Tag Archives: Mornington Peninsula

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

IV

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

II

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…