Saturday, April 23, 2011

Golf Course Bush

G’day Nature Lovers,
A few days back I managed to catch sight of a Painted Button Quail on the golf course and I’ve spent some time lately wandering the same patch of bush with the binoculars and camera, trying to will the bird to re-appear – without luck. Plenty of other subjects for the camera though.

There is a family of Golden Whistlers that are pretty well permanent and this youngster came in for a closer look at me as I stood under a tree waiting for the Quail to appear …


I often bemoan the fact that the golf course Noisy Miner population tend drive away any small birds. However at present I have come across some Grey Fantails, Striated Thornbills, Spotted Pardalotes and the winter migrants have returned …

Male Scarlet Robin

Female Robin
The damper than usual season has encouraged the appearance of plenty of native plants and fungi too – Coral Fungus …

I spotted this bright Stinkhorn fungus …

 Although I had the ‘bird lens’ in the camera at the time and was several metres away to take these shots, the smell was very evident. The attendant flies were excited by it all and were going about their duties of spreading the spores …

No Painted Button Quail - yet, (says he hopefully).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Swallow Lagoon Survey

G'day Readers,
Yesterday DF and I did our 20th bird survey at Swallow Lagoon reserve. Doesn't seem like 5 years.

The highlight was probably sighting 3 Crested Shrike Tits working the bark on the trees at site 10. Other memorable moments were seeing Scarlet Robins at 4 or 5 different sites, Sittellas, and the ever charming Jacky Winters being in good numbers and co-operative for the cameras.

As usual we were frequently diverted from the task at hand by wildflowers, snakes, (the first one in 5 years of surveying at this location), kangaroos, etc, and an unusual number and variety of fungi ...

Yet another enjoyable day in the bush.

Friday, April 8, 2011

WWW - 'Wonderful World of Webs'

"Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive"
(Sir Walter Scott 1771 - 1832)

The mornings are getting crisper and dewy-er. All the better for seeing the wonderful structures that the garden spiders make.

This one appears to have no form or pattern at all, (was he drunk last night?) ..

Here's one with a definite and different shape. Must have taken ages to build ...

And this one is like a ball of cotton wool ...

There was of course the traditional ...


Thursday, April 7, 2011

All Quiet At ...

... the Heyfield Wetlands.

Autumn has arrived down here. At last the grass has slowed down. I managed to sneak into the wetlands for a quiet hour the other morning while the ladies played their golf rounds. It was very quiet. Some nice reflections in the ponds, and a family of Chestnut Teal allowed me to take a shot or two while they warmed up in the early sun's rays.

 Very pleasant and not a fairway or greens mower to be seen!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bug Blitz

G'day Followers,
Yesterday I gave a hand to the Bug Blitz team at the Maffra Swamp. It was another rewarding day with some ankle biters from a couple of local rural schools. The children were from preps to grade 6 and it was beaut to see how some of the older children 'mentored' the littlies.


The 5 groups rotated through activities that involved catching, identifying and photographing bugs, writing some aus poetry inspired by their location, the science of gum leaves, catching and identifying macro-invertebrates from the water and BIRDS! The emphasis was on the role, importance and bio-diversity of wetland areas.

The location was ideal for the bird bit. Standing on a slightly elevated hill the children could easily see Swamphens, Moorhens, Coots, Cormorants etc, and every now and then a Reed Warbler or a family of Blue Wrens would break cover from the reed beds. The flowering mistletoes in the nearby Black Wattles were full of New Holland Honeyeaters and Eastern Spinebills. It wasn't very hard at all to show the groups something different and tell a few stories about some of the birds.

At one point a pair of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flew in and most of the kids had some great views of these magnificent birds. They were able to see clearly the different cheek patches and eye rings on the male and female and they got a close up view of those powerful beaks ripping open the bark to get at some grubs.

We think they went home tired and happy - I did, then I jumped on the mower scattered a large flock of Galahs as I trimmed up several fairways for the men tomorrow.