Tag Archives: Tawny Frogmouth

The Roost Tree

While heading downstream along my local creek I noticed a lump on a dead branch of a Willow Tree that did not quite look right. Moving closer I realised it was one of the local nocturnal Tawny Frogmouths on a daytime roost. It was difficult to photograph but I found a way to get closer by walking into the parking area of one of the apartment blocks nearby. As I moved around the tree I found the partner of the Frogmouth that I had seen from across the creek. It was tucked into a little branch shelter and just about invisible. This species are masters of camouflage and often roost in the open. They are rarely noticed and survive well in an urban space. Even when discovered that can just watch you or move into their camouflaged pose (I am just a branch stump) or just go back to sleep. They are territorial and will roost in a close-by series of trees in a neighbourhood.  It is surprising how many pairs there are in Elwood considering it is an inner city suburb. Always a welcome find…

Elster Creek Tawny Frogmouth, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

An football sized object in the tree that did not quite blend in…

Elster Creek Tawny Frogmouth, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

Elongated branch stump pose

Elster Creek Tawny Frogmouth, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

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Elster Creek Tawny Frogmouth, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

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Elster Creek Tawny Frogmouth, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

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Elster Creek Tawny Frogmouth, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

Expressive and curious eyes

Elster Creek Tawny Frogmouth, Elster Creek, Elwood, Victoria

The partner on the other side of the tree. 

Frogmouth, Whipbirds and a Pure White Raptor

Whenever I visit Mallacoota I try to get to the Double Creek area several times a day. There is always a good variety of bird species (local and migrating through) and several vegetation types to explore from creek side vegetation, wetlands, woodlands, rain-forest and ridge-lines with tall forests. It is a compact site with four paths to wander down.

Along one of the creek sides I found a pair of Leaden Flycatchers singing away declaring their territory while above I spotted a white morph Grey Goshawk. The white/grey Goshawk is the only pure white raptor in the world. I knew that a raptor was cruising above by the danger calls of all the nearby birds. The bird alarm gave me just enough time to get the camera pointed skywards and set for a bright sky. The Goshawk cruised just above the trees.

Male Leaden Flycatcher, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Male Leaden Flycatcher, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Female Leaden Flycatcher, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Female Leaden Flycatcher

Grey Goshawk, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoot

Grey Goshawk (white Morph), Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

I found the Tawny Frogmouth when I stopped at the small carpark to have some lunch and was staring into the trees when I noticed someone staring back….

Tawny Frogmouth, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Tawny Frogmouth, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

White Browed Scrubwren Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

White Browed Scrubwren Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

White Browed Scrubwren Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

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Lewin's Honeyeater, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Lewin’s Honeyeater, trying to stay cool along the creek on a very hot day

Eastern Whipbird, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Eastern Whipbird working hard to feed two chicks that were following closely

As I watched the Whipbirds move around the undergrowth I spotted the little Antechinus hunting. It is a fearless tiny marsupial hunter, and given its mouselike size I am always surprised to see them out and about hunting in daylight.

Antechinus, Double Creek Nature walk, Mallacoota

Antechinus, I have not worked out the local species yet  – could be Shy, Brown or Swamp. 

Elwood Tawny Frogmouths

I heard about this pair of Tawny Frogmouths last week and had a chance to look for them late last Sunday evening – I found them but it was too dark to take any pictures. After a week at work and a morning of rain I finally just got back from observing them again and taking a few pics. They are still one of my favourite birds to photograph. This pair is a bit unusual in that they are roosting in an exposed spot over the road near a suburban intersection in a large plane tree without any leaves. They still have decent camouflage with their colouring but just stick out a bit to a keen observer. I have added these guys to my local birds  page.

Tawny Frogmouths, Elwood

Tawny Frogmouths, Elwood

Tawny Frogmouths, Elwood

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Tawny Frogmouths, Elwood

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Tawny Frogmouths, Elwood

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Tawny Frogmouths, Elwood

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The Wise old Bird of Braeside

On a recent visit to Braeside Park, I looked out for the resident Tawny Frogmouths. There are many Frogmouths in the park but they are well camouflaged and while they do stick to their territories they move to different trees and roosts every few days.  I found 5 on this particular day. (My best day was 14 Frogmouths). To find them you need to look for a suitable area and then look for the right sort of tree, height, and position. Once you find a suitable area you need to look for something that does not quite fit in, a colour variation or round lump that does not quite belong.

The Frogmouth is in my top 10 favourites due to its calm nature, its camouflage skills and the serene look it gives you when it acknowledges your presence. When agitated, some will pretend to be a branch stump while others will ignore you with just a yellow eye watching you now and again.

Tawny Frogmouth

A large Tawny Frogmouth, Braeside Park in May

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth, with mate tucked down behind – he was a little nervous as I made my way around the tree for a clearer shot

Tawny Frogmouth

A pair of Tawny Frogmouths, keeping an eye on me, much more relaxed

Tawny Frogmouth

This pair were quite wary of me even though they are quite high in the tree. They relaxed from their camouflage pose after a few minutes…

When you spend some time looking for Frogmouths your eyes start tune into objects that seem to stand out from the norm. I could not quite figure out what this furry lump was from a distance but when I got closer it turned out to be a Brush Tailed Possum with its bum hanging out of its daytime hollow getting a bit sun while it still slept.

Possum

Brush Tailed Possum, soaking up some warmth

Possum

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A Serendipitous Visit to Serendip Sanctuary

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

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Emu

Emus are free to wander around and don’t bother people too much.

Emus

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

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

Black Wallaby – relaxed and snoozing in the shade.

Black Wallaby

Black Wallaby II

Magpie Geese

Magpie Geese – several thousand were spread across all the lagoons and wetlands.

Magpie Geese

Magpie Geese

Magpie Goose

Magpie Goose – does not quite make my top 10 prettiest birds list…

Tawny Frogmouth,

Tawny Frogmouth – nocturnal specialist and master of camouflage.

Tawny Frogmouth,

Tawny Frogmouth II

Bush Stone Curlew

Bush Stone Curlew

Red Rumped Parrot

Red Rumped Parrot

Red Rumped Parrot

Red Rumped Parrot II

Buff Banded Rail

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

Buff Banded Rail II

Whistling Kite Nest

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

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.

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Braeside Park

Frogmouth family Braeside Park Dec 2014

Frogmouth family Braeside Park Dec 2014

As I need to keep practicing with my camera setup I drove down to an old haunt for a few hours to see what was around….best pics of the day were of a Tawny Frogmouth family that a birding mentor (Steve “the bird man” MacDonald) pointed out to me as we met up on the Red Gum trail. The two smaller birds on the right are still quite young and the parents are still watching over them. The other parent was on a branch just to the left. The young birds watched what I was up to as I moved around trying to get a clear shot.