Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spring Must Be Nigh.

G'day All,
Spring can't be far away. With a chrrrr.. and wheeze and a rattle, the Bowerbirds flew in to clean up one of the bowers this morning.
Judging by the green throat, this is probably a 3rd or 4th year male.
Regards,
Gouldiae.

Monday, July 27, 2009

From The Dictionary ...

Galah - (gal-lah) n 1 an Australian cockatoo with a pink breast and grey back and wings. 2 Australian slang - a fool. [Aboriginal]







Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another Visit to 'Owl' Creek.

G'day,
Yesterday, on the spur of the moment, I decided to walk into 'Owl' Creek.

Because of the dry conditions, I don't think the winter greenhood orchids are going to show on the golf course this year. Everywhere I walk in the bush between the fairways, the ground litter crackles. 'Owl' Creek was the nearest spot I could think of, where there might be a greenhood or two.

There wasn't anything showing on the walk down, and it wasn't until I got right up to the rocky gorge before I found any.I love the little 'forests' of greenhoods that grow out of the moss beds on top of some of the rocks. I could only find two species, the most common being the Trim Greenhood...
The other type was the Nodding Greenhood...
This little creek is a favourite habitat for a pair of Powerful Owls that we sometimes come across. I didn't get a sighting of them this time, however I did come across a Boobook.
The birds were fairly quiet - Golden Whistler, White-browed Scrubwren, Grey Thrush, Crimson Rosellas and a small flock of Red-browed Finches were the main sightings.

On the drive back down to the flat country, I surprised a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles feasting on some road kill. They lumbered off behind the tree line before I could get a photo. Just around the next corner though, this gorgeous little female Scarlet Robin did pose for a moment...
A beaut little 'full stop' to the outing!
Regards,
Gouldiae.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bottoms Up

G'day Bloggers and Followers,
This morning I was doing a repair to a water line on a fairway - yep, watering again already - and some movement and soft twittering in the patch of bush behind me caught my attention. Amongst the plumbing tools just happened to be a camera. As I began stalking the culprit I started seeing lots of views like this one...
Didn't take long to wake up to the fact that suddenly we had a very unusual visitor on the course, a small flock of Varied Sittellas, (Orange-winged version).
Always a nice little bush bird to see. They like just about any Eucalypt forest, but particularly trees with rough bark like Stringybark, Ironbark, Box, etc.

I've always found you have to be a bit lucky to come across them. Suddenly they will appear in the tops of a group of trees and start working their way down the branches and trunks, poking away under the bark and in cracks with their slightly upturned bills.
Once they've happily worked over a group of trees, they just as suddenly dash off to their next patch of bush.

All in all, a pleasant interruption to my plumbing repair. Back to the tools for me.
Regards,
Gouldiae.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Robin

G'day Bird Lovers,
Today I decided to take a leaf from Tyto Tony's book, (see link under 'Favourite Sites' in the right hand coloumn), and try birdwatching from a bicycle. Next year I might try it again if the pain has gone away, (I'm typing this while standing up). The Heyfield Flora Reserve is just a few kilometres down the road, so I pumped up the tyres, oiled the chain and loaded the bike, except for the binoculars as I discovered at the first stop.

I parked the bike in a secluded spot and started wandering around the tracks, but the birds were quiet as has been the case of late around here. Black cockies were screeching way in the distance, a couple of Crimson Rosellas flashed by and the persistent piping of a treecreeper were about the only avian evidence I could record - at first.

Along the western boundary track I began to hear the musical tinkling of some thornbills and some wrens. Then a group of mixed species appeared in the trees and scrub. It always intrigues me the way the different species often 'work' the foliage as a group.

Among them was a number of Scarlet Robins. This too intrigued me, as most of my sightings of this gorgeous little bird have been of a single bird, or perhaps a pair. I'm pretty sure there were 3 males and an equal number of females. Whacko! There was a bit of territorial scrapping going on too.
Eventually things settled down a bit and one or two individuals let me get some shots off when they rested briefly on the fence wire.
The thornbills remained in the trees while all this was going on and after satisfying myself that I had an acceptable shot of the robins, I started 'hunting' these little blighters too.
Buff-rumped? I don't know for certain. They lacked any striations around the ear coverts and were distinctly a fawn colour underneath. Who'd like to make a suggestion?

Now, where did I leave that bike? It was in a gully behind a bush but there are several gullies and hundreds of bushes. Uhm, must remember the binoculars and the GPS for the next trip.
Regards,
Gouldiae.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Arrgghh!

G'day,
Just down the road from home is a little bit of bush that has a few plants of the rather scarce Golden Grevillea, (Grevillea chrysophaea). This plant is endemic to Victoria and only appears in a few limited areas around the state. I check the ones nearby from time to time and this year they've had a bit of a struggle with the continuing dry conditions. Thought I'd cruise by today.

The resident 'roos in the paddock next door were keeping a close eye on me in case that thing I was holding was a gun, not a camera.I was also being watched from overhead by some cockies.I started seeing some of the grevilleas and was looking out for a plant that might have managed to develop a few flowers. I could see they were trying to flower but were obviously finding conditions a bit tough.

Then I came across some discarded rubbish. This happens a bit in this bit of bush, as the local tip is only a kilometre down the road. What do you do with your load of rubbish if you've missed the opening time at the tip? Why, you just trundle down the road, into the bush a bit and chuck it out for free! That large bit of white plastic sheet in the background was wrapped around one of the grevillea plants.I backed the ute down the track and gingerly loaded the mess in. Then I started looking about for some flower heads and managed to find some, even amongst the plastic.I say again, ARRGGHH!
Regards,
Gouldiae.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Long and the Short Of It!

G'day,
Yesterday, a very few members of the Heyfield Birdwatchers journeyed to East Gippsland to try and see some birds. Are you detecting a note of disillusionment already? The heading to this entry refers to the distance of the road trip and the size of the list of bird sightings - in that order unfortunately.
The trestle railway bridge over Stony Creek was nearly the highlight of the day. This old bridge built in the early 1900's largely from Ironbark logs, has a span of 276m and a height of 19m.

The above shot was taken on an earlier excursion and gives some idea of its relative height. This link to the Museum Victoria site shows an image of the bridge under construction - not a bulldozer or crane in sight. Quite a feat.

As I said, the birds were very quiet. A few whistlers, some common honeyeaters, an Eastern Yellow Robin, a White-bellied Sea Eagle, etc was the sort of day we had. The Eastern Spinebill below provided us with a photographic opportunity at least...


Thankfully, both the weather and the company were top class and of course, it's always nice to be out and about. Perhaps it will be better luck with the birds next month. Heres hoping.
Regards,
Gouldiae.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Two Nocturnals

G'day,
As followers of this blog will know, I often like to do a bit of a wander around the place at night with a spotlight. Lately, the night wanders have been pretty brief. I'm not too keen to move far from the fire when the thermometer is hovering around zero.

However, the chilly conditions don't seem to prevent the nocturnal residents in the garden from being active. They of course are well adapted, whereas I have to light a fire!

My brief outdoor venture last night produced two nice sightings. The first was this Sugar Glider in a Bushy Yate just by the wood heap...



I'm always impressed with their seemingly inordinately large bushy tail. I'm guessing it might have a role to play during a 'glide' session. (Now there's a photo to lust for).

My second sighting last night was a first for me around here. I'd finished with the glider and was walking back to the house and a brief flutter of wings from a nearby garden bed alerted me to this wonderful little Owlet Nightjar...


Recently I'd erected a couple of small roosting boxes supposedly to suit these little birds. I wonder did they do the trick? I'll have to make an effort to monitor the boxes a bit more closely at dawn and dusk, to try and confirm they are using them. Yes, I'll just HAVE to.

Regards,
Gouldiae.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Maniacal Cackler

G'day Readers,
We have several water bowls for the birds scattered throughout Mrs Gouldiae's garden. They are always under shady trees, like this one...

This particular bowl is dual purpose - holds water for the birds and provides habitat for a frog...

I think it is a Peron's Tree Frog, (Litoria peroni). In this next shot, you can just make out some of its distinguishing features - yellow and black mottling on the armpits and groin areas, cross shaped eye pupils, padded toes, small amount of webbing, plain coloured rough textured back...

These frogs are widespread in the Murray-Darling areas of Queensland and New South Wales. Their distribution map only just touches our part of the country. We're probably lucky to have them...

Their call is a long drawn out 'crah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhk'. The alternative name of Maniacal Cackle Frog is quite descriptive.

This bloke provided me with a great opportunity to try out the macro settings on the new camera.
Regards,
Gouldiae.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Matty's Moon

G'day,
Birds are scarce, so here's another moon shot.


This phase is referred to as '90% waxing gibbous', which means about 90% of the left portion of the moon is visible and growing.

High five Matty,
Gouldiae.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Treecreeper

G'day All,
At one stage today I had to wait for a hydraulic mechanic to arrive, to look at a problem we've been having with one of the mowers. And so, what does one do on a golf course when not playing golf or working? One wanders about with a camera looking for birds of course.



A White-throated Treecreeper entertained me for a short while. Plenty of these around here but oddly, this is the first one I've recorded on the course. Never even heard one before and it's nearly always their piping, penetrating, continuous, (or as Pizzey says, interminable), call that alerts you to their presence.
Regards,
Gouldiae.