Tag Archives: Greens Bush

Bright bird, hidden home.

While I was standing still and studying the Superb fairy-wrens for the ebird study, I noticed a Yellow Robin flying into a nearby prickly current-bush. I soon found its late season (or second) nest and watched as the Robin made several trips bringing back spider-web and soft materials for the interior of the nest. It would squeeze itself down and shape the bowl.

Later I found another Robin nest carefully placed in the broken fork of a small tree down in a rainforest gully. Unless you stopped and looked at the fork you would never have noticed the nest – it was so well camouflaged with moss and lichen. I must have walked past this nest dozens of times and never saw it or its occupants while it was active.

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin building and moulding its nest

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Off for more material

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Back to continue shaping

Eastern Yellow Robin nest 2 Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Well hidden Eastern Yellow Robin nest 

Eastern Yellow Robin nest 2 Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Invisible to the casual eye, even though chest high and on the trail. 

Front View, Rear View

For a small bird that is brightly coloured during breeding season, the male Superb fairy-wren is a noisy bird that likes to alert everything nearby that a stranger has come close or into its territory. It is a curious bird that will pop up onto a branch, have a look at the potential danger and then disappear quickly back into low foliage. Over winter, spring and early summer, I have been paying extra attention to these little birds, participating in the study to gauge the male’s transition to full breeding plumage each year. We are supposed to track what plumage stage each bird is in that we find as we walk our favourite areas. The species has a defined territory making the little tribe (2 to 6 birds) easier to find each time. The study has made it more interesting finding this quite common bird. Usually I just record it as a day or site tick on my list and then ignore it. Having to study the individual family groups for a 15-20 minutes session, identifying the sexes, plumage phase types, general activity and any interaction between groups makes it much more interesting. A by-product of this stationary watch means I see others birds as they fly by or pop out of the nearby scrub.

Superb Fairy-wren, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Superb Fairy-wren, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Superb Fairy-wren II, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

II

 

A yellow-tailed Vandal

As I sorted out my camera gear out for my weekly walk around Green’s Bush I heard a crunching in the trees above my car. Several Yellow-tailed black cockatoos were tearing into the branches of a Blackwood tree. Cockatoos will often attack tree branches (and houses) to keep their every growing bills trim and to find insect larvae boring into the wood.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Male YTBC with pink eye ring

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

One of my favourite birds is the Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, a colourful, gregarious bird with a very distinctive call.  It has a confiding nature and the juveniles can be quite curious. When I made a phishing noise the young one photographed below came in closer for a look at me and then started to call. The Birdlife Australia site describes the call as jerky, musical “liquid and guttural gurgling jumble”. Looking at the bristles below the ear I noticed that there are a few yellow ones – the sign of a young bird. Now that I am often carrying recording gear. I hope to record the species quite soon. I have found an area of the southern section of  Green’s Bush where I occasionally hear  the species.

Juvenile Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Young Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

II

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

III

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

IV

Using the Bassian Thrush flush zone

While an early start at Green’s Bush means a good chance of finding Bassian Thrush it also means a lot less light available for the photo. The long lens needs a good amount of light for a nice clear photo.  While taking the series of the thrush collecting nesting material I crouched as low as possible to the ground and slowly pushed the bassian using its own flush distance zone to move it into better light. This is the distance that it will allow me to approach (about 5-7 metres) without flying off or moving up the path. If the Bassian does not feel threatened it will just walk up the path away from me and continue to feed to collect material. I move a few metres forward and it moves forward. Crouching down I found I could get inside the usual zone but it was hard on the knees.

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

II

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Bassian Thrush collecting nesting material

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

II

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

III

Stranger Danger

 

The tracks around Green’s Bush are full of nests, juveniles and adults frantically feeding their nestlings. The Eastern Yellow Robins are all along the circuit walk hunting within their territories and alerting their mates when an intruder walks along. The Robin has a number of alert calls and this one was making a piping call and keeping an eye on me as I walked underneath. I must have been near the nest as it did not fly to a lookout a bit further away as they usually would when I try to photograph them.

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park

ii

Varied Sittella

Over the last two years I have seen an increase in the numbers of Varied Sittellas moving in small family flocks. They may have been around much longer but they travel and feed fairly high in the tree canopy and sound very much like Striated Thornbills. It wasn’t until I stood still long enough to watch a mixed feeding flock that I discovered them. Now I see them quite often in a number of spots around the Greens Bush circuit. I read up about them recently and learned that they are quite vocal in their feeding groups (and do sound different to Striated and Red-browed Finches, all of which are high pitched chirps) and that people often mistake them for treecreepers due to their feeding habit. I watch them working the trees with treecreepers and can see that they are a fair bit smaller, more stubby. What I have not noticed is that they spiral down branches and trunks while the treecreepers spiral upwards. I can’t believe I never noticed it and it probably means I am spending too much time ticking off birds for listings rather than observing. I also read that the males have longer bills and tend to feed lower in the trees while females stay higher. Time to get more observant.

Varied Sittella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic