On my recent to trip North, I walked along one of the edges of the Goschen Bushland Reserve looking for birds. The early morning colour and light breeze made the new wheat look interesting. While photographing the wheat, a Raven flew to a nearby tree and collected what seemed to be wasps or flying ants.
Wheat fields, Goschen
Australian Raven, Goschen Bushland Reserve
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Australian Raven, Bird Photography, Goschen, Goschen Bushland Reserve, Nature Photography, Photography, Raven, Victoria
On my last day visiting the Goschen Bushland Reserve, I was exploring a section with a small grove of Mallee trees and I heard the unmistakable call of the small Striated Pardalote (about the size of a finger). It can be a difficult bird to photograph as it usually remains high in the canopy feeding on lerp and small insects so I froze and waited to see if it was as near as it sounded. I noticed the Pardalote fly down to the side of a Mallee with a small moth in its mouth. It disappeared into a tiny hole, quickly flew back out and took off across the grassy field to the brush on the other side. I found a position behind some close by trees and waited for it to return. Ten minutes later one of the parents turned up without any food squeezed into the holed and re-appeared with a faecal sack, flew to a nearby branch, discarded it and flew off to continue the hunt. Between feedings there are always house cleaning chores to keep the nest tidy.
Striated Pardalote at nest hole, Goschen Bushland Reserve, Goschen, Victoria, 2 Oct 2016
Striated Pardalote nest hole
Striated Pardalote at nest hole
Just dropped a faecal sack from the nest – this how many birds keep the nest clean and tidy, the chicks expel a sack of poo that the parent grabs and takes from the next and drops away from the area, leaving no indication of a nest.
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Goschen, Goschen Bushland Reserve, Mallee Trees, Nature Photography, Photography, Striated Pardalote, Victoria
One of the targets for my weekend trip to the Goschen Blushland Reserve was the Bluebonnet. It is a medium sized parrot that prefers the drier parts of the country. The Mallee region is a perfect place to find them. I saw many flying around the reserve during my three days there but could not get close enough for a decent photo. They feed on the ground looking for grass seeds and flower heads. Once flushed, by movement or sound, will fly up to a nearby tree and watch for a chance to fly back to the food or to fly further away if you walk towards them. They are extremely wary and I never got really close without them seeing me first.
I had no luck at Goschen but while photographing the Variegated Fairywrens at Tresco West I found a pair feeding on new grass seeds and they did not notice me. I saw the movement of the grass and froze and when a Bluebonnet poked its head I knew I had a good chance for a photo if I could move quietly and slowly enough. I did not think I would get anything other than a head shot in the grass but while focussing on one I noticed the other watching me from a nearby bush and slowly took a few shots. They finally spooked and flushed but I did manage a few nice shots showing their beautiful colours.
Greater Bluebonnet, Tresco West Bushland Reserve, Tresco West, Victoria
Greater Bluebonnet II
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Goschen Bushland Reserve, Greater Bluebonnet, Mallee, Nature Photography, Photography, Tresco West, Tresco West Busland Reserve, Victoria
I saw my first wild Cockatiel at Goschen Bushland Reserve on the weekend. I have seen a Cockatiel on the road near the You Yangs previously but I had assumed it was an injured escapee. The birds on the weekend were true wild Cockatiels. They were easier to approach than the other local parrots and cockatoos and were beautiful in flight, wide wings, flashing white markings and a lovely call which was easy to pick out amongst the other birds calling at the reserve. I found this little family a few times over the three days that I visited the reserve. A highlight of the trip north into the mallee country
Cockatiel, Goschen Bushland Reserve, Goschen, Victoria
I found a small family flock of 4 including an immature Cockatiel
Feeding on the new spring growth
Immature Cockatiel, Goschen Bushland Reserve, Goschen, Victoria
Last weekend I headed to the northern part of the state. I wanted to revisit the Goschen Bushland Reserve on the edge of the Mallee country. The state has been receiving a higher than average amount of rainfall and the Mallee has exploded with lush green grass and flowers. While many of the rare vagrant birds have not yet returned to this green oasis amongst the wheat and rapeseed fields surrounding it, many of the local resident species are enjoying the bounty and have started nesting.
I camped in the carpark of the reserve to ensure an early start. It was a very cold, windy, stormy night but I was up nice and early for the dawn chorus and a bit of sun to warm me up.
Goschen Bushland Reserve
The early bird gets the you know what….
I ended up seeing 3 hares on this trip including this one watching me carefully.
Brown Treecreeper – a noisy part of the dawn chorus
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike – has a very distinctive call.
Male Hooded Robin
Usually quite dry and sparsely vegetated, the bushland has exploded in grasses and flowers
Historical marker – while Goschen is a failed town, the school serviced the area for a number of decades
The Bushland is under a recently active management plan – new fences, rubbish removal and limited access points – this one is a quite tight squeeze
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black faced Cuckoo Shrike, Brown Treecreeper, Goschen Bushland Reserve, Hare, Hooded Robin, Nature Photography, Photography, Singing Honeyeater, Victoria
Late last year a sighting report came in for a Long Billed Dowitcher – a bird that usually heads down the American side of the Pacific on Summer migration from Siberia. This one seemed to have mistakenly come down the Australasian Migration Highway. It was the first time one had been seen in Australia let alone so far south and into Victoria. I got up early and with a birding mate made the 3 hour drive for my first real twitch to get a single bird onto my life list – one that may never been seen again in Australia. Within 15 mins of arriving at Lake Tutchewop we found the bird thanks to a line up of spotting scopes and photographers. It was cold and windy and after recent rains the lake’s wide sandy foreshore had turned to sticky slippery mud. I did not take any photos (other than two iPhone shots) but had some nice clear views of the red/brown shorebird via my scope.
Spotting scopes lined up, Lake Tutchewop, Vic,
Lake Tutchewop, Vic – to get close up images several keen photographers crawled forward of the main group and stayed low in the mud to make sure they did not spook the Dowitcher and the other waders in the water.
Having been very lucky and finding the bird so soon (many other twitchers making the long trip took hours or days to find it and several never saw it all due to it flying around the vast lake at different times of the day) we decided to make the most of the location and head over to Goschen Bushland Reserve, near Swan Hill. Goschen is a small grassy Mallee woodland remnant, site of a planned, partially built but abandoned town with an old hall, tennis courts and facilities – all now derelict. Several hours of exploring the area can produce a good list of mallee birds not generally found further south and some nice pictures.
Hooded Robin, Goschen
Hooded Robin II, Goschen
Singing Honeyeater II
Singing Honeyeater III
White Browed Woodswallow
White Browed Woodswallow II
White Browed Woodswallow III
On the way home we passed through Lake Boga and watched White Breasted Woodswallows feeding their chicks.
White Breasted Woodswallows, Lake Boga – parent with a nice sized dragonfly
White Breasted Woodswallows, Lake Boga
White Breasted Woodswallows: just like real estate – it is all about position – the chick in the middle kept missing out….bad position.
White Breasted Woodswallow chicks waiting patiently for their next feed.
Posted in Birds, Victoria, Victorian Reserves
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Goschen Bushland Reserve, Hooded Robin, Lake Boga, Lake Tutchewop, Long Billed Dowitcher, Nature Photography, Singing Honeyeater, Twitch, White Breasted Woodswallow, White-Browed Woodswallow