Tag Archives: Superb Fairy Wren

Elster Creek to Elwood Canal

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

Little Black Cormorant, Elster Creek

Willie Wagtail, Elster creek

Willie Wagtail claiming his part of the lake while hunting for insects

Juvenile Noisy Miner, Elster Creek

Juvenile Noisy Miner waiting for his next meal

Brown Thornbill,  Elster creek

Brown Thornbill, Elster creek

Brown Thornbill,  Elster creek

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Superb Fairy Wren,  Elster creek

Female Superb Fairy Wren – the boss

Superb Fairy Wren,  Elster creek

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White Browed Scrubwren,  Elster creek

White Browed Scrubwren, Elster creek

White Browed Scrubwren,  Elster creek

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Hunters and Prey

The small birds are very aware of what is around and above them and are always on the lookout for the raptors that are everywhere at the Western Treatment Plant lagoons. The images below are from a few visits to the lagoons over the last several weeks. Even in winter it is a haven for many species of birds.

Superb Fairy Wren

Superb Fairy Wren

Superb Fairy Wren

Superb Fairy Wren

Little Grassbird

Little Grassbird

Zebra Finch, Western Treatment Plant,

Zebra Finch

Blue Winged Parrot

Blue Winged Parrot

Red Necked Avocet

Red Necked Avocet

Black Falcon

Black Falcon

Brown Falcon

Brown Falcon

Black Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Black Kite

Black Shouldered Kite

Black Shouldered Kite

Birds of the Bellarine

The second day of my Easter trip exploring the Bellarine Peninsula took me to several coastal parks and bushland reserves and while the number of birds were not large the photo opportunities to get closer to the regulars was quite good.

Black Wallaby, Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, Victoria 4 April 2015

Black Wallaby, Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, Victoria 4 April 2015 – feeding on new grass growth after a bush fire in the area.

Red Browed Finch, Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, Victoria 4 April 2015

The Lookout – Red Browed Finch, Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, Victoria 4 April 2015

Silvereye, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

Silvereye, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

Silvereye, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

A careful selection

Silvereye, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

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Silvereye, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

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Superb Fairy Wren, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

I just want to sing ! – Superb Fairy Wren, Lake Connewarre, Victoria 4 April 2015

Welcome Swallow, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

Welcome Swallow, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

A squadron of Pelicans flew over me as I walked along the Point – there were 6 large birds flying in perfect formation gliding along the coast.

Australian Pelican, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

Australian Pelican, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

Australian Pelican, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

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Red Browed Finch, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

Red Browed Finch, Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, St Leonards Victoria 4 April 2015

Opposite my accommodation in Queescliff was a park overlooking the beach and the heads at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. In the park are some large mature trees planted by the early settlers of the area. The trees are stunning and beautifully shaped by pruning and the wind. The one below reminded me of a giant bonsai. I spent some time one evening in nice late afternoon light walking around it and using my wide angle lens trying to capture the feeling. I failed miserably – I never thought that taking a photos of trees would be so much harder than birds.

Conifer, Queenscliff,  Victoria 4 April 2015

Conifer, Queenscliff, Victoria 4 April 2015

Pine, Queenscliff,  Victoria 4 April 2015

Pine, Queenscliff, Victoria 4 April 2015

While I was staying at Queenscliff there was a full eclipse of the moon that lasted for several hours and finished with a rare blood moon. While I did not stay up for the full blood moon (too cold and I had an early start the next day), I did get a few early eclipse shots trying out various settings. I got very few clear shots due to clouds  but was happy enough with the one below.

Lunar Eclipse, Queenscliff,  Victoria 4 April 2015

Lunar Eclipse, Queenscliff, Victoria 4 April 2015

Braeside Park in March

After our walk into the Woodlands Park wetlands we crossed over into the Braeside Parkland and had look around the usual spots. It was pretty quiet overall and the water has dropped considerably with many birds moving on until the lakes start to fill up again. I did mange to get a few interesting shots.

Great Egret

Great Egret on a dead tree roost in the middle of the evapourating lake.

Juvenile Butcherbird

Juvenile Grey Butcherbird

Superb Fairy Wren

Superb Fairy Wren -shot taken from the inside of the Bird Hide through glass. The Wren’s frenetic hunting in the grass and the window glass made for a strange effect.

Straw necked Ibis

Straw necked Ibis – straw neck feathers on show and as well as the vibrant colours the wings.

Straw necked Ibis

Straw necked Ibis II

Multi-tasking with a Snake-Bird

I love it when I can do several things at once. I feel a sense of achievement when I accomplish the goal for the day and feel even better when I can do two things for the journey of one. Bunnings is a hardware super store (for those that are not familiar with Australian Hardware Super-stores). I often make a Bunnings run to procure equipment and supplies for my gardens, home projects and camping trips. Opposite my favourite store is Karkarook Park. I stopped in last week to look for photo opportunities before I visited Bunnings. The Park is a restored sand mine and now has a wetlands area made up of several well vegetated lagoons, a large lake used for canoeing and fishing and pockets of woodlands around the edge.  It has a very good range of water and woodlands birds and I often get up to 50 species on an extended visit. It is close enough to home to just pop in for half an hour and look for a species to photograph

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant

Common Bronzewing

Common Bronzewing

Male Common Bronzewing

Male Common Bronzewing

Superb Fairy Wren

Male Superb Fairy Wren – immature Fairy-Wren coming into his adult colours

Superb Fairy Wren

Superb Fairy Wren

Masked Lapwing

Masked Lapwing – previously known as a Spur Winged Plover. It can be a very aggressive bird often taking on Raptors (and people) if they get too close to feeding grounds or nests. They make their various alarm calls quite casually, spooking other nearby birds. The Lapwing can be difficult to get close to….

Australasian Darter

Australasian Darter – a young female, the males are generally all black. This one allowed me to approach slowly along the pier until I was quite close.

Australasian Darter

Australasian Darter – they are also called a snake bird due to their swimming habit (very low in the water and sliding backwards into the water to hunt) and their very long snake like neck. This one waved it around quite a bit keeping an eye on fish below, hunters above and me…

Australasian Darter

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Australasian Darter

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Australasian Darter

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Australasian Darter

Interesting eye and bill detail

Australasian Darter

When the Lapwing nearby gave one  of its alarm calls the Darter immediately looked up for danger. She did not fly off or panic but was very aware. It is interesting that birds know each others specific danger calls

Australasian Darter

Beautiful wing patterns

Dandenong Ranges National Park – Welch Track: The Powerful Owl

Another part of the Dandenong Ranges that I have explored briefly is a section near one of the Puffing Billy Steam Train Stations – Welch Track. It is a rather steep section of the Park with a good track leading down to a rainforest gully and then merging onto other tracks. I had seen a report of a few Large Billed Scrubwrens in the area and while I looked for them I found a few other interesting birds along the way.

Crimson Rosella

Crimson Rosella

Male Superb Fairy Wren

Male Superb Fairy Wren

Red Browed Treecreeper

Red Browed Treecreeper – usually difficult to see as they stick to the higher canopies of very tall trees

Juvenile Powerful Owl

Juvenile Powerful Owl – still with fledgling white chest feathers, and already with extremely large and lethal talons. The Powerful Owl is able to take much larger and heavier prey – a favourite being the brush tailed possum.

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Even as a young Owl in daylight it had much better senses than I did – it knew when other people were coming down the track well before I did.

Welch Track Foliage and fallen tree

Welch Track Foliage and fallen tree

Central Victoria – Hepburn Springs

During my recent birding trip to Central Victoria, I  dropped off my house mate at the Hepburn Springs Spa so she could take the waters. I decided to stay in the area and explore. I followed the small creek that fed the Spa upstream for an hour or so and found a number of interesting birds. There were many juveniles about still being fed by their parents. The juveniles can be a bit easier to photograph as they have not learnt to fear everything yet. The parents were much shyer and when they noticed that I was taking an interest in their chicks moved the chicks to new locations.

Crimson Rosella

Crimson Rosella – feeding on seed pods while keeping an eye on its fledgeling which seemed quite curious about me.

 

Juvenile Crimson Rosella

Juvenile Crimson Rosella

Juvenile Sacred Kingfisher

Juvenile Sacred Kingfisher

Juvenile Yellow Faced Honeyeater

Juvenile Yellow Faced Honeyeater

And a regular and tough target

Superb Fairy Wren

Superb Fairy Wren