Over spring I have been working on a garden down the Mornington Peninsula, trying to rediscover and restore the original veggie and garden beds. On the way home I popped into a few new spots along the way – Highfield in the National Park and the McClelland Sculpture Park in Langwarrin. The Superb Fairy-wren was displaying its near eclipse plumage (last of its breeding/summer plumage). As I parked my car at the Sculpture Garden, I heard a weird bird call that I did not recognise (of course I assumed I had discovered a new species or at least a lifer) and it turned out to be a begging young Butcherbird. I watched as a parent returned a few times with little morsels for the hungry beggar. Notice the deadly little bill hook that the Butcherbird will use as part of its bird hunting weaponry.
Superb Fairy-wren, Mornington Peninsula National Park: Highfield, Vic
Juvenile Grey Butcherbird, McClelland Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Vic
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Eclipse Plumage, grey butcherbird, Langwarrin, McClelland Sculpture Park, Mornington Peninsula, Nature Photography, Photography, Superb Fairy Wren, Victoria
A tiny Superb Fairy-wren at the Garden of St Erth in Blackwood, Victoria. I watched a small family group hunting along a path. I could not get in front of them to get the right light, but it made for an interesting silhouette.
Superb Fairy-wren, Garden of St Erth, Blackwood, Vic
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black and white, Blackwood, Garden of St Erth, Nature Photography, Photography, Superb Fairy Wren, Victoria
On a section of the Great South West Walk in the Lower Glenelg National Park, I stopped for a photography break and was soon joined by a pair of Superb Fairy Wrens, a male in beautiful blue breeding plumage and an adult female. The female is dominant in the pairing and may have a group of suitors in the area. The Fairy Wren certainly made sure the male knew she was in charge. Each time he jumped to the top of a stump she chased him off…it seemed to be a bit of a game between them…
Male Superb Fairy Wren, Great South West Walk, Lower Glenelg National Park, Victoria
The female Superb Fairy Wren keeping an eye on the local players…
Male Superb Fairy Wren keeping a lookout and claiming the stump..
A quick hop off the stump
The boss is back…
On a visit to a local wetlands, Karkarook Park, in Heatherton, I came across a tiny Superb Fairy Wren chick that practically ran across my foot as I was walking along one of the paths. It stayed right in the centre of the path and ignored me. I stepped back to watch this little family encounter. There were two chicks being fed by two females while several males watched from nearby branches.
Superb Fairy Wren that landed on the path at my feet
Mum or an aunt, quickly popped over and with some food encouraged the chick off the path.
Feeding the chick.
A Male Superb Fairy Wren watching on.
Walking along the side of Cyanide Dam the day after I photographed the Albino Wallaby I was listening for different birds when a Brown Treecreeper hopped onto the ground nearby. I stopped and crouched down a bit and started to take a few photographs. After a few moments watching me, the treecreeper started to feed again. The Treecreeper has the ability to walk vertically up the trunk and even upside down along a branch. See link for images of a related Treecreeper (White Throated) walking upside down. In developing the images I was pleasantly surprised to find how interesting the plumage and colouring of the treecreeper was. I have seen Brown Treecreepers a number of times moving around tree trucks and branches but this was the first time I was so close to one to get a good clear view.
Brown Treecreeper, Cyanide Dam, Chiltern National Park
Of course I have to add a cute image of a Superb Fairy Wren taken just after the Brown Treecreeper
Superb Fairy Wren, Cyanide Dam, Chiltern National Park
After a long rain storm at Point Addis, on the surf coast near Anglesea, I watched the birds come out and make the most of the rain puddles. This little male Superb Fairy Wren was fully focussed on having a good clean. He would spend a minute or so bathing, fly up to a post, preen and then back into the puddle again. Takes a lot of work to keep your feathers in shape. His female companion was much more nervous and only took a few quick flying dips.
Male Superb Fairy Wren, Pt Addis,
On some scrub nearby an immature Crimson Rosella watched the action. Over time his feathers will slowly turn a vibrant crimson. The mottled colours helps the bird stay camouflaged as they learn the skills required to survive. Unless they are in the open like the one below they can be very hard to see and find in the trees.
Immature Crimson Rosella, Pt Addis
An example below of the bright colours of the adult Crimson Rosella, photographed a month back at Welch Track in the Dandenongs.
Crimson Rosella, Welch Track, Dandenongs Ranges National Park
Posted in Bird Bahaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Crimson Rosella, Nature Photography, Point Addis, Superb Fairy Wren, Victoria, Welch Track
On the weekend I took the fairly short walk from the golf course lake to the rocky mouth of Elster Creek, which opens into Port Philip Bay. Along the way I photographed a few of the species that can be found: two cormorant species like to roost on the lake overnight, several Willie Wagtail pairs have claimed their spots around the lake and hunt across it while loudly claiming their rights, and a large Noisy Miner clan are permanently located along grassy areas of the canal and the lakes. At the mouth of the creek there are a number of small bird families making a living. They are also territorial: feeding, nesting and defending their little patches. It is a tough area to live in, a major byway for human traffic, hot at times and exposed to strong winds and storms from across the Bay. The coast is heavily patrolled by many aerial hunters and other opportunistic feeders including mammals – the Rakali (native water rat) is an effective aggressive hunter, and is well known in this part of the Elwood Canal/Elster Creek catchment.
To find these tiny settlers you need to walk along either side of the canal mouth and listen for the high pitched calls of the three main species – Superb Fairy Wren, White Browed Scrubwren and the Brown Thornbill. A little bit of whistling mimicry and phishing can make them pop up to see what is happening. A walk into the low coastal scrub to get to the breakwater rocks can bring them out as they scold you for entering their territory and possible nesting areas. Photographing these small fast birds can be very frustrating but quite rewarding when one stays still long enough in the right light and you finally take a nice image.
Little Black Cormorant, Elster Creek
Willie Wagtail claiming his part of the lake while hunting for insects
Juvenile Noisy Miner waiting for his next meal
Brown Thornbill, Elster creek
Female Superb Fairy Wren – the boss
White Browed Scrubwren, Elster creek
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Bird Photography, Brown Thornbill, Elster Creek, Elwood Canal, little black cormorant, Nature Photography, Photography, Superb Fairy Wren, Victoria, White browed Scrubwren, Willie Wagtail