When the Eucalypts start flowering in summer the Musk Lorikeets start arriving in good numbers along Elster Creek and in the trees at Elsternwick Lake. Lorikeets are highly mobile and will follow flowering eucalypts all over the state. The muskies have a distinctly different call to the locally common Rainbow Lorikeet. I walked over to the lake on the weekend with a birding friend and we followed our ears to the red flowering gums. A few of the Muskies were low enough to photograph, most shots were of their typical pose – upside down and head into a flower.
Scientifically known as Glossopsitta concinna meaning “elegant tongue parrot” – due to the way it feeds on pollen and nectar rich flowers.
Over February and March many of the large Sugar Gums and Red Flowering Gums along Elster Creek were in full bloom. This brought in many additional nectar loving birds to the area. Musk Lorikeets turned up in large numbers to join the local populations of Rainbow Lorikeets and around 10 Little Lorikeets joined in the flowering frenzy. Each species make distinctly different calls when flying and feeding. It was great to stand near the trees and learn and pick out the different calls. I had never seen Littles in the area before and it was wonderful to be able to add the new species to my local lists and even photograph them (though that did take quite a few walks along the creek to finally get them).
Play to listen to Little Lorikeets. (plus a bit of Rainbow Lorikeet and a begging Noisy Minor chick)
Musk Lorikeet, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria
Spot the second one?
Little Lorikeet – a very small bird with fantastic camouflage and a bzzzt type call
Little Lorikeets – well suited to life in the green foliage of gums, following flowering trees around Victoria – who knows how they realise trees are flowering so far from their usual haunts…
The You Yangs Regional Park (about 45 min SW of Melbourne) is a great place to visit and to photograph birds and wildlife in general. There is a variety of vegetation and terrain that brings in a good selection of birds at various times of the year. At the moment several of the gum tree species are flowering and many Parrots, Lorikeets and Honeyeaters are visiting. Recently I drove with a few local birder friends and we explored the usual spots and then onto a few new ones that I had not been to before. For the middle of winter there were quite a few birds and animals around. The Koala of course was safe up his tree and just ignored us. The Grey Kangaroos we came across along one of the walking tracks were wary but generally unconcerned – the larger ones took off first into deeper less exposed scrub followed by the younger ones and a few remaining females with Joeys in the pouch just stood up and watched us walk by. Enjoying the early morning sun on a cold winter’s morning was more important than panicking about a few walkers passing. We even had enough time to take a nice series of images. The local sounds were made up of Wattlebirds, Magpies, Kookaburras and several large family tribes of White Winged Choughs. In amongst these usual sounds we kept our ears open for the various Thornbills, Robins and Weebills. At one section that I have not explored that much we found a small group of White Throated Treecreepers. They move around a tree very quickly and are often defy gravity working their way along the bark upside down looking for hidden insects.
Reports have been coming in of a good sized flock of rare Swift Parrots roosting and feeding in a park between the Macleod shops and Railway Station. I had run into David E at St Kilda pier last weekend and thought we might head over to Macleod and try our luck.
On arriving at the Train Station carpark we were hit by a cacophony of bird noise – miners, ravens, magpies and many parrots and lorikeets. We immediately found Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets, and soon found a flock of 20 Swift Parrots in one of the large flowering gums. It took a while but we got a few average pics of the Swift Parrots. All the parrots and lorikeets were a bit unsettled and we saw why pretty soon – a circling Collared Sparrowhawk.
The Swift Parrot is rare and endangered. It breeds in Tasmania and then makes a crossing of Bass Straight to winter in Central and Southern Victoria.
We also found a pair of Scaly Breasted Lorikeets – a lifer for me and number 313 on my bird life list (309 for my Vic List). I was pretty happy and a bit too slow in getting a clear photo – I do have a beautifully clear shot of the tree trunk and branch that the Scaly is standing on. Maybe next time.
I had read in a “Friends of Elster Creek” newsletter that a little Grassbird had been seen at the Elster Creek golf course lake. I thought I would try to track it down and see what else was making the lake its home…The Grassbird is a secretive little bird that lives in tall reeds and lake side vegetation. Rarely seen but easily heard with a distinctive call that can be mimicked. I tried calling and it responded by flying over to the nearest reed bed and looking for the potential intruder. I think it was a juvenile as it did not have the strong colouring of an adult and did not make any calls of its own in defence of its new territory.
Little Grassbird II
Many of the tall gums along the creek and at the golf course are flowering. The trees are full of birds – Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets and Red Wattlebirds. The Musk below took a while to find as I could hear him well (his call is quite different from the local Rainbow Lorikeet) but I could not see him. The Lorikeets are well camouflaged to help protect against predators.
A bird found in high numbers everywhere. Another gregarious species that can overwhelm a country town with their sheer numbers, noise and appetite. I found these guys digging up roots under large pine trees. Due to their numbers and generally easy going demeanor Galahs are a favourite of many raptors
Walking home I found a pair of spotted doves and took a shot of one to try and see the neck feathers a bit better.