Tag Archives: Photography

Old Faithful…

Recently I stopped by Braeside Park to look for the reported Long Toed Stint, a tiny, rare, migratory shorebird.  It was fairly easy to find with the help of other birders all  lined up with their scopes looking for it as well. Eventually we found it working the mudflat on the main lagoon with a few Sharp-tailed sandpipers, a Pectoral sandpiper (another rare shorebird) and a bunch of Red-kneed dotterells. The Stint became my 350th Lifer and 348th Vic Tick.

On the way back to my car I checked the car park area looking for the pair of Tawny Frogmouths that can usually be found in the trees around the cars. I found them on a low branch taking a bit of late afternoon sunshine. Always a favourite find in any location and a nice way to finish the successful twitch.

Tawny Frogmouth, Braeside Park, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth, practicing its “just a branch, nothing to see here” pose,

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

Greeted by a Golden-headed Cisticola

Greeting me as I opened the access gate (4) at the Treatment Plant recently was a little Golden-headed Cisticola. It is a small bird of the marshy grasslands surrounding a wetlands area. It has several calls including a very distinctive call that can be mimicked with a bit of effort and strong lips. In my earlier files I found a small video of another Cisticola at another entry gate, perched on a barbed wire fence along the T-section of the Treatment Plant. Towards the end of the file the distinctive call can be heard.

Golden-headed Cisticola, Western Treatment plant, Werribee, Vic

Golden-headed Cisticola, Western Treatment plant, Werribee, Vic

 

Spotted Crake with Didge music.

While at the Treatment Plant (aka Pooh Farm) on the weekend I found quite a few elusive Spotted Crakes along protected, muddy patches of various tidal and fresh water lagoons. In Western Lagoons I had stopped the car when I thought I had found one and waited for it to come out into the light again. I fiddled with my camera settings and ended up in movie mode so I thought I would try it out. The result wasn’t bad for a fully extended 100-400 zoom and 1.4 extender. The day was very windy and the wind sound came out on the video so I have added some music I like from a band called Outback (album Baka, song Airplay).

A hopeful encounter

On Saturday I went to the Knife-makers Guild annual show in Attwood (as you do), and instead of fighting the freeway traffic back home, I decided to head south and drop by the Western Treatment Plant (the pooh farm). While driving out of the lagoons to leave I flushed what I thought were two Blue-winged Parrots off the track. I saw a flash of orange as they flew over the windscreen of the car and realised these must be a pair of the released Orange-bellied Parrots, a very rare and endangered species. They only flushed to the back of the car so I used the door for cover and took a few photos – bad light and shooting into the sun but got a few shots. They were smaller than I expected and made such a melodic buzzy call when flying. There has been a real push to try and breed up and release parrots to join the 50 wild birds that are estimated to be left (with only 340 in 10 captive/breeding recovery facilities). In the wild the tiny parrot migrates from its summer breeding grounds in Tasmania, flies over Bass Strait and into the coastal regions of Victoria –  a tough flight with very few intact feeding grounds at the end of the journey. I found out later that these two were males and part of the 2017 release program but had not joined the wild population yet. I am hopeful that this parrot does not die out in the wild during my lifetime.

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

A pair of male Orange-bellied parrots

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

note the pair of leg bands.

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

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Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

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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…