Tag Archives: Mallacoota

Karbeethong Regulars

One of the areas to explore when staying in Mallacoota is around Karbeethong Ave and Road. It is a small enclave of lovely houses and BnBs. One of the bnbs is Adobe Mudbrick houses. While I have not stayed overnight I often pass through the grounds looking for one of the regulars to be found there – the White-headed Pigeon. I showed a fellow birder who was new to the area where Adobe was and what to expect and while talking to one of the staff about the birdlife, we watched the antics of the local Rainbow Lorikeets. We also found one of the target birds for the day – The White-headed Pigeon.

Rainbow Lorikeet,  Karbeethong, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

Rainbow Lorikeets, Karbeethong

Rainbow Lorikeet,  Karbeethong, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

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Rainbow Lorikeet,  Karbeethong, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

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White-headed Pigeon, Karbeethong, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

White-headed Pigeon, Adobe Mudbrick Flats

The Patient Hunter

Spending time in the bush looking for birds makes you become more aware of sounds and small movements. If the birds are not being particularly vocal then you have to look for movement. Walking along a heathland walk just outside of town I saw movement on the ground and hoping to find a quail of some sort I instead stumbled onto a hunting scene. A Lace Monitor had caught a Ring-tailed Possum. I moved around the pair trying to keep a distance and found that the possum was still alive and weakly struggling. The large goanna became aware of me and broke off from the Possum and watched me a moment before dashing into thicker scrub. I gave the possum a nudge and it sat up, came out of a stupor, and scampered up a nearby tree and into its drey. I felt a little guilty disturbing the goanna in its hunt but being a mammal myself my guilt did not last too long…

Coming back along the track an hour later, I looked around the area for any sign of either combatant and found the goanna head height staring straight at me. It was in the same tree as the possum drey (nest) and I dont doubt that it would continue the hunt as soon as the possum re-appeared. My money would be on the reptilian patience.

Lace Monitor, Heathland walk, Mallacoota, 19 Dec 2016

Lace Monitor, Heathland walk, Mallacoota

Lace Monitor with Possum, Heathland walk, Mallacoota, 19 Dec 2016

Lace Monitor with Possum prey

Lace Monitor with Possum, Heathland walk, Mallacoota, 19 Dec 2016

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Lace Monitor with Possum, Heathland walk, Mallacoota, 19 Dec 2016

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Lace Monitor with Possum, Heathland walk, Mallacoota, 19 Dec 2016

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Lace Monitor with Possum, Heathland walk, Mallacoota, 19 Dec 2016

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Lace Monitor with Possum, Heathland walk, Mallacoota, 19 Dec 2016

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Lace Monitor with Possum, Heathland walk, Mallacoota, 19 Dec 2016

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Lace Monitor, Heathland walk, Mallacoota, 19 Dec 2016

Lace Monitor back hunting his prey

Azure Kingfisher – great name, beautiful bird

One of the main reasons to visit Gypsy Point, north of Mallacoota, is to go on the small boat cruise up the river to see the White Bellied Sea Eagles diving for fish. It is a great experience and something I do at least once on each trip to the far eastern districts. Along with the usual wetland and river birds that you can expect to see is the amazing Azure Kingfisher. It is a tiny bird, much smaller than expected and I am always surprised at its size, speed and hunting prowess. While the light was very dim I did manage to take a few high ISO shots of this colourful bird.

Azure Kingfisher, Gypsy point, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

Azure Kingfisher, Gypsy Point – still damp from its last dive into the shallows for prey

Azure Kingfisher, Gypsy point, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

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Azure Kingfisher, Gypsy point, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

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Azure Kingfisher, Gypsy point, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

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Azure Kingfisher, Gypsy point, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

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Azure Kingfisher, Gypsy point, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

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White-bellied Sea-eagle, Gypsy Point, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

White-bellied Sea-eagle, photographed from Captain John’s boat cruise along the river.

Grey Kangaroos, Gypsy Point, Victoria, 20 Dec 2016

Many Grey Kangaroos can be seen as well.

Sooty Oystercatchers

I visit Bastion Point each year to try and find the elusive Reef Egret. It has eluded me on 5 visits to Mallacoota. Many other birders seem to find and photograph the egret but I just keep missing it. I loop around the usual coastal spots where it likes to hunt in the rocks pools at the change of tides. While I miss the Egret I do quite often come across the Sooty Oystercatcher, a nice sized wader with all black plumage, bright orange/red eyes and bill and thick pink legs. The Pied Oystercatcher seems much more common than the Sooty and Bastion Point is a good location to find and photograph it (while waiting for my hoodoo bird to turn up)

While the Pied hunts across inlets, bays and waterways and is often seen in large numbers, the Sooty Oystercatcher prefers ocean facing rocky outcrops where it pries off molluscs from the rocks and catches small crustaceans wading in shallow rock pools. I often find them in pairs even in non-breeding season. I am always keen to try and find and photograph the Sooty.

Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastian Point, Mallacoota, 20 Dec 2016

Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastion Point, Mallacoota

Bastian Point, Mallacoota, 17 Dec 2016

The ocean beach side of Bastion Point, Mallacoota

Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastian Point, Mallacoota, 20 Dec 2016

Sooty Oystercatcher feeling for prey in a rock pool

Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastian Point, Mallacoota, 20 Dec 2016

A pair of Sooty Oystercatchers

Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastian Point, Mallacoota, 20 Dec 2016

Sooty Oystercatcher

Pied Oystercatcher, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Pied Oystercatcher, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota

 

Small birds of the far eastern forests.

Mallacoota is surrounded by the Croajingolong National Park wilderness. The dry forests and pockets of rainforest have many species of small birds. It is often a challenge to find them in the heat and humidity of summer but walking quietly in the morning can be rewarding. I am often surprised by their vibrant colours but when facing in a certain direction they can be invisible and difficult to see.

Eastern yellow Robin, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Eastern yellow Robin, Shipwreck Creek

Female Leaden Flycatcher, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Female Leaden Flycatcher, Double Creek

Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Shipwreck Creek trail

Golden Whistler, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Golden Whistler, Mallacoota

Scarlet Honeyeater, Bastian Point, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Scarlet Honeyeater, Mallacoota

Lewins Honeyeater, Mallacoota, Vic, 21 Dec 2016

Lewins Honeyeater, Mallacoota

Silvereyes, Mallacoota, Vic, 19 Dec 2016

Silvereyes, Mallacoota

Basian Thrush, Mallacoota, Vic, 19 Dec 2016

Basian Thrush, Mallacoota

Shipwreck Creek Beach and Heathland

One of my favourite spots in the Mallacoota area is Shipwreck Creek. There is a 6km trail from Shipwreck Creek to Seal Creek that moves through banksia scrub, through heathland, dry forest, a small patch of rain forest and back through heath and beach scrub. Each area of vegetation holds it own species of animals and birds.

Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

The tanin stained waters of Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota

Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Shipwreck Creek meets the ocean

Hooded Plover, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Hooded Plovers, tiny endangered beach birds, keeping under the wind.

Pied Oystercatcher, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Pied Oystercatcher on the beach

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater prefers the low scrub around heathlands

Southern Emu-wren

One of the key bird species that can be often found along the track between Shipwreck Creek to Seal Creek in Mallacoota, is the Southern Emu-wren. I always get a kick out of finding this tiny, long tailed Heathland bird. They can be difficult to find and photograph during the day but good hearing, a keen eye and an early morning walk through the heath can produce the occasional image of this secretive bird. Being small winged it can’t escape danger through flight and the long tail inhibits anything other than small jump flights. It must hide in the scrub throughout the day and work its area for food. In the morning and late evening it will often climb a dead branch and make its territorial calls to the neighbouring tribes.

Southern Emu-wrens, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Victoria 21 Dec 2016

Southern Emu-wrens, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Victoria 21 Dec 2016

Southern Emu-wren, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Victoria 21 Dec 2016

Southern Emu-wren

Southern Emu-wren, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Victoria 21 Dec 2016

Displaying the delicate 5 tail feathers of a male Southern Emu-wren