Tag Archives: Mornington Peninsula National Park

Bassian Thrush winter project?

After the wild weather of last Saturday it was nice to get out into the Greens Bush forest again on Sunday and see what was happening. It was still early, a bit cold and many of the usual species I see there had decided to sleep in. One of the highlights beside some nice morning sun was finding several Bassian Thrush feeding on parts of the circuit track. Being quite dark under the trees I tried using the flash with some limited success but had better luck when I slowly followed the Thrush up the track a few steps at a time staying low until it finally moved into a mottled sun patch. This species is generally quite shy and due to its skulking nature has not been studied well. I see a few Thrushes most times I visit Greens Bush so I know it is a good spot for them. I can feel a project coming on.

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

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

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Starting Winter at Southern Greens Bush

I re-visited the Southern section of Greens Bush yesterday.  Winter has just started here but the mornings are already quite cold. Luckily the beginning of the track is quite open and I could warm up a bit in the sun. The first few birds I saw threw me a bit as I tried to identify them. They turned out to be Brown Thornbills that were still puffed up from the extra air in their plumage to keep warm over night. They were little puff balls and looked a lot larger than normal. Walking through the mature Banksia forest I could see a bird on one of the dead trees in the distance. Trying to sneak a bit  closer I found an Australian Hobby (also called a Little Falcon) perched in the morning sun surveying the territory for breakfast.  I walked a bit too close and it took off along the ridge line and down into the forest. I bit further along I found a Grey Shrike-thrush keeping an eye out for the falcon. It was so focussed on the sky that I managed to walk right up to it and take a few images.

Australian Hobby, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park

Australian Hobby, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park

Australian Hobby, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park

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Grey Shrike-thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park

Grey Shrike-thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park

Grey Shrike-thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park

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I knew they had to be there somewhere…

Greens Bush is a great habitat for many bird and animal species and I am building a good list of birds but only a few mammals: Swamp Wallaby, Grey Kangaroo and a lone koala. I felt sure that there would be Antechinus (small marsupial hunter) somewhere in the National Park and it took 5 years to finally see four in one day in a small section of the forest in mid-summer. The pair below were running and chasing each other up the trunk of an old tree and along a dead branch. At one point the larger of the two (female?) carried up small branches/grasses in its mouth to what I assume to be a nest. The female can live several years while the male does not live past his first breeding season having mated until organ failure. Watching the energy of these two chase and wrestling up the tree trunk I can see how it might not end well for the male.

Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Brown Antechinus, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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A forest walking companion…

One of the first birds I see when I enter the forest at Green’s Bush is the Eastern yellow Robin. I watch it as it moves forward away from me down the track to the next tree trunk around head height. It keeps an eye on me and watches the ground for its next meal. It is an ambush hunter. From behind it is quite camouflaged and I often fail to see until it dashes forward but front on it is a beautiful vibrant yellow. I usually find them in pairs in territories around the track, my record for sightings is 14 along a 3.8 km circuit. At the moment there are quite a few juveniles coming into colour and moving around the forest.

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

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

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

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

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

Eastern yellow Robin in its usual hunting pose…

Green’s Bush Eastern Spinebill

During late Summer I have been spending most weekends walking around the various sections of Green’s Bush. Near the entrance to the Baldry Crossing Circuit I found this Eastern Spinebill feeding along the creek.

Eastern Spinebill, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National park, Vic

Eastern Spinebill, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National park, Vic

Eastern Spinebill, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National park, Vic

Eastern Spinebill, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National park, Vic

Scrubbers along the track

One of the regular birds I see along the tracks of Greens Bush is the White-browed Scrubwren. I see them often but dont often photograph them due to their constant movement and the shady and dark areas they lurk. When I find them I try to phish and psst to attract their attention. The one below was with a bunch of juveniles that were hunting in the mottled shadows and I managed to actually get a clear shot. I liked its intensity as it grabbed a spec of food and gave it to one of the juveniles.

White-browed Scrubwren, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National park, Vic,

White-browed Scrubwren, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National park, Vic,

A challenging ID

Below is another of the young birds I have been finding while walking around Greens Bush down the Mornington Peninsula. To ID this one took some effort and fooled me a bit due to its rufous colouring – I was thinking Rufous Fantail or Rufous Whistler, or maybe something exotic. It was definitely a juvenile as it moved around a nearby bush in a deep rainforest glade along the track. It was quite curious and I tried to keep it interested by phishing and psstting so I could take a few images to check out later…any ideas? The previous juvenile to fool me was a young Eastern Yellow Robin.

Juvenile Golden Whistler, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Mystery Bird, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Juvenile Golden Whistler, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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