It took 5 trips to Mallacoota but I finally found an Eastern Reef Egret, also called the Pacific Reef Heron. It is found along the east coast of Australia with its southern range ending around Mallacoota. While not rare along the east coast it has been my hoodoo bird. On my last trip in December I found one fishing on the rocks at Bastion Point and spent some time watching and photographing it. I took probably 400 photos and followed it along the exposed reef. It seemed comfortable with me sitting nearby and kept an exact flush distance. It briefly moved to the outer rocks when a few off leash dogs ran along the beach but came back closer once the dogs moved on. I was happy that I had finally found my Reef Heron. Two days later I found it again with its partner – or possibly two different birds, at Secret Beach along the coast.
Eastern Reef Egret, Bastion Point, Mallacoota, Vic
Hopping from rock to rock looking for prey
Occasionally getting swamped by waves
With the prize
At Secret Beach, I found two Reef Egrets resting and preening at high tide.
Eastern Reef Egrets, Secret Beach, Mallacoota, Vic
While photographing the two Egrets I moved as close as I could without making them nervous. Moving a little closer I straddled two rock outcrops above a small inlet and tried to balance. I got quite wet when a wave came in and broke over the front rock.
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bastion Point, Bird Photography, Eastern Reef Egret, Lifer, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Pacific Reef Heron, Photography, Victoria
Recently I stopped by Braeside Park to look for the reported Long Toed Stint, a tiny, rare, migratory shorebird. It was fairly easy to find with the help of other birders all lined up with their scopes looking for it as well. Eventually we found it working the mudflat on the main lagoon with a few Sharp-tailed sandpipers, a Pectoral sandpiper (another rare shorebird) and a bunch of Red-kneed dotterells. The Stint became my 350th Lifer and 348th Vic Tick.
On the way back to my car I checked the car park area looking for the pair of Tawny Frogmouths that can usually be found in the trees around the cars. I found them on a low branch taking a bit of late afternoon sunshine. Always a favourite find in any location and a nice way to finish the successful twitch.
Tawny Frogmouth, practicing its “just a branch, nothing to see here” pose,
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Braeside Park, Lifer, lifer 350, Nature Photography, Photography, Tawny Frogmouth, Victoria
A friend and I took off early one morning after Christmas for a 2 day birding trip north to look for several lifers and to stock up on a few species not seen this year. At Lake Tutchewop, the site of an 2015 twitch for the Long Billed Dowitcher, we were looking for Orange and Scarlet Chats as well as White winged Fairy-Wrens in summer breeding plumage. It is a fairly barren place, hot, dry and windy in summer and cold, wet, windy and very muddy in winter. We actually visited twice over the 2 days, once on the way up and a return visit on the way home. It was on the second trip that we found the Orange Chats. A small, timid, bright orange bird feeding on insects and seeds amongst the low saltbushes along several tracks and fence-lines. I saw at first dozens of White-fronted Chats and slowly walked through the feeding birds trying to get closer – the White Chats have a decent flush zone and getting a nice clear photo is hard. While standing still for a while to trying pretend I was just a tree and not a threat to them, a bright orange bird popped into view. Trying to stay calm and not prematurely start my victory dance I signalled for John, back near the cars, to come over and share in the view. We stayed an hour and saw many Chats – there must have been at least 30 Orange Chats and many more White-fronted. While the closest photos taken were shooting into the sun, by walking slowly and keeping low I managed to get a few decent shots and quite a few observations. The Orange Chat took my Aussie Lifers to 349 and my Vic Ticks to 347.
Orange Chat, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic
Lake Tutchewop, Kerang, Vic,
White Fronted Chat, Lake Tutchewop
Orange Chat, Lake Tutchewop
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Kerang, Lake Tutchewop, Lifer, Lifer 349, Nature Photography, Orange Chat, Photography, Victoria, White Fronted Chat