Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Species

Just when you reckon you've got the indigenous species pinged for an area, along comes a new one to throw a spanner in the works!

While wandering the Red Box bush on the golf course a day or two ago, a small bird zoomed down to the base of a tree and began climbing upwards, pecking away under the bark. "Bewdy", thinks I, "That's the first treecreeper I've seen in here!"

The bird got up to the first few branches then dropped down on to the base of the next tree and again worked its way upwards, just like the White-throated Treecreepers in the district. It didn't look quite right however, and usually the treecreepers are heard before they are seen. It was time to work my way closer for a better view in the dim light.

Be blowed! A Yellow-rumped Thornbill. Quite out of character I think.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday's Walk.

G’day All,
One sure sign it is winter in these parts is the rather pleasant Pied Currawong call echoing across the golf course. They have numerous songs, but the one that seems popular here goes something like a drawn out, descending ‘hark-hark bewaar’.  I quite like the much maligned currawong – that piercing yellow eye, extremely robust bill – a bird of character.

Crimson Rosellas seem to have declined a little in the past 8 or 9 years on the golf course. I still see them regularly but they don’t cover the fairways like they did when we first came here. There was a pair in the Red Box bush this morning. Always nice to see that strong splash of red zooming through the grey/blue scrub.

The resident Scarlet Robin was in his favourite section too although I didn’t sight the female this morning. 

I thought at first the robin was accompanied by his partner, but it turned out to be one of the several juvenile Golden Whistlers that are often in the same spot. I can just see a tinge of gold on the belly indicating it is probably a young male.

The Spotted Pardalotes in the Red Box haven’t started their incessant calling yet this season, so it was nice to see a female, (juvenile?), working the foliage down low this morning. 


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not Much Bird Watching Going On!

G’day Readers,
The south east corner of the continent is currently under the influence of a slow moving depression just off the east coast – perfect conditions for the weather we are getting at present – rain, southerly winds, ground level cloud, etc.

Not a lot of bird watching getting done. DF and I are waiting for conditions to improve so we can get stuck into some winter surveys. We feel a little disinclined to venture forth at present. This picture was taken at 4pm this afternoon – cloud very low, headlights on, miserable.

We are certainly having a different winter in these parts this year. I was reminded of days of old as I drove past the football ground on the way back home this evening – Thursday night training in the wet!

Anyway, this pair of beauties brightened our garden the other day.

Male King Parrot.
Female King Parrot.
Musn't complain though, the golf course is loving it and by now I've almost forgotten where all the watering valves and sprinkler points are!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This Morning's Walk

G'day All,
I took the camera this morning when I went for a quick walk around the golf course. (Cold south-westerly winds are still blowing here, so I was well rugged up).

Just inside the gate, a Grey Butcherbird was working the grass on the first fairway for his breakfast of insects.

After collecting a few morsels in one spot he would dash a few metres further on and continue in a new area.

Just past the 10th tee a flash of red in the crown of a wild cherry caught my eye. Some young King Parrots were getting their breakfast. I came upon them a bit quick and got that startled, "Where did you come from?", look.

Up near the 10th green there is a wattle that often makes a picture at this time of year. I think it's a planted Cootumundra, (Acacia baileyana).
Next, I cut across the back fairways and moved into my favourite bit, the bush. Right up the back, the dominant eucs are Stringybarks and as you move south toward home, it changes to Red Box. A flash of yellow caught my eye as soon as I entered the Red Box patch. It was the resident Golden Whistler and his family working the foliage.

I had plenty of time and decided to try whistling them in for a closer look. Didn't take long and I had the male on a branch right above me.
I really enjoy this little spot. I seem to always come across some interesting wildflower or shrub. After checking the progress of the Nodding Greenhoods and Mosquito Orchids, (some are still going after first appearing quite some weeks back), I started getting strafed by the Grey Fantails that always seem to be present here. Spotted Pardalotes were gleaning insects in the crowns of the trees and a Grey Shrike-thrush was turning over the leaf litter on the ground for its morning feed.

Just before reaching the macinery shed - and work - a pair of Scarlet Robins were watching for ground insects from their favourite perch before pouncing. The female allowed me to get close enough for a shot.

Nice start to the day!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Heyfield Birdwatchers - July 2011

G’day Birdos,
Although at times we almost got swept off our feet by the strong westerly gales yesterday, we had a great day in the bush. After setting off from Stratford, we headed into the Stockdale forest where we scanned the heavily flowered ironbarks. Red Wattlebirds, Eastern Spinebills, Crescent Honeyeaters, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and Golden Whistlers were some of the species spotted despite the rushing wind and thrashing foliage. 

Ironbark blossom.
Take stockDALE!
We moved down into a couple of gullies where things were a bit calmer and White-throated Treecreepers, Brown Thornbills and Grey Fantails, etc, began to appear. All the while, the ‘plant people’ were spotting greenhoods, correa, marianthus, heath etc.

Rod and Michele very kindly suggested we have lunch at Peach Flat and a wander around their property where the wind wasn’t so bad. Water birds and ducks on the ponds, Scarlet Robins and Jacky Winters, Grey Shrike-thush, Satin Bowerbirds, Kookaburras, ?-quail, (too quick), Wedge-tailed Eagle were all added to the day’s list pretty quickly. 

Some of the crew 'in suspension'.
The 'flatter' bit of Peach Flat.
Kooka waiting at the station.
White-throated Treecreeper.
The day was rounded off just nicely as we meandered back to the house with a very concealed Lyrebird going through its repertoire including Kookaburra, Black Cockatoo, White-eared Honeyeater, Butcherbird, Bowerbird, Whipbird and more.
Pity about the wind – the birds were OK, but!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Red-browed Finch

G'day All,
The little red-brow was probably the bird that kicked off my interest in avi-fauna when too many years ago I would encounter them as I rode my 'grid' out and about. They would suddenly flush up from the roadside when I sped (?) down upon them. I would sometimes stop and wait for them to return to their grazing patch for a better view, my mates waiting for me at the next intersection thinking I'd dropped my chain!

In Sale yesterday I had a chance of another close encounter at Lake Guyatt as I sat in the ute having some lunch before going to a meeting. The howling wind was keeping most birds at bay. A few soarers were hovering overhead before zinging off with the benefit of a tremendous tailwind and the red-brows and a couple of wrens were hugging the ground, being nearly swept off their feet by the occasional strong ground-level gust.

Some previous lunch guest to this site had left some remains and the little birds were tucking in - just my chance to get close.

The red-brows of Guyatt are usually in considerable number at this time of year but it was only one or two individuals that were braving the open ground yesterday. After completeing their meal they dived off to some nearby scrub perhaps to warm up a bit in their roosting nest.
I completed my lunch and headed for my meeting with images of long past bike rides in my head!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Warm Colours, Cold Air!

G'day All,
There's been a few mornings like this lately ...

Looking down 4th fairway. it was nice to spot a 'bronzey' with its nice warm colours on a post at our dam ...

Common Bronzewing Pigeon.

 This is another bird we tend to take for granted a bit too quickly around here. Their far carrying 'oom-oom' call echoing around the golf course and the brilliant flashes of bronze and green when you startle them in the bush make them a bit of a favourite of mine.

I watched a pair nest last season, high in a big old box tree beside the 11th green. The nest was way to concealed to get a picture and the only way I spotted it was watching the birds flying in and out to the same spot over several days. They must have had a successful season because recently I've been seeing what at first I thought were Brush Bronzewings and after eventually getting some close enough views, decided they were immature bronzies from last season.

Oh .. that first picture was taken as I walked across to start the greens mower and cut the greens a couple of mornings back. The slick tyres and thick frost meant the mower wouldn't even travel up the gentle slope on the first green and I had to wait a couple of hours before starting.


Sunday, July 3, 2011


G'day Readers,
No, not my holidays. We had Honey and Ralf - note the 'f' - for a holiday while their mum and dads did their grand tours of Darwin, Broome and the Bungle Bungles in one case, and Italy and the UK in the other.

Honey (by DF)

Honey - always alert for one of our cats!

Despite not having one at home, Honey loved her kennel.

"Ralf, get that stick off my green".
"Could you let me get on with the gardening, Ralf?"

The end of a busy day!

Both dorgs have just been picked up and things are a little flat around here this morning. Glen has no company on her constitutional around the course and I've got no reason to throw or kick a ball. Like all holidays I guess we'll take a day or two to recover!

Looking forward to next time already.

PS: No, they are not related -but you'd reckon thay were mother and son!