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
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
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
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.
Elster Creek runs through the local golf course. Over the last few years the number of local Eastern Rosellas has started to increase and now we actually have a pair nesting in a new breeding box built by a local naturalist Gio. So many mature trees with hollows have been cut down that the Rosellas and many other hollow nesters don’t have anywhere locally to breed. Gio has been building boxes for several years and has come up with designs to suit various species as well as stop the possums from taking the box for their own. He trials the possum proof designs on his own backyard fence. The rosella is a favourite for photographers but can be a challenge as they are quite timid and flighty around people. I found the one below acting as a lookout for a group feeding on pine cone seeds in a confer.
Eastern Rosella, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Victoria