Tag Archives: Victoria

Acrobatic antics for a good feed

During spring the understory throughout Greens Bush has been in full bloom. Amongst the many birds that I saw feeding on the flowers was this White-naped Honeyeater. I mostly see this species  higher in the canopy and more often hear them as they make their distinctive calls. I think it was a fairly young bird to allow me to get so close to watch it as it moved arobatically around several low bushes. It was a good opportunity to photograph this beautiful little bird with the lovely orange eye lid.

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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White naped honeyeater, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Safe and warm….

I sometime run into locals while walking around my usual circuit at Green’s Bush and I can always learn from them about what is happening in the area. Earlier this year Virginia taught me about the local trees, which I am hopeless at identifying. I ran into her and her partner Mark again last weekend and caught up with the local happenings particular around finding owls. There are a few species at Greens: Powerful Owls, Owlet nightjars and Southern Boobooks. I have yet to find any but there seems to be quite a few around. I asked V about how her animal orphan caring was going and she reached down her shirt and pulled out this little Ring-tiled possum from a small pouch. The ring tail possum and its much bigger, meaner cousin the Brush-tail possum are a favourite food for the Powerful Owl. The possums are very common and the large powerful owls quite rare due to lack of old growth trees for breeding hollows. But I would not wish this little guy to become a snack for a big owl. So much effort and time goes into giving it a chance to grow up.

Ring-tailed Possum, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Ring-tailed Possum, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

The little hunter returns

With the on-coming summer a few new migratory birds are heading to Greens Bush for the warmer seasons. I heard recently the distinctive sounds of 5 short barks of the Sacred Kingfisher: a tiny bird in bright blue, hunting amongst the trees. I only spotted the kingfisher after tracking its barks and seeing a flash of blue against dull brown tree bark. It seemed to be investigating all the nearby tree hollows and calling often.

Sacred Kingfisher, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Sacred Kingfisher, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Sacred Kingfisher, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Wait…..what??

After failing to find the Tawny Frogmouth’s nest, I got a few more directions and went back the next night to Elsternwick Park (North) and found it. It was in an obvious position and quite visible when you knew where to look and what to look for. The nest was more robust using more materials than I seem this species use before. I photographed the Frogmouth from a few angles, waiting to see whether the nesting parent would open its eyes. I moved to the front of the nest and took a few images and checked the back of the camera looking for clear shots and exposure when I noticed two yellow eyes looking out at me from the parent’s belly. Turns out the chicks had already hatched and were quite large. I only saw one chick moving about and it was quite curious about me. At one point it even had a good stretch of its wings. After a few shots I left them in peace to enjoy the late afternoon and get ready for evening’s hunting.

Tawny Frogmouth on nest, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth on nest, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth and chick, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth and chick

Tawny Frogmouth and chick, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth with chick stretching its wings.

Nesting Tawnys at the new Elster Creek Wetlands

I heard from a friend that there were nesting Tawny Frogmouths at the old Elsternwick Golf Course, now formerly called Elsternwick Park North (and wetlands). I spent some time looking for the nest with no luck. But I did find one of the pair roosting nearby. He was very relaxed and wasn’t by bothered by me at all. He did open his eyes and watch me for a minute while I stumbled around a bit trying to get a clearer shot below him. As it was dusk the sun was right in the worst possible position.  These are one of my favourite birds, nocturnal, unafraid, and sit still for a photography to go nuts. They are also invisible to most eyes unless you are looking for the grey coloured lump in a tree that does not quite belong.

Tawny Frogmouth, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

Tawny Frogmouth, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

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Tawny Frogmouth, Elsternwick Park North, Elsternwick, Vic

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Soon to find true form

I often drop into the Quarry Reserve in Moorooduc to check in on the Peregrine Falcons that make the flooded quarry their home. In the surrounding bushland are many bird species working hard through their breeding cycles. I watched a pair of Brown Thornbills searching for insects amongst the scrub and was surprised to see a Cuckoo seemingly working the branches with them. It even hopped to the ground and rummaged amongst the leaves. Occasionally it would stop and make the typical Shining Bronze Cuckoo calls. I am sure that the Thornbills had raised this cuckoo.

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve, Vic

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Oops a bit too close…

I was watching a Bassian Thrush move along the path collecting worms for a return to the nest. It would occasionally drop all the worms, pick up an irresistible insect of some sort for a snack and then one by one pick up all the worms and move down the track. It had 6 bigs worms in its beak and after a few minutes ducked down a side wallaby track. I stood still and tried to see where it would go so I could find the nest. A meter or so from my face an Eastern yellow robin flew to a branch and hopped into a nest. I had no idea it was there but after standing still for so long it seemed to not see me as a threat. I slowly moved back to the other side of the track and took a few pics. After several minutes she flew off and I took few pics of the nest. Robins have amazing nests made with soft bark strips and then covered with spider web and live moss and lichen.

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin nest, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Yellow Robin, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Not so Common Bronzewing

I have recently extended my usual circuit around Greens Bush in the Mornington Peninsula National Park to include several of the fire trails that occur further along the Two Bays Walk. On Saturday I took the longer circuit. Where the fire trail came back into the forest my eyes were adapting to the change in light when I disturbed a plump bird a few metres in front of me and with an explosion of clattering wings he flew to a tree above. He didn’t fly far and I had good views of a bird I had not seen before at Greens Bush. A male Common Bronzewing (the large pale head marking denotes a male Bronze)

Common Bronzewing, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Common Bronzewing, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

Common Bronzewing, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic,

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Pass friend and be recognised

There has been a lot of media lately about local magpies diving bombing posties and kids going to school. A friend even had a nasty scratch on her face from an attack. I have lived in my area for many years and have never been bombed by the local maggies. I have read that they are very territorial but can actually recognise human faces in their territories, up to 25 distinct people. To play it safe when I walk past a magpie in the streets around my house I take my hat off and give them a clear view of my face. I have done this since I read the article on facial recognition. I reckon it works. I photographed this female (or juvenile, a mottled grey back indicates a female or juvenile) while walking my dog yesterday. She gave me a good long look and then went back to searching for grubs and other tasty morsels in the grass below a pedestrian bridge over the creek behind my house.

Magpie, Elster Creek, Elwood, Vic

Magpie, Elster Creek, Elwood, Vic

Afraid of the Yowie

The Grey Kangaroo mobs that inhabit the Greens Bush section of the Mornington Peninsula National Park are generally quite skittish and can spot me quite a distance away. On occasion while I have been standing still watching birds, a group has moved past me along one of their trails. Once they notice me there is a mad panic as they bound off in all directions.  The last few visits I have found a lone Grey along the ridge-line track. The first time I was photographing a nest and he just moved from beside a tree a few feet away and stood up tall next to me and just stared. When I noticed him from the corner of my eye, he didn’t even budge while I shrieked at the sudden potential attack by a “yowie”…He dropped down onto his front paws and fed on some grass and then ambled off the track and back into the bush. On the weekend I came across him again just feeding on the grass along the track near the same spot as last time.  I walked right up close and took a few images.  He looked healthy enough, clear eyed and could hear me make my Skippy the Bush Kangaroo sounds, so I am not sure why this Roo is so easy-going. I will have to keep an eye out for him – and those pesky yowies and drop bears.

Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Grey Kangaroo, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Building a picture of territories

I have found several spots now at Greens Bush where I am sure that Bassians have set up feeding and nesting territories. Besides looking for the right sort of terrain and vegetation I am also on the lookout for fresh droppings. When watching the birds feed and pick up some good size morsels they seem to process the previously taken food and excrete a bright white splash. Based on the  amount of white droppings I am finding in an area I can be fairly certain that I have found another Bassian feeding area. The shots of the two birds below were taken in different parts of the forest walk that I have come to expect to see Bassians.

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Bassian Thrush, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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Beware the Drop Bear!

On the weekend I was nearing the end of my usual Greens Bush circuit, when I heard a Crescent Honeyeater and stopped to find the bird in the high trees. Straight away I noticed a large grey shape in an Acacia tree. It is only the second Koala I have found on this circuit and like the other Koala this one was also in a non-eucalyptus tree. As I walked towards him to get a closer view he watched me, becoming quite alert, not the usual dopey, sleepy animal, and then assumed this odd position, leaning back out of the fork. I am not sure what it was going to do, drop, climb, stretch. I have not seen this behaviour or position before – (well obviously it is the drop position for the drop-bear). After a few photographs I backed away and let him get back to his nap  – I was not going to fall for his trap.

 

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Drop bear in position.

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

Koala, Greens Bush, Mornington Peninsula National Park, Vic

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A family of one legged Stilts…

Just to the north of the coastal bird-hide in the Lake Borrie Lagoons (Western Treatment Plant) is the mouth of the Little River. It is a great spot for various roosting birds at the high tides. On this occasion we found dozens of Red-necked Avocet roosting and preening and a few metres a small family of Black-winged Stilts.

Pied Stilt, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Black-winged Stilt family, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Red-necked Avocet, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Red-necked Avocets in a roosting flock, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

And the last one…

A great day at the Werribee Treatment Plant ended with a drive along the surrounding roads looking for the raptors using the fence posts as perches to watch for their evening meals. This little Kestrel was fluffed up against the cool air. The Nankeen Kestrel is also called the Chickenhawk (though it mostly hunts insects, small birds and mice), Mosquito Hawk and Windhover (due to its hunting technique). Its scientific name is Falco cenchroides – “resembling kestrel-like hawk falcon” (doesn’t leave much out).

Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Target sighted…

The Little Duck-Hawk

Another of the raptors we found along the roads in the Treatment Plant was an Australian Hobby. I don’t often see this species though have seen one twice now in the last few months. I actually see Peregrine Falcons more often. This one flew into the Paradise Lagoons section along one of the roads and watched the various birds in the area as well as watch us slowly drive forward.   The Hobby (from old French “hobe” meaning small falcon) was also called the “Little Falcon” , “Little Duck-Hawk”, “Black-faced Hawk”, “White-fronted Hawk” and its Latin name means “Long-winged Falcon”.

Australian Hobby, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Australian Hobby, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic