Tag Archives: Little Wattlebird

Little Wattlebird of Wilson Botanic Park

Today, with a few of the Port Phillip Birders, I visited the Wilson Botanic Park in Berwick. We were searching for the reported Channel-billed Cuckoo but while we were unsuccessful we did find a number of other beautiful birds. Much of the bottlebrush was in full bloom and attracted many birds feeding on the nectar.

Little Wattlebird, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, 30 Oct 2016

Little Wattlebird, enjoying the nectar of the native Bottlebrush

Little Wattlebird, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, 30 Oct 2016

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Little Wattlebird, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, 30 Oct 2016

III – I did not notice the second bird in the right hand bottom corner until processing. 

 

A Day in the Sun

A beautiful sunny day in Melbourne today. Met up with Dave E down at St Kilda Marina to look for some uncommon birds. No luck for me but we did find the more common birds and enjoyed some rare sunshine. Walked back up Elster Creek and ran into Gio (another local birder) and took a few more pics. Quite nice to be out and in the sun for a change – it has been so cold and wet lately.

Currawong, Elster Creek

Currawong, Elster Creek

Little Wattlebird, Elwood

Little Wattlebird, Elwood

Cormorants and Gull

Cormorants and Pacific Gull

Great Egret, Elster Creek

Great Egret, Elster Creek

Great Egret, Elster Creek

Great Egret, Elster Creek

En Plein Air Artist

En Plein Air Artist

An unexpected bonus, a Bassian Thrush…

After spending a part of yesterday at the farm working the patch for Fanior and Henry, I stopped in at Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve for a walk in the mid afternoon sunlight. It was cool, calm and very quiet, not many species of birds around expect for quite a few White-Eared and New Holland Honeyeaters. Walking along the Emu Wren Track I noticed a bird on an overhanging branch. I was quite surprised and delighted to find it was a Bassian Thrush. I have only seen a few of this species over the last few years and this was my first time photographing one.  I suspect it was a juvenile by the way it seemed to be crouched and begging a bit. I did not see any adults but they are much more secretive and generally harder to see and find.

Juvenile Bassian Thrush

Juvenile Bassian Thrush

Juvenile Bassian Thrush

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Juvenile Bassian Thrush

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In the late afternoon light I found some large banksias that had a few Little Wattlebirds feeding on the flowers.

Little Wattlebird

Little Wattlebird

An autumn evening along the Rosebud Foreshore

As the final site of a weekend of birding down the coast a few weeks ago, I walked along the Rosebud foreshore beach just enjoying the company of friends and a nice Autumn evening. I took the camera along just in case something interesting was discovered. I practiced shooting on several birds and tried to sneak up on a few others ( a bit tricky with friends, kids and dogs everywhere)

Rosebud Foreshore, Victoria 12 April 2015

Rosebud Pier, Victoria

Silver Gulls, Rosebud Foreshore, Victoria 12 April 2015

Silver Gulls, Rosebud Foreshore

A White Faced Heron was hunting in the water with a technique that I had seen Silver gulls use in a similar way – it would lift its leg out of the water, slowly move it forward and down and then wiggle it agitating the sand. It would then pounce on anything that moved.

White Faced Heron, Rosebud Foreshore, Victoria 12 April 2015

White Faced Heron

White Faced Heron, Rosebud Foreshore, Victoria 12 April 2015

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White Faced Heron, Rosebud Foreshore, Victoria 12 April 2015

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White Faced Heron IV, Rosebud Foreshore, Victoria 12 April 2015

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I noticed a Black Shouldered Kite patrolling the beach and the nearby scrub looking for mice. A large Silver Gull took a dislike to the Kite and tried to chase it off. The Gull is a master of flying in all conditions and I expected it to move the Kite away from the area but the Kite just kept turning at the last second and the gull would over-shoot. The Silver Gull did not give up easily and it was beautiful to watch the unconcerned Kite twist and turn away from the chasing Gull. It made the larger Gull look clumsy.

Gull and Black Shouldered Kite, Rosebud Foreshore, Victoria 12 April 2015

Silver Gull and Black Shouldered Kite, Rosebud Foreshore

Gull and Black Shouldered Kite, Rosebud Foreshore, Victoria 12 April 2015

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Gull and Black Shouldered Kite, Rosebud Foreshore, Victoria 12 April 2015

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Little Wattlebird, Rosebud Foreshore, Victoria 12 April 2015

Little Wattlebird feeding on the nectar of a Banskia flower. 

Chicks with big feet and an Angry Dad

Karkarook Park is an old sand quarry site in Heatherton that has been rehabilitated into wetlands, a large multipurpose lake and bushland. It is a good site for Birding (50+ species in a few hours) and photography. It is used by locals for exercise, fishing, dog walking and picnics. The wetlands are excellent for spotting the rarer waders like crakes and rails and often migrating birds will stop for a few days rest – Stilts, Dotterals and the very rare Little Bittern.

On my last visit I watched as some newly hatched Dusky Moorhen and Coot chicks took to the water and were fed by their parents. I was quite surprised by the size of their feet.

Dusky Moorhen Chick

Dusky Moorhen Chick

Dusky Moorhen Chick

Dusky Moorhen Chick II

Dusky Moorhen & Chick

Dusky Moorhen & Chick

Eurasian Coot and chick

Eurasian Coot feeding its chick small bits of water weed.

Eurasian Coot and chicks

Eurasian Coot and chicks

Eurasian Coot and chicks II,

Eurasian Coot and chicks II,

I was walking down one of the woodlands paths when I was buzzed by a Willie Wagtail that was clearly agitated. They can be quite aggressive with other birds and are a very good bush alarm giving a clear distinctive warning (chicka chicka) when something dangerous is nearby: snakes, foxes, large lizards etc. But they don’t usually worry too much about people. I stood still and had a look around and realized that just near my knees in a bit of scrub were 2 Wagtail chicks that must have just come out of the nest. They did not fly away and just watched the parent. I moved back a few metres and sat down next to a tree. The parent then ignored me and started to feed his chicks. The other parent was on the other side of the bush looking after a third chick.

Willie Wagtail

Angry Willie Wagtail

Willie Wagtail II

Willie Wagtail II

Willie Wagtail III

An Angry Dad giving me the stink eye…..

Willie Wagtail fledglings

Willie Wagtail fledglings – 3rd chick just visible to the right

Willie Wagtail fledglings II

Willie Wagtail fledglings II

Little Wattlebird

Little Wattlebird

Little Wattlebird II

Little Wattlebird II

Red Kneed Dotteral

Any guess why this bird is called a Red Kneed Dotteral?

The Red Browed Finch caught my attention when it flew up to the top of a fence line and started to bop up and down with a delicate grass seed stem. He put on quite a show for a few minutes but when the female ignored him he dropped the seeds and flew off….

Red Browed Finch

Dancing Red Browed Finch

Great Cormorant

Great Cormorant drying out on a pier post – there are a number of Cormorants resident on the lake.

Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve – a small bird haven

I explored a new bush park today, on the outskirts of Frankston, Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve. It is a good sized reserve with many well managed and signposted tracks and a wide fire break running down the centre of the park. I spent a few hours investigating several of the Northern  trails and found quite a number of smaller birds. The bush is very thick and dense with the only access via the trails – it is too thick to get into. It is a haven for the smaller birds while the larger birds stick to the taller gums. A few uncommon birds seen were Grey Currawongs, a Collared Sparrowhawk and 2 Wedge Tail Eagles circling very high. Many of the gum trees were flowering and there seemed to be a good supply of Lerp on the leaves as well. The birds were quite aggressive towards other species and each other – a sign of a supply of food worth defending.

Yellow Faced Honeyeater

Yellow Faced Honeyeater

New Holland Honeyeater,

New Holland Honeyeater,

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Little Wattlebird

Little Wattlebird

Grey Shrike Thrush

Grey Shrike Thrush

Collared Sparrowhawk

Collared Sparrowhawk

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And my usual forest companion:

Eastern Yellow Robin

Eastern Yellow Robin

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Elster Creek and the Nursery Tree

I have a large Illawarra Flame tree in bloom at the moment. On average it blooms only every second or third year. It is a tropical/sub tropical tree and not really meant for these southern climates. It seems to get confused when to drop leaves and flower. It is mostly out of cycle with the southern seasons. Around Christmas for 6 weeks or so, it breaks out in a mass of small nectar filled red flower cups that the local birds absolutely love – especially the Rainbow Lorikeets. It is also used as one of the roosting spots for the local family of Magpies. A pair of magpies can claim a territory for 20 years plus and use a few trees in the territory to make their calls. The tree is currently being used as a nursery for two magpie fledglings, juvenile rainbow lorikeets and two juvenile Red Wattlebirds.

The Magpies stay put until a parent either comes to feed them or take them down onto the creek side grass. I can tell when the parent has arrived as the young Magpie starts making a begging call. While I watched the fledgeling it moved around the tree biting the leaves, bark, branches, flowers and any other bird in reach. Magpies don’t eat in trees other than to feed nestlings or fledgelings so it seemed to be killing time by exploring the branches and watching out for the parents (and occasionally watching me work in the back courtyard)

Juvenile Magpie, Elwood Flame Tree, Vic -  5 Jan 2014

Juvenile Magpie, Elwood Flame Tree, Vic – 5 Jan 2014

Two young Red Wattlebirds stayed in the tree sampling the various flowers keeping well away from the juv Magpie who was starting to build up to a tantrum – tearing leaves and flinging them about.

Juvenile Red Wattle Bird, Flame Tree, Elwood, Vic  - 5 Jan 2014

Juvenile Red Wattlebird, Flame Tree, Elwood, Vic – 5 Jan 2014


The young Rainbow Lorikeets were perched on the same branch for a few hours and kept themselves occupied by grooming each other, bickering and chewing on the seed pod. They are well named with a multi-coloured chest and head  – the juveniles are more mottled with the colours which settle into solid forms as an adult.

Juvenile Rainbow Lorikeets, Elwood Flame Tree, Vic -  5 Jan 2014

Juvenile Rainbow Lorikeets, Elwood Flame Tree, Vic – 5 Jan 2014

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 IV - their back colours are quite a dull green and when the birds are quiet they are just about invisible in the green leaves. I expect  the green back is for protection against raptors.

IV – their back colours are quite a dull green and when the birds are quiet they are just about invisible in the green leaves. I expect the green back is for protection against overhead raptors. It is on the menu for a number of local birds of prey.

Rainbow Lorikeet, Flame Tree, Elwood, Vic 5 Jan 2014 -I watched the 2 lorikeets on and off for a while and did not even notice this one on a branch nearby.

Rainbow Lorikeet, Flame Tree, Elwood, Vic 5 Jan 2014 – I watched the 2 lorikeets on and off for a while and did not even notice this one on a branch nearby.

Later as I walked along the creek, I found a few more juveniles and families.

Chestnut Teal family, Elster Creek, Elwood, Vic -  5 Jan 2014

Chestnut Teal family, Elster Creek, Elwood, Vic – 5 Jan 2014

At Elsternwick Lake, next to the creek, I watched a family of Red Wattlebirds taking a mid afternoon plunge. I have only seen these birds bathing at my bird bath and assumed a more standard gentle form of bathing. At the lake I watched them plunge into the water and fly up to a roost to groom and clean and then plunge in again…they became very wet and spent some time cleaning.

Juvenile Red Wattle Bird grooming, Elster Creek, Elwood, Vic  - 5 Jan 2014

Juvenile Red Wattlebird grooming, Elster Creek, Elwood, Vic – 5 Jan 2014 – the juvenile only has a small red cheek wattle where the adult has a much larger and longer version

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II – wattle does a waggle, drying those hard to reach places

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III – yep, feet all clean

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IV – under arms all good

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V – get behind those ears…