Tag Archives: Mornington Peninsula National Park

Oops a bit too close…

I was watching a Bassian Thrush move along the path collecting worms for a return to the nest. It would occasionally drop all the worms, pick up an irresistible insect of some sort for a snack and then one by one pick up all the worms and move down the track. It had 6 bigs worms in its beak and after a few minutes ducked down a side wallaby track. I stood still and tried to see where it would go so I could find the nest. A meter or so from my face an Eastern yellow robin flew to a branch and hopped into a nest. I had no idea it was there but after standing still for so long it seemed to not see me as a threat. I slowly moved back to the other side of the track and took a few pics. After several minutes she flew off and I took few pics of the nest. Robins have amazing nests made with soft bark strips and then covered with spider web and live moss and lichen.

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, 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

Not so Common Bronzewing

I have recently extended my usual circuit around Greens Bush in the Mornington Peninsula National Park to include several of the fire trails that occur further along the Two Bays Walk. On Saturday I took the longer circuit. Where the fire trail came back into the forest my eyes were adapting to the change in light when I disturbed a plump bird a few metres in front of me and with an explosion of clattering wings he flew to a tree above. He didn’t fly far and I had good views of a bird I had not seen before at Greens Bush. A male Common Bronzewing (the large pale head marking denotes a male Bronze)

Common Bronzewing, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Common Bronzewing, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Common Bronzewing, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

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Checking out the competition

Green’s Bush is exploding with activity at the moment with spring well under way and the weather finally warming up. A walk into the southern section and I found the little boss below tsking and telling me to move along. I had actually stopped to photograph some bracken in nice light when he popped into the scene and tried to pick a fight.

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

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

Bracken, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Bracken, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Afraid of the Yowie

The Grey Kangaroo mobs that inhabit the Greens Bush section of the Mornington Peninsula National Park are generally quite skittish and can spot me quite a distance away. On occasion while I have been standing still watching birds, a group has moved past me along one of their trails. Once they notice me there is a mad panic as they bound off in all directions.  The last few visits I have found a lone Grey along the ridge-line track. The first time I was photographing a nest and he just moved from beside a tree a few feet away and stood up tall next to me and just stared. When I noticed him from the corner of my eye, he didn’t even budge while I shrieked at the sudden potential attack by a “yowie”…He dropped down onto his front paws and fed on some grass and then ambled off the track and back into the bush. On the weekend I came across him again just feeding on the grass along the track near the same spot as last time.  I walked right up close and took a few images.  He looked healthy enough, clear eyed and could hear me make my Skippy the Bush Kangaroo sounds, so I am not sure why this Roo is so easy-going. I will have to keep an eye out for him – and those pesky yowies and drop bears.

Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Building a picture of territories

I have found several spots now at Greens Bush where I am sure that Bassians have set up feeding and nesting territories. Besides looking for the right sort of terrain and vegetation I am also on the lookout for fresh droppings. When watching the birds feed and pick up some good size morsels they seem to process the previously taken food and excrete a bright white splash. Based on the  amount of white droppings I am finding in an area I can be fairly certain that I have found another Bassian feeding area. The shots of the two birds below were taken in different parts of the forest walk that I have come to expect to see Bassians.

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

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Beware the Drop Bear!

On the weekend I was nearing the end of my usual Greens Bush circuit, when I heard a Crescent Honeyeater and stopped to find the bird in the high trees. Straight away I noticed a large grey shape in an Acacia tree. It is only the second Koala I have found on this circuit and like the other Koala this one was also in a non-eucalyptus tree. As I walked towards him to get a closer view he watched me, becoming quite alert, not the usual dopey, sleepy animal, and then assumed this odd position, leaning back out of the fork. I am not sure what it was going to do, drop, climb, stretch. I have not seen this behaviour or position before – (well obviously it is the drop position for the drop-bear). After a few photographs I backed away and let him get back to his nap  – I was not going to fall for his trap.

 

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Drop bear in position.

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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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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Yet to learn fear

There are quite a few juveniles birds along the Greens Bush Baldry circuit. It has been a fairly good breeding season and I am seeing many young birds from a few locally common species….Grey Fantails, Red-browed Finches, Brown Thornbills, White-browed Scrubwrens and Bassian Thrush. The one pictured below was feeding on the track where I often find them. Being a young bird it has yet to learn what to fear and flew up to a nearby branch and tried to figure out what I was up to.

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

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

A colourful hunter…

A favorite bird of mine, that is quite common in the Victorian forests, is the Eastern Yellow Robin. A quiet perching hunter that pounces on small prey on the ground below it, the vibrantly coloured robin is a regular along the tracks I walk in Greens Bush. A while back I counted 7 pairs feeding in their territories along the full Baldry Circuit. It is interesting that for such a brightly coloured bird they build such a low but well camouflaged nest, using live lichen and moss to make the nest almost invisible even when at head height.

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

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Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

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Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin nest