grebe

Australasian Grebe in breeding plumage – one of the three Grebes we see in Victoria but not very often at the Lake

Willie Wagtail,

Willie Wagtail – a regular in low numbers

Masked Lapwing

Masked Lapwing – usually a few somewhere in the area and often heard during the night flying over the suburb squawking loudly all the way.

Magpie Lark

Male Magpie Lark – a crazy bird during breeding season – will attack any reflection of itself even in sunglasses on top of a woman’s head…

Hardhead

Female Hardhead – not that common here. Also called a White-eyed Duck due to the males white eye ring. Has found sanctuary here to escape the current Duck Season.

And One Chick became Two….

After my last visit to the lake to observe and photograph the Spotless Crake and the Grebes I went back a few days later and while watching the Grebe with the chick we noticed another little head… a second chick.

Previously we had seen the Grebe with one chick:

Hoary Headed Grebe

Hoary Headed Grebe with a passenger

And then we saw the Grebe with two little passengers…

Hoary Headed Grebe and chicks

Hoary Headed Grebe and chicks

Hoary Headed Grebe and chicks

Hoary Headed Grebe and chicks – one at the front being fed a morsel while in the back seat the second chick tries to climb on board.

Hoary Headed Grebe and chicks

Hoary Headed Grebe and chicks – mum leaves the chicks on the surface and dives to the bottom for food

Hoary Headed Grebe and chicks

Hoary Headed Grebe chicks

Hoary Headed Grebe and chicks

Two tiny Grebe chicks barely heavy enough to break the water tension,

Hoary Headed Grebe and chicks

Hoary Headed Grebe and chicks – back with dinner.

It is Autumn but the Grebes think it is Spring.

While we were watching the Spotless Crake, I took a few shots of the Hoary Headed Grebe that had passed by just below the platform we were standing on. Usually Grebes don’t get too close to humans and will automatically dive under water if they feel threatened in anyway. Just looking at them directly can make them disappear. This one stayed nearby and did not dive at all, it just dibbled a bit under the surface. The young eagle-eyes of one of my fellow birders noticed a splash of orange/red on the grebe’s back and said that it might be injured. Meanwhile I just kept shooting…..

Hoary Headed Grebe

Hoary Headed Grebe

Hoary Headed Grebe

Hoary Headed Grebe with a little splash of colour in the centre of its back.

 

and then out popped a hitch-hiker….

Hoary Headed Grebe

Hoary Headed Grebe with very young chick

Hoary Headed Grebe

Hoary Headed Grebe – the grebe is a small bird and its chick is tiny…

Hoary Headed Grebe

Hoary Headed Grebe – feeding very small bits of weed

Hoary Headed Grebe

Hoary Headed Grebe – get along mummy….

Birds will continue to breed through Spring/Summer/Autumn if there is a stable food source and minimum threats.  The local birders have not seen Grebes breed at the Lake before and it is a good sign.

I spotted a Crake, a Spotless Crake

A fairly uncommon bird was seen at the local lake a few weeks ago and when I received the call from the local birder network, I quickly grabbed my gear and headed over to try my luck.

The Spotless Crake is a tiny wader that skulks in the reeds along muddy edges. I have not seen one locally and not many anywhere else. This little bird was quite adventurous and not timid at all. It occasionally bolted back into its little tunnels along the bank but soon came out again.

Spotless Crake

Spotless Crake – passing a tennis ball which gives an idea of its size.

Spotless Crake

Spotless Crake II

 Several other birds were nearby that did not seem to bother the Crake very much. The only bird that had a go and made the Crake jump a bit was an aggro Willie Wagtail and as soon as it moved on the Grebe popped back out again.

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant – in the dead tree above the Crake

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant – near the Crake.

Spotless Crake and Grebe

Spotless Crake and Grebe