Tag Archives: Victoria

A Scarlet irruption at Green’s Bush…

I have re-visted the new part of Green’s Bush a few times now, learning my way around and seeing what different birds are located in the various types of vegetation. While walking down from a higher ridge line I heard what I assumed was a Rose Robin. It sounded much like a Rose Robin just without the 2 note call at the end. I logged it as a Rose robin “heard” and hoped that I would be able to sight them before I moved away from the area. Half way around the circuit I heard the call with the 2 note ending and found a small family of Robins working the low branches of Sheoaks. After a few pics I moved onto another section with a large amount of flowering mistletoe hanging from the Eucalpyts with several bird species working the flowers  for nectar. I had already seen a few mistletoe birds so when I saw the flash of red I assumed another bright male mistletoebird. I was extremely surprised to see so much red on the bird….I could not think of anything else other than a Scarlet Honeyeater, a species I have only seen well on last year’s trip to Mallacoota near the NSW border in far east Victoria. I tracked the Honeyeaters across the Eucalypts for a while and as I had tuned into their call I released that the shortened Rose Robin call I had been hearing was actually the Scarlet Honeyeater. To my ear the calls were very similar. Later at home when reviewing the images and then checking the Facebook Bird Vic and eBird sites, I noticed that a number of people had been reporting sightings around Victoria. It seems we are in the midst of an irruption, an unusually high number of birds migrating to the extremes of their range. Last weekend I went back and saw more of the Scarlets, this time around the carpark enjoying the flowering Teatrees and overhanging mistletoe.

Rose Robin, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Rose Robin, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Rose Robin, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Rose Robin II

Rose Robin, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Having a scratch

Scarlet Honeyeater, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

I thought the flash of red in the flowering mistletoe was a male Mistletoebird.

Scarlet Honeyeater, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Scarlet Honeyeater

Scarlet Honeyeater, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

II

Scarlet Honeyeater, Greens Bush (southern), Mornington Peninsula, Vic

Scarlet Honeyeater calling, with several others nearby responding.

I got a lizard for lunch…

When visiting Ma and Pa Kettle at the family estate in Moorooduc,  I often stop by Moorooduc Quarry to check out a few of my favourite locals. At the moment the Eastern Yellow Robins, the Spotted Pardalotes and the Peregrine Falcons are nesting. On the way to the Pardalote spot where I like to watch the to’ing and fro’ing of the pair I found this Kookaburra softening up his lunch by giving it a few whacks on the branch. He was not concerned by me walking by and stopping to take a few shots. He just watched me for a bit and then continued to soften lunch.

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

II

Flying visit along the coast

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, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

Superb Fairy-wren, Mornington Peninsula National Park: Highfield, Vic

Juvenile Grey Butcherbird, McClelland Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Vic

Juvenile Grey Butcherbird, McClelland Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Vic

The Cuckoos are arriving

I have been hearing quite a few Cuckoos now that the smaller birds are nest building and laying eggs. I found the ones below in the southern part of the Green’s Bush via their calling. They have arrived from the northern warmer climates and are now ready to breed and lay eggs. The fan-tailed cuckoo will lay a single egg in the smaller bush bird’s nests after removing a host’s egg. It targets Thornbills, Scrubwrens and Fairy-wrens. The Shining Bronze-cuckoo also lays its eggs in the domed nests of Thornbills as well as the open nests of honeyeaters and robins

Fan-tail Cuckoo, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

Fan-tail Cuckoo, Green’s Bush (southern section), Vict

Fan-tail Cuckoo, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

II

Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

Shining Bronze-cuckoo

Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

Shining Bronze-cuckoo – named well

Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Green's Bush (southern), Vict

III

What ya doing Dad?

With the weather turning milder this week I thought a walk at the local Fitzroy Gardens might make a nice change to lurking in the Chinatown laneways looking for new street art. I did not expect much other than a nice walk and a short bird list. I did find the usual urban park birds and a few surprises, a kookaburra being an unexpected highlight and a pair of Pied Currawongs – adult and juvenile. Being around lunch time the adult Currawong was cleaning and preening itself along the small rainforest creek that runs down the centre of the park. I spent some time filming the Currawongs with my iPhone. The Currawong was using chunks of dirt and getting deep into its feathers for a good clean. It then would hop over to the creek and have a deep vigorous wash. After a drying preen on a nearby branch it would start again on a different area of its feathers. Meanwhile the young Currawong was making small calls and watching intensely trying to figure it all out. When the adult flew off it stayed and had a go at picking in the dirt but it seemed to think it was looking for food rather than good chunks to use for cleaning. I have seen birds washing, preening, sand bathing before but never selecting chunk of dirt to use as a scrub in those hard to reach places….

click image to watch video clip

A not so bashful Bassian Thrush

Over the winter and into spring I have been exploring new sites down the Mornington Peninsula, particularly around the National Park. I found an entrance to a Bushland Reserve not far from where I stay and it turned out to be the Southern section of Green’s Bush – a brand new part that I had never been to before. I spent a few hours walking a new circuit and found plenty of new views, tracks, trees and signs of more mammals than the northern section. I had planned just a quick 1 hour walk but it became 3 when I missed a turn off and ended up much further south than intended and had to backtrack. I will definitely being going back to explore further and see what the changing seasons will bring to this part of the park. I have also started to review more detailed maps of area to see what else is hidden. The Bassian Thrush below was quite curious when I flushed it off the path. Usually they fly off low and quickly into the bush, but I think this one was young and had not learnt to be afraid yet.

Bassian Thrush, Green's Bush, Vict

Bassian Thrush, Green’s Bush (south section), Mornington Peninsula Nat Park, Vic

Bassian Thrush, Green's Bush, Vict

Bassian Thrush II

Every nook and cranny

While walking around my usual Green’s Bush circuit I noticed many Crimson Rosellas exploring every tree hollow on the older growth Eucalypts. A few went right inside the various cavities after a cursory glance, and several flew off quickly when an occupant was discovered (most likely a brush tailed possum or sugar glider). I found a pair really giving this hollow a thorough inspection. One did all the inspecting while the other stood guard on a nearby branch – he spent the time watching me on the trail and shaking his tail feathers now and again and quietly squawking. I assumed the other took this as a signal to be alert but not alarmed.

Crimson Rosella, Green's Bush, Vict

Crimson Rosella guarding his mate while she explored a potential nest hollow, Green’s Bush, Vict

 

Crimson Rosella, Green's Bush, Vict

Crimson Rosella inspecting the hollow 

Potential nest hole, Green's Bush, Vict

Potential nest hole – looking well used but too small for a possum.

Crimson Rosella, Green's Bush, Vict

I found another Crimson Rosella looking for something in a dead tree. it was very focused and just ignored me as I walked under it. , Green’s Bush, Vict