Sunday, August 28, 2011

Evening Walk

G'day Readers,
The spring orchids are beginning already and I took the camera on the walk last evening. I've got some trails swept through the patches of Red Box bush at the back of the course, and it was difficult in some places not to tread on the beautiful little Cyaniculas ...

The Pink and White Finger Orchids were beginning too, ( or is that the Pink-whites or the White-pinks?)...

There are lots of large patches of the beautiful low growing Gold Dust Wattles that in previous years have struggled to flower. It's  different story this year with the recent rains ...

 The sun was getting very low as I headed for home and the lone Pelican on the 18th Dam caught my eye ...

I wonder do the golfers see this sort of stuff?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cattle Egrets by the Score

I found a big mob of Cattle Egrets on a farmer's dam this afternoon - around 200 I got to before they spooked. No individuals seemed to have any hint of breeding plumage. I think they are only winter migrants down here and head north to breed in the warmer parts.

Interesting bird. Always associated with stock as they scramble for insects that are stirred up by the feet of the cattle. I love discovering these little 'associations' that some birds have.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lovely Weather For ....

The recent rains have done wonders for the countryside in this corner of the continent. Despite the negative remarks from some, most people around here appreciate the return to near normal weather patterns - at least for the time being.

On a return trip from Sale yesterday, I took some favourite little back lanes that go through farming country on the flood plains of a couple of rivers. All the lagoons and depressions in the paddocks were brimming full and many were covered with bird life! One mob of hundreds of ducks contained at least 6 species that I had time to ID.

The banks and trees were covered with ibis, cormorants and raptors. One distant lagoon was a mass of white egrets and spoonbills. Swans and Pelicans dotted the paddocks.

Might be a good season!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Only Just Around The Corner

It's not hard to find subjects for the camera on my walks around the golf course at present. All the indications are that spring is not far away. As usual, the purple flowering plants seem to be among the early bloomers - Hardenbergia, Twining Glycine, Austral Indigo, etc.

Austral Indigo
Guinea Flower
Rice Flower
Trigger Plant
Golden Wattles are in full bloom and the Gold Dust Wattle looks like being in profusion this year. I don't think I've seen so many examples of Juniper Wattle in flower on the course for the past 9 years at least.

The birds are loving it too.

Rainbow Lorikeet

King Parrot
Might be a good season,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Heyfield Birdwatchers - August 2011

G'day Birdos,
Heyfield Birdwatchers today had their ‘birds in gardens’ day for 2011. Thanks go to John and Marg, Mike and Dinny and Errol and Jenny for allowing the hordes to invade your beautiful native gardens.

The stunning view of Lake Glenmaggie from J&M’s property was complimented by sightings of pipits, several honeyeaters, Musk Lorikeets, Yellow and Yellow-rumped Thornbills, etc and a Jacky Winter busily getting the nest together for the breeding season. This was followed by coffee on the deck!

Jacky Winter

Richard's Pipit

The native plants in Mike and Dinny’s place are stunning. The saying that you never have to have a time of year without a native plant in flower is certainly borne out here. Grevilleas, callistemons, eremophilas, acacias, correas, … were all well attended to by the resident spinebills, new hollands, white-napes, etc. Blue Wrens dashed in out of the shrubbery and a family of Red-browed Finches darted out onto the lawns when they thought it was safe.

New Holland Honeyeater
The ‘house garden’ at Errol and Jenny’s place is a testament to the obvious hard work these keen gardeners put in. Lunch in the sunshine with the chorus of frogs from the nearby dam was just a delight. Crimson Rosellas and Rainbow Lorikeets dashed in every now and then and the various honeyeaters were busily drawing their dose of nectar from the flowering natives.

Jenny then took us for a short walk into her bush block to see pardalotes, whistlers, thrushes, thornbills … and a family of Flame Robins that wouldn’t quite get into camera range for me. I might just have to take up Errol and Jenny’s offer to return ‘at any time’.  

Male Flame Robin - in the distance!

Female flame
 A couple of us then briefly explored the bush part of the local golf course where we were accompanied for a while by next door’s pet macropod. Out on one of the fairways, the Wood Ducks showed signs of pairing up for the coming breeding season.

Wood Ducks pairing
Top day, 40+ species, thanks to all concerned.
(In case you are new here, click on all images to enlarge)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bit Wet Underfoot

G'day Blog Readers,
There's been some nice precipitation in these parts in the last 48 hours. (Local ABC News item). Fair bit up in the hills too. Won't do any harm in the long term but has caused some consternation in some quarters...

I well remember my school days at the dear old 'Sale Tech'. On days like this we Heyfield kids would hang out for the announcement over the p.a., "Would teachers please allow all Heyfield students to leave class. They must assemble in the bus area to go home early due to flooding". The classrooms would ring out with muffled cheering - us Heyfield kids were sometimes boisterous!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Survey Day at Swallow Lagoon

Yesterday Duncan and I managed to get our timetables together and we did the winter bird surveys at Swallow Lagoon. We've never seen the place look so fresh. Here's a brief summary...

This is typical of parts of the bush areas

There are 3 or 4 patches of open grassy areas

Maroonhood Orchid

Carpets of 'nodders'

Spotted Pardalote - a perennial favourite

Trim Greenhood Orchid

White-winged Choughs - there was quite a mob.
Scarlet Robins were still around. The choughs, pardalotes and Magpies were recorded as nesting. The ubiquitous bird for the day was probably the Yellow-faced Honeyeater - a lot of the mature eucs were in flower. 'Twas indeed a lovely day in the bush and we only got slightly damp. Roll on spring!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Easily Confused

G'day Folks,
It's not too difficult to get some bird species confused, as I'm sure you are aware. The two on the golf course that are doing this to me at present are the Juvenile Golden Whistler and the Juvenile Grey Shrike-thrush. On yesterday's brief walk, they were in close proximity as they scoured the lower foliage and the ground litter for breakfast morsels.

Juvenile Golden Whistler
Juvenile Grey Shrike-thrush
The whistlers are quiet at present, only making their short little contact whistle occassionally. The grey thrush of course has one of the nicest calls of all the bush birds and is easily recognisable. Yesterday however, I got non-plussed by a strange thrush-like call. I had to do a bit of sneaking about to finally discover that it was a juvenile that seemed to be practising but wasn't getting it quite right.

"I'll give it another go, ready everyone?"
"No, not quite - I made the camera man laugh though."
I've often found the Grey Shrike-thrush a trickey bird to sneak up on. Several times yesterday I had the whistler in focus instead, and I often had to shoo away the Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Grey Fantails and the female Scarlet Robin.

Female scarlet.

Gotta go.

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Territory

G’day Readers,
With things pretty quiet on the golf course, I snuck away for a few hours and joined up with the EGBOCers at Banksia Peninsula today.

Blunt Greenhood, (with the 'bird lens - sorry). 
Spotted 4 other orchids too.
Crested Terns on a sand spit at Pt Turner.
There were plenty of Little Wattlebirds working the Banksias.
Looks nice - tastes SALTY!
A pair of Spotted Pardalotes were very obliging 
as they kept an eye on their nest burrow.

 Beautiful day, lovely people and great birds probably sums up the day. Thanks Chris and crew.