Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Short Moment Away

I snuck away from a very busy golf course for a few hours the other day and visited a little bit of bush nearby that DF and I have sometimes checked for odonata and wildflowers. It was nice to be out and about!

I’d just got going and spotted …

… a Blue-winged Parrot way up on top of an old dead spar. Never seen them in this location before and never seen them more than a few feet off the ground. My first surprise.

My next surprise came when I met this guy …

Two more steps and I would have been right on him but he didn’t budge. It was early in the day and I guess he was still warming up. I could tell he was aware of me, but didn’t seem to move a muscle. Even seemed to nod off for a few moments? I was able to get down to his level for some close ups.




How about those claws? I’m glad he didn’t decide to make a run for it over the top of me.

The birds were active in pockets. I’d walk for 5 minutes or more without seeing anything then there’d be a flurry of mixed species working the foliage or dashing from under the shrubbery. I watched one of my favourite aerialists for a time, a group of Dusky Woodswallows, and noticed a couple kept returning to the same tree for a bit. A nest was in attendance of course.

There were Yellow-faced Honeyeaters everywhere and every now and then I caught the 'shirp-shirp' call of the beautiful White-naped Honeyeater too. Eventually one came down low enough and stayed still long enough for an acceptable pic.
I kept getting glimpses or long distance views of a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren – we’d seen one near here before – but couldn’t manage a picture worth publishing. This shy and elusive bird is beginning to become a bit of an obsession for me. They might have been nesting too, for they spent quite a bit of time chasing off other birds from their own patch. Hmmm, wonder how busy the golf course will be tomorrow?

Regards and happy new year,

Saturday, December 3, 2011


G’day Readers,
You may think the title of this post a bit odd for what is basically a blog about birds. Commitment can come in many forms and some we like and some we don’t. The commitment I’m referring to here is one I enjoy thoroughly.

Duncan and I do some regular bird surveys for different bodies. On Friday we were helping Martin from Greening Australia and were surveying a block at Marlay Point close to Lake Wellington and the Clydebank Morass. Martin is ‘re-veging’ the block. (Speaking of commitment – Martin’s level of commitment to the environment is inspiring.)

We began at the lower end of the paddock where there is a small stand of large red gums that are struggling a bit in some cases, but still surviving. It seemed that each tree we came to had its attendant population of hollow-lovers… Tree Martins, Striated Pardalotes, Sacred Kingfishers, Galahs, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Crimson Rosellas, etc. We so need those large old trees with their hollows!

Tree Martin
Striated Pardalotes (red spots!)
Sacred Kingfisher
 As we moved toward the now inundated lower country we sprung a nice population of about 30 Latham’s Snipe – first I’ve seen this season I think.

Back out into the re-veg area of the block it was good to tick a pair of Stubble Quail and Richard’s Pipits. A whistling Kite was soaring overhead uttering its distinctive shrill call while Martin and Duncan had their heads down in the Wallaby Grass checking the growth of various species that Martin had seed sown 3-4 months previous.

Richard's Pipit

Afterwards we had a cuppa and ducked around to another site beside the morass that Martin had commenced about 5 years ago – you might like to see the birds we got there by checking Duncan’s blog!

Commitment? Nah, more like a labour of love.



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Around The Lake (Guyatt)

G’day Folks,
I’ve been spending some time visiting the Sale Hospital in recent days and during the 2 hour rest time for patients in the middle of the day you can probably guess what I do. Well, the camera is always with me, 2 hours to kill, what did you expect?

A couple of Pelicans entertained me for a time as they swam and dipped in unison.

A little family of Brown Thornbills got agitated when I positioned myself beside their patch of scrub to get a better view of the lake.

Just around from the lake there is a backwater of Flooding Creek that is often worth a look. I sprung a White-necked Heron and two Nankeen Night Herons from the shoreline. These two species seem to be increasingly common in these parts this season. I only managed some acceptable shots of a White-faced Heron as it patrolled its own patch of Water Milfoil.

The adjacent reed beds are alive with Clamorous Reed Warblers in full voice at present.

OK, back to the patient – she will want to see some of the images on the camera too. Oh, I’d better go get her a tub of that fruit salad she likes from the cafĂ© – I think we’ll go halves.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gluepot Diary #9

G’day All,
This was to be our final day at Gluepot. Up early as usual and we headed for a bit of different territory in the north west corner. The eremophilas in particular were a stand-out just at the start of the track, (a blog focusing on the plants is coming shortly).

Hadn’t been going long and a Gilbert’s Whistler entertained us for a bit, but wouldn’t let me get near enough for a picture. Red-capped Robins seemed to feature around here too. While perusing the plants, a small group of the little Southern Whitefaces were busily popping up to the tops of the shrubs to check the invaders, (yet another first tick for me). Had to be quick with the camera.

A Brown Treecreeper, (I think), flew in onto a rough-barked tree and posed briefly. If I’ve got the ID’s right this is the second of the two treecreepers we got for the reserve.

Next it was back to camp and reluctantly begin packing up. Jo and I wanted to visit slightly different places on the way out, so we agreed to rendezvous back at the Waikerie Caravan Park. On the way out a monitor and a mulga seemed to wish me a speedy return – you bet!

The track takes you through at least one adjoining property which means passing through several gates. Somewhere near the second gate, a small family of emus scurried across and were nearly hidden by the growth on the vegetation. 

Back at Waikerie I immediately crossed the road to Hart Lagoon and checked the ponds. Native Hens, stilts, ducks etc were all still there as well as the Black-fronted, (thanks Dunc), Red-kneed Dotterels and Spotted Crakes …


One more go at Banrock Station tomorrow on the start of the trip home.

 Gouldiae. be continued.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heyfield Birdwatchers November 2011

G’day Birdwatchers,
This will be a birdwatchers blog without a picture of a bird!

Last Sunday, the HBWs travelled to the dizzying heights of Balook where Richard very kindly invited us to stroll the garden, (wow), on his property right across the road from the Tarra-Bulga NP. Some contrast to where Jo and I had just come back from.

The Mighty and the Minuscule

Richard has a magnificent property that he works extremely hard at maintaining its natural integrity. Favourite trees and shrubs are enclosed with guards while they are young, weeds are constantly eradicated, indigenous species are planted in re-vegetation plots, fences are constructed to keep out wombats and wallabies, etc.

We wandered the paths, up hill and down dale, through dense native forest to the tunes of Golden Whistlers, Eastern Whipbirds, Lyrebirds, Lewin’s Honeyeaters, various thornbills, wrens, Silvereyes, etc, without ever seeing them too often and if we did spot a bird it was for a very brief moment before it hopped a few millimeters to be behind another bit of foliage. 

Mostly we were looking up in awe at the majesty of the mighty Mountain Ash …


… and sometimes we were down on our knees to inspect the beautiful little Green Bird Orchids.

Mosses, lichens and fungi occupied every nook and cranny – of course I had the long bird lens on the camera.

We all had a wonderful day Richard, thanks, and if you will have us back, we’d love to return in the near future.