One of my favourite spots in the Mallacoota area is Shipwreck Creek. There is a 6km trail from Shipwreck Creek to Seal Creek that moves through banksia scrub, through heathland, dry forest, a small patch of rain forest and back through heath and beach scrub. Each area of vegetation holds it own species of animals and birds.
The tanin stained waters of Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota
Shipwreck Creek meets the ocean
Hooded Plovers, tiny endangered beach birds, keeping under the wind.
Pied Oystercatcher on the beach
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater prefers the low scrub around heathlands
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Hooded Plover, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Photography, Pied oystercatcher, Rock Art, Shipwreck Creek, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater
One of the key bird species that can be often found along the track between Shipwreck Creek to Seal Creek in Mallacoota, is the Southern Emu-wren. I always get a kick out of finding this tiny, long tailed Heathland bird. They can be difficult to find and photograph during the day but good hearing, a keen eye and an early morning walk through the heath can produce the occasional image of this secretive bird. Being small winged it can’t escape danger through flight and the long tail inhibits anything other than small jump flights. It must hide in the scrub throughout the day and work its area for food. In the morning and late evening it will often climb a dead branch and make its territorial calls to the neighbouring tribes.
Southern Emu-wrens, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Victoria 21 Dec 2016
Displaying the delicate 5 tail feathers of a male Southern Emu-wren
Once I had taken a few shots of the Eastern Ground Parrot, I thought I would try and use a different camera (my Canon powershot 60) and see if I could get a bit of video. I took several short videos and this one shows just how difficult it can be to find and see these small, well camouflaged parrots in the low heathland scrub.
The video is at full zoom and handheld so becomes a little unstable in the windy conditions.
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Eastern Ground Parrot, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Photography, Shipwreck Creek, Victoria, Video, Videography
I have been to Mallacoota each December for the last 4 years looking for birds that don’t often make it into Victoria or live anywhere near Melbourne. Some of the birds are resident in the Mallacoota area like the Southern Emu-wren, the Eastern Bristlebird and the Eastern Ground Parrot. I have seen the rare Ground Parrot several times early in the morning at Shipwreck Creek – about 15kms outside of Mallacoota. On previous occasions the bird/s flushed and were gone, and going off track into the snake infested heathland did not help me re-find them. On this trip I thought I would just go early every morning until I had a chance to photograph this rare and shy parrot. On the first attempt I stalked so slowly and carefully along the path that I startled a large deer that was only a few metres off the track behind a thick bush. I am not sure who was more frightened. I thought I had no chance of finding the parrot with all the noise the deer made taking off through the undergrowth but about 50m further on a parrot flushed from the opposite side of the track where I was expecting to see it and instead of trying to photograph it in a mad panic, I carefully watched where it flew and stalked it further into the scrub. Taking a lot of time and winding my way through all the heath I found a small over-grown track and whilst surveying the path for likely spots I found the small parrot just sitting on branch watching me. I took a series of shots and moved closer and around the parrot trying to get better angles. Eventually it ducked down onto the path and disappeared into the thick heath.
Eastern Ground Parrot, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Victoria
with a beautiful long tail almost hidden by the grass
Eastern Ground Parrot camouflaged in the heath foliage…
Recently I completed my annual pilgrimage to the wilderness areas around Mallacoota. It is a 6 hour drive east of Melbourne and close to the NSW border. Mallacoota is a small town surrounded by the Croagingolong National Park and Wilderness Areas. I visit for about a week and explore along the coast and nearby forests, looking for the locals birds and animals. One of my favourite bush walks is from Shipwreck Creek to Seal Creek. On the beach at Shipwreck Creek I found an area of rock cairns where visitors have made their mark with local weather -worn rocks. Over the last few years I have found a few of these temporary expressions of rock art including the Great Ocean Road and in New Zealand.
Rock Art of Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota
On my yearly trip to Mallacoota I always plan to drive down to Shipwreck Creek and walk the track to Seal Creek. Along the way I expect to see a good range of rare birds, including Southern Emu-wren and the very rare Ground Parrot. I actually did see a Ground Parrot but it flushed and took off in a wild zig zag flight that made it impossible to film: video or photos. I will try again next year. What I managed to photograph was one of my favourite little birds – the Southern Emu-wren: a feisty tiny bird the size of a fairy-wren but with a much longer tail and very small wings that allow for short hops of flight. The Emu-wren requires a good expanse of knee to thigh-high heathland clear of foxes and cats. Very few exist now close to urban areas. I have only seen them at Shipwreck Creek and Cape Howe Wilderness Areas and at Anglesea Heath.
I found these guys fairly early in the morning along the track to Seal Creek but on the way back they had all disappeared back into the heathland scrub. The males will fly up to a dead bit of scrub in the heath and look at the intruders coming into his patch.
Shipwreck Creek, Far East Gippsland
Male Southern Emu-wren, Shipwreck Creek, Far East Gippsland,
Tiny wings and a long tail means that it is not a great flyer…
Showing the delicate feathers of a very long tail
Heathland, Shipwreck Creek, Far East Gippsland
Along with birds it is also full of Tiger and Red Bellied Black Snakes…
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Photography, Seal Creek, Shipwreck Creek, Southern Emu Wren, Victoria