Tag Archives: Victoria

Not so shy skulker

Usually a shy bird, the Grey Shrikethrush is a woodlands and forest skulker, feeding in the low to medium forest canopy. It is often heard and fleetingly seen. I do see and hear it quite often in the various reserves along the Peninsula but never long enough to get many images. At Cape Schanck several seem to have become semi-tame due to the picnic table leftovers.

Grey Shrikethrush, Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Grey Shrikethrush, Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Grey Shrikethrush, Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Waiting for the tables to clear….

Grey Shrikethrush, Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Singing at Cape Schanck

I have been spending a bit time down in Rosebud over the last few months and have started exploring different sections of the Mornington Peninsula National Park. Cape Schanck is the most southern point of the Peninsula and juts out as the meeting place of the wild Bass Strait and Western Port Bay. One of my favourite times visiting the site was during rough southerly conditions and watching Gannets, Shearwaters and Albatross fly by the coast. On this occasion it was fairly mild and many visitors were enjoying the sunny winter conditions. One of the bird species often found in the area is the Singing Honeyeater known for its beautiful and melodic songs.

Singing Honeyeater, Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Singing Honeyeater, Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Singing Honeyeater, Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Cape Schanck boardwalk and lighthouse, Mornington Peninsula National park, Vic

Cape Schanck boardwalk and lighthouse, Mornington Peninsula National park, Vic

Coming in to land…

Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett’s Point, Beaumaris, Vic

When the weather is fine I like to head down to Rickett’s Point along coastal Beaumaris in Port Philip Bay. At the Point on the rocks is a regular roosting spot for Crested Terns, Silver Gulls and the large Pacific Gulls. On this visit I sat on the rocks close to the colony and watched the juveniles preening and waiting for the adults to come back with food. The terns allowed me to crawl quite close and as  long as I sat down and kept still, they were quite calm and did not flush. As the tide got higher several moved to new rocks and I took the opportunity to practice my flight and tracking shots.    It can be quite difficult to get a clean sequence. A number of shots were not added due to being cut off at the top. To try and get clean shots my settings were 1/6400, F5.6, ISO640 313mm (full zoom of 400mm was too close for a complete image) – with the abundant sunlight I should have shot a much lower ISO but I wanted to crank up the speed to get the detail in the  feathers. I shot over 400 images in an hour of observation, which is always fun (not) to trawl through later and look for gems.

Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett’s Point, Beaumaris, Vic

Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

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Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

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Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

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Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

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Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

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Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

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Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

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Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

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Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

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Juvenile Crested Tern, Rickett's Point, Beaumaris, Vic

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Enjoying Jawbone photography

With an abundance of birds that are fairly used to people, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve along the Williamstown coastline is a good place to practice bird photography.

Australian Magpie, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic

Australian Magpie, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic

New Holland Honeyeater, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic

New Holland Honeyeater

New Holland Honeyeater, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic

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Hoary-headed Grebe, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic

Hoary-headed Grebe

Crested Pigeons, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic

Crested Pigeons feeling the early morning cold

Blue-billed Duck, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic

Blue-billed Duck

Kororoit Creek displays

Near Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve is the Kororoit Creek mouth opening into the bay. Low tide exposes a lot of mud and the roots of the mangroves. It is a good spot to walk along and look for a few species that may not be found at Jawbone. The walking and bike path is placed higher than the creek so there are many opportunities to photograph birds from different angles. The spot where I turn-a-round and wander back to the car is a roosting spot for many birds during the day. I found Straw-necked and Australian White Ibis, as well as pelicans, swans, egrets and Australasian Darters and Cormorants drying their feathers after a morning hunt. The Straw-necked Ibis were preening and squabbling with each other while resting on the rocks in the creek.

Straw-necked Ibis, Kororoit Creek, Altona, Vic

Straw-necked Ibis, Kororoit Creek, Altona, Vic

Straw-necked Ibis, Kororoit Creek, Altona, Vic

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Darter, Kororoit Creek, Altona, Vic

Darter, Kororoit Creek, Altona, Vic

Great Egret, Kororoit Creek, Altona, Vic

Great Egret, Kororoit Creek, Altona, Vic

A yapping Pink-eared Duck

Also called a zebra duck, the Pink-eared Duck is a beautiful bird that sits low in the water, filter feeds with its distinctive bill, flies and gathers in very large flocks and yaps or whistles when disturbed or in flight. An added bonus are bright pink ear coverts made up of 9 pink feathers  – this pink patch becomes more pronounced and colourful as the bird matures.   The ones I watched seemed to have a light pink patch rather than the full dark pink so maybe they were testing each other in a youthful gathering. The duck are thought to mate for life. I often see many in huge flocks (10,000s+) at the pooh farm. There were 50+ at Jawbone on the weekend and due to the width of the lagoons I managed to get fairly close without spooking them too much – a very difficult thing to do at the pooh farm where they spook much more easily due to the number of raptors cruising for a meal. We noticed that as they yapped  they lifted their head as part of the display, making the fleshy part of the bill more visible. It is a very odd but beautiful duck – one of my favourites. (post edited after a bit more research and ref checking – see comments below)

Pink-eared Duck, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown

Pink-eared Duck, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown

Pink-eared Duck, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown

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Jawbone and Native-hens

I have not explored the Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve in Williamstown for some time. I dropped by on Saturday and went in search of a few birds that I had not seen in a while including the Black-tailed Native-hen. Amongst the Swamphens and Moorhens I found two Native-hens and for the first time got a few images. I have only seen them a few times before. They run to cover and seldom fly so I was surprised to see this one flying a short distance  – I realised that I had cut it off from the safety of the lake. The Native-hens are generally quite timid and these two ran back to the water when I paid them too much attention. All the birds feeding on the grass were happy to ignore the joggers, cyclists and dog walkers passing close by but as soon as you looked at the birds using binocs and cameras they spooked. Jawbone is an excellent site for a good variety of birds, great for beginners to get a close look at the various species and good for photography. Covering most of the park along the coastline I can easily pick up 50 species in a few hours. A good place to get your yearly lists going.

Black-tailed Native-hen, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown

Black-tailed Native-hen, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown

Black-tailed Native-hen, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown

A jump and a skip….

Black-tailed Native-hen, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown

…and into flight to get back to the water…