Tag Archives: Mornington Peninsula

Varied Sittella

Over the last two years I have seen an increase in the numbers of Varied Sittellas moving in small family flocks. They may have been around much longer but they travel and feed fairly high in the tree canopy and sound very much like Striated Thornbills. It wasn’t until I stood still long enough to watch a mixed feeding flock that I discovered them. Now I see them quite often in a number of spots around the Greens Bush circuit. I read up about them recently and learned that they are quiet vocal in their feeding groups (and do sound different to Striated and Red-browed Finches, all of which are high pitched chirps) and that people often mistake them for treecreepers due to their feeding habit. I watch them working the trees with treecreepers and can see that they are a fair bit smaller, more stubby. What I have not noticed is that they spiral down branches and trunks while the treecreepers spiral upwards. I can’t believe I never noticed it and it probably means I am spending too much time ticking off birds for listings rather than observing. I also read that the males have longer bills and tend to feed lower in the trees while females stay higher. Time to get more observant.

Varied Sittella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

And back to Winter at Greens Bush

I recently clocked up 90 visits to one of my favourite sites to survey for birds and other native wildlife. I like to track the birds I find and record my sightings and locations on the ebird app, part of a worldwide database based at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the US.  Going over my sightings looking for more data on the Bassian Thrush, I found that I had clocked up 90 visits to the one site: Greens Bush in the Mornington Peninsula National Park.  On the last two visits I saw a total of 8 Bassians across several locations on the circuit , a good healthy and permanent population.

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

Boobooks in the canopy

Some friends who live on a lovely property that backs onto the National Park that I visit most weekends gave me a tip that there was a family of Boobook Owls roosting in a dense stand of Blackwoods near their property. I found the owls and spent some time trying to find an angle through the branches and up into the canopy. It was very tricky shooting with the high sun and bright sky. The juveniles were quite curious about my antics and watched me as a I watched them.

Southern Boobook, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Southern Boobook, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Southern Boobook, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Southern Boobook, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Southern Boobook family, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Southern Boobook family

Southern Boobook family, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Southern Boobook family, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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More hungry than timid

On recent walks around Greens Bush I have noticed quite a few juveniles learning the ropes from their parents. I found several Crimson Rosellas feeding in this flowering bush. The parents flew off but two juveniles stayed and kept feeding not overly concerned by me at all. This species in the wild is usually quite timid. It is a good time of year for getting closer to the forest birds and taking photos.

Juvenile Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Juvenile Crimson Rosella, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Tiny occupants

While walking with a friend in Greens Bush recently I found two new Grey Fantail nests, the first empty but the second was occupied by two tiny Fantails. The small goblet shaped nest made of strips of bark, grass and spiderweb has an opening only 4cm wide and 3.5cm deep. (I measured an empty nest). While we watched the nest for a while one of the parents would come back every few minutes with a snack for one of the chicks.

I returned the following week hoping the light would be better but found an empty nest. Standing there looking for any signs I eventually found the chicks above me in the dense foliage. As a parent came near the pair would make high pitched begging chirps but would quickly go quiet when the parent left. It took a while to track the pair back to the chirps through the leaves and branches.

grey fantail chicks in nest, greens bush, mornington peninsula national park, vic

Grey fantail chicks in nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

grey fantail chicks in nest, greens bush, mornington peninsula national park, vic

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grey fantail nest, greens bush, mornington peninsula national park, vic

Grey fantail nest.

Acrobatic antics for a good feed

During spring the understory throughout Greens Bush has been in full bloom. Amongst the many birds that I saw feeding on the flowers was this White-naped Honeyeater. I mostly see this species  higher in the canopy and more often hear them as they make their distinctive calls. I think it was a fairly young bird to allow me to get so close to watch it as it moved arobatically around several low bushes. It was a good opportunity to photograph this beautiful little bird with the lovely orange eye lid.

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Inspecting a hollow

I am still finding birds at Greens Bush nesting, looking for suitable nest sites and feeding juveniles that have fledged and left the nest. I found this pair of Crimson Rosellas (below) inspecting a Eucalyptus hollow. One was hopping in and out of the small hollow while its mate stood watch nearby.

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

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

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

Crimson Rosella guarding the nest hole on a nearby branch