Tag Archives: Mornington Peninsula

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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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

VI

Searching for the Hooded

Recently I spent a few days down the coast working on the beehives and the garden. Each morning I visited a different spot on the Peninsula for a bit of bushwalking and checking on the local birds. On the third day I decided to revisit Flinders Back Beach – the scene of an old financial crime – I got my camera wet in strong winds and drizzly rain. $650 later my camera was repaired and a $40 camera rain cover purchased – lesson learnt. On this occasion it was again drizzly and the camera cover went straight into action. By the time I was on the beach it was sunny. Almost immediately I found a small mixed flock of Red-necked Stints and Double banded Plovers. After a while, watching, counting and photographing the flock, I walked  around the point looking for the resident Hooded Plovers – now becoming rare on many beaches in Victoria due to increased disturbance, natural predation and people walking their dogs off lead. I usually see a few Hoodeds but this time I only found one adult. I hoped that a few more were tucked down into the beached kelp out of the cool winds.

Hooded Plover, Flinders Ocean Beach, Flinders, Vic

Hooded Plover, Flinders Ocean Beach, Flinders, Vic

Flinders Ocean Beach, Flinders, Vic

Flinders Ocean Beach, Flinders, Vic (the hooded plover is in the pic)

Double banded Plover, Flinders Ocean Beach, Flinders, Vic

Double banded Plover – can be tricky to see until they move

Double banded Plover, Flinders Ocean Beach, Flinders, Vic

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Double banded Plover, Flinders Ocean Beach, Flinders, Vic

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Hooded Plover, Flinders Ocean Beach, Flinders, Vic

Hooded Plover stretching its wings

 

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…

Yellow-rumped Thornbills at Easter lunch.

I spent Easter Sunday at my parents place in Moorooduc, an hour south of Melbourne. Between chainsawing fallen tree branches after the last wind storm and Easter lunch, I heard soft trill calls and noticed a feeding flock of small birds moving through a group of trees. I grabbed my camera gear from the car and stalked the little birds with the bright yellow rumps. I try and wander around the various sections of the farm looking for new species. The small farm is starting to build quite a bird list. I added two new species  – the Yellow-rumped Thornbills below and later a pair of Cape Barren Geese landed in a nearby paddock.

Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Willowind, Moorooduc, Vic

Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Willowind, Moorooduc, Vic

Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Willowind, Moorooduc, Vic

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Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Willowind, Moorooduc, Vic

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Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Willowind, Moorooduc, Vic

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Striated Fieldwren – Tootgarook Swamp

Trying to get access into the Tootgarook Swamp and wetlands can be quite tricky. The swamp is located between Rosebud and Rye in Tootgarrok on the Mornington Penninsula. The proposed fresh water wetlands have been a battle ground between local environmentalists and developers trying to bulldoze the swamp and create yet more suburban housing. At this stage the local action groups are winning out and the developers are being delayed. Hopefully this will continue until the full community gets behind the creation of a protected wetlands. I have been visiting and exploring around the fringe of the swamp areas trying to find the best access spots. One of the higher vantage points is via a closed road that leads to an old dumping area that is located between the sports ovals and the swamp. I spent some time looking for the beautiful and melodic Striated Fieldwren and found a quite a few along the edge of the dumping ground.

Striated Fieldwren, Tootgarook Wetlands, Tootgarook, Vic

Striated Fieldwren, Tootgarook Wetlands, Tootgarook, Vic

Striated Fieldwren, Tootgarook Wetlands, Tootgarook, Vic

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Striated Fieldwren, Tootgarook Wetlands, Tootgarook, Vic

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Striated Fieldwren, Tootgarook Wetlands, Tootgarook, Vic

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Striated Fieldwren, Tootgarook Wetlands, Tootgarook, Vic

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Striated Fieldwren, Tootgarook Wetlands, Tootgarook, Vic

Protest vote

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