A drop in visit to the Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna reserve after all the rain lately meant a slog through the mud and water along the paths to the Quarry. It was fairly quiet as the birds seemed to be in a bit of shell-shock only making a bit more noise and becoming more mobile when the sun made an appearance every now and again. I walked along a path where I regularly see Eastern Yellow Robins and while trying to photograph a pair hunting I noticed a young Kookaburra watching me with interest. He did not seem bothered at all by how close I was…
Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Victoria
One of the resident Peregrine Falcons at the Quarry, keeping warm by puffing up the feathers with trapped air.
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Nature Photography, Peregrine Falcon, Photography, Victoria
I followed the sound of the Kookaburras hoping to get a clear shot of one. In the forests they don’t tend to let you get too close. I found this one enjoying some late afternoon sun. After a few moments he noticed something behind me and took off and flew straight at me, swerving at the last second and down onto the path 10 or so meters behind me, pouncing onto some prey and then flying back up into the trees.
Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry
Kookaburra spotting prey (or my hat)
Spotted Pardalotes are tiny colourful birds that mostly feed in the tree canopy. They have quite a distinctive call but are not often seen. During the breeding season they come down from the trees and rather than build a nest in the branches they dig a small tunnel in a sandy bank – the tunnel has a small mouse sized opening but can be a metre long. I found this little family trying out a bank near where I happened to be photographing a family of nesting Yellow Robins. They had dug a few test holes and were looking at each others work. For such a shy bird they were very focussed on the potential nest holes and ignored my presence.
Female Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry
Male Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry
Above the Pardalotes were three White-naped Honeyeaters chasing each other. This one stopped and watched the Pardalotes for a while. The White-nape has a interesting call and bright Orange eye marking.
White Naped Honeyeater, Moorooduc Quarry
Moorooduc Quarry is fast becoming one of my favourite places to bird. It is a compact site with a variety of vegetation and landscapes and many bird species.
On the latest visit to check in on the Yellow Robin family I found the Robin now sitting on eggs in the nest.
Brooding Eastern Yellow Robin.
Keeping a careful eye on me – I kept my distance
I also found a few regulars and a new one for my site records – a Bassian Thrush – a speckled bird a little larger than a blackbird that loves to forage in the understory of thick cooler forests. While I was trying to photograph the Yellow Robins it popped out to see what the fuss was – posed for a few moments and then dashed back into the thick scrub. I have rarely seen a Bassian Thrush and this is only the second time I have been fast enough to get a photo.
Bassian Thrush, Moorooduc Quarry
Grey Butcherbird watching the antics of the Galahs
Female Galah watching the nearby group of male Galahs, Moorooduc Quarry
Male Galah enjoying some dandelion seed heads.
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Bassian Thrush, Bird Photography, Eastern Yellow Robin, Eastern Yellow Robin Nest, Galah, grey butcherbird, Moorooduc Quarry, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Nature Photography, Victoria
Moorooduc Quarry is a very good site for woodlands birds and for the Peregrine Falcon. The quarry is cut out from a hillside in Mt Eliza and from the top has vast views of the surrounding countryside. With such great views and an abundance of potential prey it is no wonder that the Peregrines can be found here all year round. They also breed at the site each year.
On a recent visit I walked into the quarry and looked for the Peregrines amongst the tall dead trees that overhang at the top of the cliffs. Spotting a Peregrine on a tall tree near one of the tracks that circle the lip of the quarry I thought I would try my luck and sneak up for a photo. I am pretty sure he watched me all the way, gave me a bit of chance for a photo through the fringing bushes and then took off and flew to the other side of the quarry. When the Peregrine took off he just leaned forward and dropped straight down to build up speed, glided for a while and then flew up to the other side.
Near the top of the Quarry, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve
View into part of the lake at Moorooduc
Peregrine Falcon – a regular at the site, watching me puff my way up the steep track.
Dropping straight down the cliff edge to build up speed.
It has been a long cold Winter here in Southern Victoria. Lately the weekends have been good enough to get out, explore and photograph birds and other wildlife.
Our small crew of intrepid birders decided on a big day of birding down the southern coast, exploring a mix of favourite locations and a few spots that others have not been to before. We started off at Rickett’s Point
for Terns and a good start with one of the crew picking up a lifer – a lone tiny Double banded Plover. We stopped briefly at Mordialloc Creek mouth for more tern spotting, and then onto Moorooduc Quarry
for Peregrine Falcons, woodland birds and the bonus of a rare and endangered Growling Grass Frog. Tootgarook Swamp was the main target for the day for a general bird survey to help provide evidence to stop yet another real estate development draining the remaining wetlands. We finished with an early evening bushwalk around the Baldry Circuit at Green’s Bush.
There are signs in the bush that the weather will soon be changing. Mates, territories and food sources are being defended and nests are being built. Birds are looking for good locations and appropriate material to build their nests.
At Moorooduc Quarry we came across a pair of Eastern Yellow Robins building a new nest. It was being made out of paperbark strips for framing and held together with spider-web, packed down and then stuffed with moss and lichen. A lovely piece of engineering. I will have to go back and see the finished product and see how long until the chicks are hatched. They picked a good spot amongst a small dense grove of saplings that would make it difficult to find the nest and hard for larger birds to swoop in and attack the nest.
Eastern Yellow Robin nest
Eastern Yellow Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin building a nest – The robin circled around the rim and using its wings and chest to press the lichen into the top of the rim
Applying a bit more spider web and using its bill to push in the lichen and moss
Eastern Yellow Robin nest – under construction
Eastern Yellow Robin trying its nest on for size…
Along the Moorooduc Highway that heads down to the Mornington Peninsula is the Mt Eliza Regional Park. A section of this park is called the Moorooduc Flora and Fauna Reserve. It is the site of an old (1887) stone and ballast quarry used for the railway sleeper beds for the Baxter to Mornington railway connection. The quarry is now flooded and has been converted to a Flora and Fauna Reserve and is particularly good for birds. The quarry is actually fenced off due to dangerous cliffs and rockfalls but holes in the fence have been created by locals wishing to access the water and quarry site. When I was there last week locals were walking dogs and fishing in the quarry. The high cliffs provide good nest sites for Peregrine Falcons to nest. Over the last few years I have seen several fledgelings learning to fly and hunt.
Old Moorooduc Quarry
Old Moorooduc Quarry II
Walking from the carpark to the quarry I noticed a number of new fledglings being attended to by their parents.
Juvenile Dusky Woodswallow
Juvenile Dusky Woodswallow II – demanding food from a parent nearby
Juvenile Dusky Woodswallow III
Young Grey Fantail – how could you not respond to those eyes?
Striated Thornbill II
Striated Thornbill III
Striated Thornbill IV
Striated Thornbill V
Striated Thornbill VI
Common Bronzewing II
Eastern Yellow Robin – what you looking at?
Eastern Yellow Robin II
Flowering Water Lillies in Moorooduc Quarry
Posted in Birds, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Victoria, Water Lillies
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Common Bronzewing, Dusky Woodswallow, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Mt Eliza Regional Park, Nature Photography, Photography, Striated Thornbill, Victoria, Water Lillies