Tag Archives: Mornington Peninsula National Park

Shake your tail feathers…

A brightly coloured Crimson Rosella flew down to a low branch next to the track I was walking along at Green’s Bush recently and started to preen. It finished with a vigorous  shake of his tail feathers. It was all over in about 10 seconds and he flew off. I was lucky enough to get off a few quick action shots during the waggle.

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

II

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

III

Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vict

IV

Wow that guy is good!

I reckon the roo was stunned by my stalking prowess. Usually they are quite shy and will bound off as soon as they spot me trudging along the track with all my gear. I do try to walk quietly in case I find a Bassian Thrush or another ground bird on the path. More likely than being impressed, I think this tall male was quite confident that he could take me so he just waited for me to stop walking and then just ambled across the path and away into the forest.

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

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

A home of grass and spider webs…

Taking a long slow walk around the Baldry Circuit at Green’s Bush, I am still finding many birds hard at work building nests and feeding young. Some of the early starters like the Pardalotes, Rosellas and the Eastern Yellow Robins are just about done with many new juveniles now flitting amongst the branches waiting for a free feed from their parents. Another group are just starting their breeding duties. A pair of busy Grey Fantails were flying in and out of the lower branches of an Acacia. The material they were collecting was a mix of finely shredded dried grass and spider webs interwoven into a small goblet shape that the Fantail could barely sit in. A fantastic little structure fit for purpose for just a few months and then will disappear.

Grey Fantail, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Grey Fantail building a nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Grey Fantail, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

II

Grey Fantail, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

III

Grey Fantail, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

IV

Grey Fantail, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Off for more spider-web

Further around the track I found another Eastern Yellow Robin’s nest that appeared to be done for the season. It was empty inside and I waited for a while nearby to see if any Robins visited but none appeared. It is also made up of finally stripped bark and spider webs as well as decorated with bits of moss and lichen – great camouflage. The nest was in plain sight (if you could recognise it) next to the the path in a low prickly bush.

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

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

Orioles and Kingfishers

It was great weather on the weekend, warm, sunny and not too windy. I spent a few hours at Green’s Bush seeing what the warmer weather had brought into the forest.  At the car park I heard and found my first seasonal visitor: the Olive- backed Oriole. It was high up in a tall Eucalyptus calling and quite difficult to see with its camouflaged plumage.  Its very distinctive call helps to pinpoint it in the upper canopy. Towards the end of a nice long walk around the full Baldry Circuit at Greens Bush I found this Sacred Kingfisher intently watching the ground. I usually hear this species rather than see it: it makes a short sharp triple bark. It is a tiny bird, hunting insects and small lizards, pouncing from perches like the branch below. It is the first time I have seen one at Green’s Bush. I only found it because I was looking for birds nesting or roosting in tree hollows and saw the bright blue plumage against the dark tree bark. 

Sacred Kingfisher, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Sacred Kingfisher, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Sacred Kingfisher, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

II

Olive-backed Oriole, Greens Bush, Mornington Penninsula National Park, Vic

Camouflaged Olive-backed Oriole, Greens Bush

A Scarlet irruption at Green’s Bush…

I have re-visted the new part of Green’s Bush a few times now, learning my way around and seeing what different birds are located in the various types of vegetation. While walking down from a higher ridge line I heard what I assumed was a Rose Robin. It sounded much like a Rose Robin just without the 2 note call at the end. I logged it as a Rose robin “heard” and hoped that I would be able to sight them before I moved away from the area. Half way around the circuit I heard the call with the 2 note ending and found a small family of Robins working the low branches of Sheoaks. After a few pics I moved onto another section with a large amount of flowering mistletoe hanging from the Eucalpyts with several bird species working the flowers  for nectar. I had already seen a few mistletoe birds so when I saw the flash of red I assumed another bright male mistletoebird. I was extremely surprised to see so much red on the bird….I could not think of anything else other than a Scarlet Honeyeater, a species I have only seen well on last year’s trip to Mallacoota near the NSW border in far east Victoria. I tracked the Honeyeaters across the Eucalypts for a while and as I had tuned into their call I released that the shortened Rose Robin call I had been hearing was actually the Scarlet Honeyeater. To my ear the calls were very similar. Later at home when reviewing the images and then checking the Facebook Bird Vic and eBird sites, I noticed that a number of people had been reporting sightings around Victoria. It seems we are in the midst of an irruption, an unusually high number of birds migrating to the extremes of their range. Last weekend I went back and saw more of the Scarlets, this time around the carpark enjoying the flowering Teatrees and overhanging mistletoe.

Rose Robin, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Rose Robin, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Rose Robin, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Rose Robin II

Rose Robin, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Having a scratch

Scarlet Honeyeater, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

I thought the flash of red in the flowering mistletoe was a male Mistletoebird.

Scarlet Honeyeater, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Scarlet Honeyeater

Scarlet Honeyeater, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

II

Scarlet Honeyeater, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Scarlet Honeyeater calling, with several others nearby responding.

The Cuckoos are arriving

I have been hearing quite a few Cuckoos now that the smaller birds are nest building and laying eggs. I found the ones below in the southern part of the Green’s Bush via their calling. They have arrived from the northern warmer climates and are now ready to breed and lay eggs. The fan-tailed cuckoo will lay a single egg in the smaller bush bird’s nests after removing a host’s egg. It targets Thornbills, Scrubwrens and Fairy-wrens. The Shining Bronze-cuckoo also lays its eggs in the domed nests of Thornbills as well as the open nests of honeyeaters and robins

Fan-tail Cuckoo, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

Fan-tail Cuckoo, Green’s Bush (southern section), Vict

Fan-tail Cuckoo, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

II

Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

Shining Bronze-cuckoo

Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

Shining Bronze-cuckoo – named well

Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

III

A not so bashful Bassian Thrush

Over the winter and into spring I have been exploring new sites down the Mornington Peninsula, particularly around the National Park. I found an entrance to a Bushland Reserve not far from where I stay and it turned out to be the Southern section of Green’s Bush – a brand new part that I had never been to before. I spent a few hours walking a new circuit and found plenty of new views, tracks, trees and signs of more mammals than the northern section. I had planned just a quick 1 hour walk but it became 3 when I missed a turn off and ended up much further south than intended and had to backtrack. I will definitely being going back to explore further and see what the changing seasons will bring to this part of the park. I have also started to review more detailed maps of area to see what else is hidden. The Bassian Thrush below was quite curious when I flushed it off the path. Usually they fly off low and quickly into the bush, but I think this one was young and had not learnt to be afraid yet.

Bassian Thrush, Green's Bush, Vict

Bassian Thrush, Green’s Bush (south section), Mornington Peninsula Nat Park, Vic

Bassian Thrush, Green's Bush, Vict

Bassian Thrush II

Every nook and cranny

While walking around my usual Green’s Bush circuit I noticed many Crimson Rosellas exploring every tree hollow on the older growth Eucalypts. A few went right inside the various cavities after a cursory glance, and several flew off quickly when an occupant was discovered (most likely a brush tailed possum or sugar glider). I found a pair really giving this hollow a thorough inspection. One did all the inspecting while the other stood guard on a nearby branch – he spent the time watching me on the trail and shaking his tail feathers now and again and quietly squawking. I assumed the other took this as a signal to be alert but not alarmed.

Crimson Rosella, Green's Bush, Vict

Crimson Rosella guarding his mate while she explored a potential nest hollow, Green’s Bush, Vict

 

Crimson Rosella, Green's Bush, Vict

Crimson Rosella inspecting the hollow 

Potential nest hole, Green's Bush, Vict

Potential nest hole – looking well used but too small for a possum.

Crimson Rosella, Green's Bush, Vict

I found another Crimson Rosella looking for something in a dead tree. it was very focused and just ignored me as I walked under it. , Green’s Bush, Vict

A Crowded Corner of Greens’ Bush

After  a few weeks away from Green’s Bush I went back to see how the site of the 3 nests was going. The Golden Whistler nest had not developed but the Pardalote burrow was still fresh and active while the Striated Thornbill nest was being maintained and looked in good shape. I stood and watched the Pardalotes coming and going and noticed that there were two Eastern Yellow Robins hunting in the same area. I saw a Robin fly to a nearby branch and pick up an insect from its mate, wolf it down and then fly into a small Pittosporum  bush nearby. The binocs showed the adult sitting in a fresh nest beautifully camouflaged with living lichen. When the sitter flew off for another feed, I snuck through some tall bracken and found a clear angle to get a few shots.

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Green's Bush, Vict

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Green’s Bush, Victoria

Eastern Yellow Robin, Green's Bush, Vict

Eastern Yellow Robin

Eastern Yellow Robin, Green's Bush, Vict

Eastern Yellow Robin II

A wattlebird’s moveable feast…

Over the long winter I have been exploring new parts of the Mornington Peninsula National Park. On Saturday I stopped at a small picnic ground on the road between Flinders and Rosebud. I have driven past many times but never stopped. It sits alongside a small creek that runs down to Bushrangers Bay. There is a 650 meter loop walk on a well trimmed grass path.  It is part of the green corridor that runs down the spine of the peninsula. There were not too many bird species about but I did find  a few Little Wattlebirds amongst the flowering banksia trees. The one below spent some time and effort working the angles of the Banksia flower in the wind and collecting a nice feed of nectar.

Little Wattlebird, Main Creek Picnic Ground, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Little Wattlebird, Main Creek Picnic Ground, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Spring at Greens’ Bush

For various reasons I have not taken many/any photos on recent visits to Greens Bush. The weather has been cold and wet, it has been quite dark in the forest and most importantly not many birds have sat still long enough to take a decent image. I no longer blast away at any bird and hope that there is a shot in there somewhere. The hours post processing are not worth the result. I try to take only a few shots and get the setup right while stalking the target. This often results in failures and no shots but does save time at the computer. On Saturday I was determined to shoot something rather than just carry the heavy gear around. While the birdlife was abundant and the forest was quite noisy there were not many birds near enough to shoot. What I did find was three different species’ nests all within a few meters of where I had stopped for a breather. For nearly 30 mins I watched as a Golden Whistler returned to a particular bush with more nesting material. The female seemed to be doing all the collecting and building with the colourful male inspecting now and again and standing guard in the next tree. While just standing there I saw a pair of Spotted Pardalotes on a branch just above my head. It took a few moments to realise that they were not being friendly but getting a bit stressed because I was standing next to their burrow. I moved away and straight away they flew down and into the burrow. Turning around at a new bird call I saw a pair of Striated Thornbills flying into their nest, a tennis ball size clump of soft material and spider webs. Spring has started and nesting season is in full swing. I will re-visit in the coming weeks and hopefully see more progress and take a few pics.

Spotted Pardalote near nest entrance, Greens Bush, Vic

Spotted Pardalote near nest entrance

Spotted Pardalote nest entrance, Greens Bush, Vic

Spotted Pardalote nest entrance – a burrow

Striated Thornbill nest, Greens Bush, Vic

Striated Thornbill nest camouflaged inside an over-hanging Eucalyptus branch

Golden Whistler nest (just starting), Greens Bush, Vic

Golden Whistler nest (just starting) – will be more of a traditional cup type nest.

Winter is moving on…

With a month still to go of winter, I am already seeing signs of the coming spring   and breeding season at Green’s Bush on the Mornington Peninsula. Each time I stay down the coast I visit one of my favourite spots and see what has changed or who is stopping by. This morning I saw good signs of an early spring – Australian Wood ducks flying around inside the forest with several landing on branches and looking into tree hollows for suitable nest-sites. These strange ducks nest in hollows in trees near water very early in the breeding season. I also found a Fan-tailed cuckoo exploring for potential nesting targets along a ridge line above a rainforest creek. It seemed to be following a mixed feeding flock of thornbills and fantails. I usually find the Fan-tailed cuckoo buy its very distinctive call but this one was very quiet and stayed above the foraging thornbills. I saw it several times as I moved along the trail. (another thought is that it is last season’s chick and it is still following its adopted parents hoping for a free feed  – I will have to do some research).

Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

II

Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

III

Green’s Bush winter walk

This winter I have been spending quite a few weekends staying down the Mornington Peninsula helping to rebuild a large and overgrown back garden. Each morning I go for an early walk to Greens Bush and see what is around. It is a large beautiful reserve with a few different loop walks. On this particular morning I did not find too many birds but focussed on a few other points of interest.

Grey Kangaroo, Green's Bush, Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Grey Kangaroo, Green’s Bush, Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Grass Tree, Green's Bush, Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Grass Trees, Green’s Bush

Green's Bush, Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Green’s Bush track

Green's Bush, Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Green’s Bush