A sunny late afternoon walk along the creek produced the usual array of local birds, many with new families. We watched a pair of Long-billed Corellas feeding on grass seeds and later found a snoozing Cockatoo. It turned out to be One-eye, the partner to an escaped or released Cockatoo still wearing a cage leg ring. This couple has now bred in the same tree two years in a row and currently there are several chicks inside the big gum where we found One-eye.
Long billed Corella, Elster Creek, Elsternwick, Victoria 19 Nov 2016
Sulphur crested Cockatoo, Elster Creek, Elsternwick – the cockatoo was fast asleep, enjoying the evening sun.
We have named this local Cockatoo, One Eye.
Walking through an Eastern Australian eucalyptus forest, one of the loudest natural sounds a visitor could hear would be the White-throated Treecreeper. While a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo could be louder when heard close-up, (and they are very loud), shear decibels for size would have to go to the treecreeper. I found this one in its usual position – climbing vertically up the side of a tree, and occasionally stopping and calling. The small orange marking indicates that it is a female.
White-throated Treecreeper – Point Addis Ironbark Basin walk, Anglesea, Victoria
Moving around the tree and working her way up the trunk looking for insects, ants and grubs.
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Point Addis, Point Addis Ironbark Walk, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Victoria, White Throated Treecreeper
On a day trip with a few birder friends, we explored Eynesbury Forest in the western plains about half an hour from Melbourne. Eynesbury is a growing commuter suburb established in a rural setting with a 288 hectare Grey Box Forest. It has a good variety of birds and animals and has an open under-story with good foliage for the smaller birds. I have always enjoyed walking in the area. On this particular trip we found large groups of cockatoos and parrots. I found the group below feeding on salt bush seeds. Later we explored the old colonial homestead grounds and found the barbed wire Emu.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoos feeding on seeds, Eynesbury Forest
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Eynesbury Forest, Victoria
Barbed Wire Emu, Eynesbury Homestead, Victoria, 20 Feb 2016
Posted in Birds, Black & White, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Barbed Wire Emu, Bird Photography, Black and white, Emu, Eynesbury, Nature Photography, Photography, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Victoria
During a drive around the various state nature reserves just outside the boundaries of the Grampians National Park I stopped at Cherrypool Wetlands along the Henty Highway. The water level was quite low and I worked my way around the edge of the scrub that ran down to the water and mud. When I pushed through some bushes I came face to face with a family of Emus. I was as stunned as they were but they had better reflexes and took off before I could get my camera into action. By the time I spotted them again they were still running but now on the other side and the adult emu was well in front of his family….the chicks were about half his size.
Emu, Cherrypool Highway Park, Wartook, Victoria
Emu chicks, Cherrypool Highway Park, Wartook, Victoria
While driving back to camp I found a Brown Falcon feeding on a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. A good catch for the Falcon but very bad luck for the Cockatoo
Brown Falcon with cockatoo, Wartook State Forest, Victoria
I had driven past this bizarre sight several times in a few days and decided to pull in for a cold drink. Australia has a strange custom of building large animals, fruits, fish etc as tourist attractions. The Koala below had very hairy ears and a cool silver goatee…
Giant Koala, Dadswells Bridge, Victoria
On a walk along my local creek a while back I came across a pair of Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos feeding in the grass in the late afternoon sun. They were pulling up weeds and eating the nutritious roots and bulbs. I sat down in the grass with them (as close as I dared) and watched and took photos as they gradually came closer to where I was sitting. One seemed particularly curious while I clicked away with the camera having a little chat with him. It was not until later when I processed the photos that I noticed that one had an old leg band – maybe a cage band to stop it flying away – it does not look like a normal banding tag like we see on the shorebirds. I will have to keep an eye out for it. A pair, I think this pair, have taken up residence nearby in a large old Gum tree and may try to nest. It was quite an experience to just sit and let these (almost) wild birds just work there way around me while feeding.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Elster Creek
Looking the business…walking over to see what I was up to…
Deciding that I was pretty harmless…
Digging up bulbs and roots…
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo taking a power nap…
Alert but not alarmed…
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Elster Creek
A few weeks ago when we finally had a warm sunny day (and we have not seen much since), I dropped in at Braeside Park to get some exercise and see what birds were around. It was the quietest I had ever seen it and the driest. The remaining lagoon has dropped considerably and except for the specialist mud feeders the rest seem to have moved on to deeper waters at other sites. I did get a nice series of shots of a few local birds that are generally resident all year round.
The first in the series was a pair of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. I only saw these two from a distance due to their very white feathers. You would usually hear cockatoos from quite a way off – one of their defence mechanisms is a very loud 100db+ screech. (I have walked underneath a pair of nesting cockatoos and the noise was deafening. ). These two were very quiet, on low branches and quite unafraid of me as I walked up slowly and carefully to see what they were up to. Even when higher in the trees wild cockatoos are quite wary of people and usually fly off. I took a few shots and watched for a while.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Stripping and chewing on the sap covered bark of a Wattle Tree
Ripping the bark off the wattle
going deep into the wood of the branch
coming away with sappy chunks
chewing and just casually keeping an eye on me…
I have seen cockatoos and other similar species chew on dead branches (and peoples houses and wooden verandahs) to keep their beaks trimmed and from growing too big, and I have seen a few dead wattle trees around the park with the bark peeled right down – I had thought that the cockatoos had striped the bark after the tree was dead to do some beak maintenance but maybe they are the ones that are killing the tree with a bit of ring barking while getting high on the sap and wood pulp…
When I visit the You Yangs I usually pop into a local bird and animal sanctuary at the base of the You Yangs Range. It is little known park close to Melbourne, free to visitors, with breeding programs for several rare birds. It also maintains a sanctuary for injured birds and animals, some too badly injured to be released. It is a great place to see and photograph rare and hard to find birds. The aviary birds are used to people and so are quite relaxed and offer photographers a good chance to get in close. Around the site are many wild birds breeding and taking advantage of the abundant food and protection. There are some large wetlands and many migrating visitors. The park also has resident populations of emus and Brolgas.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Emus are free to wander around and don’t bother people too much.
Emus – these two snuck up behind me to see what I was doing (unsuccessfully trying to photograph a family of Black Chinned Honeyeaters)
Emu and chick walking and feeding along the edge of the main lagoon – the chicks are very cute and there were a number at the Sanctuary but considering how protective (and big) the parents are I kept my distance.
Black Wallaby – relaxed and snoozing in the shade.
Black Wallaby II
Magpie Geese – several thousand were spread across all the lagoons and wetlands.
Magpie Goose – does not quite make my top 10 prettiest birds list…
Tawny Frogmouth – nocturnal specialist and master of camouflage.
Tawny Frogmouth II
Bush Stone Curlew
Red Rumped Parrot
Red Rumped Parrot II
Buff Banded Rail – secretive wetlands bird that birders only usually get glimpses of – but at Serendip there is an aviary full of them that allows for long views and many photos. In fact you have to be careful while you move around taking pics. They get under your feet while looking for insect snacks.
Buff Banded Rail II
Large Whistling Kite nest – the Kites were still around and making a nuisance of themselves amongst the nervous flocks of Magpie Geese
Cape Barren Goose – this one followed me around the Wallaby/Kangaroo Pen – he must have been expecting a feed. He made me a bit nervous as every time I turned around he was a few steps closer to my backside.
Posted in Animal, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Black Wallaby, Buff Banded Rail, Bush Stone Curlew, Cape Barren Goose, Emu, Magpie Goose, Nature Photography, Red Rumped Parrot, Serendip Sanctuary, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Tawny Frogmouth