Friday, June 29, 2012

A Cold Morning's Walk

G’day Readers,
Too cold to get the mowers out yesty morning – it was minus several! The mowers make a big mess of the course when you try cutting during a frost. So, I took the camera for a walk…


Slowly the sun got over the horizon trees and a few birds found a sunny branch to warm up on before raiding the flowering gums for breakfast.


Over in one of my favourite bush patches on the back-nine, a pair of White-plumed Honeyeaters, (I hope), kept close watch on me from their high sunny perch. We don’t get these on the course very often.


A pair of crims was working the canopy of the box trees.


Back toward the clubhouse the Gang-gangs were busy pruning their favourite bush. Always a delight, but they can make a mess of young shrub.


The ladies have arrived for their mid-week event so I can’t mow now – back home for some toast by the fire I reckon!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Just DUCKED In ...

… to the Traralgon Railway Reservoir Conservation Reserve, (the Res), the other day while Glen caught the train to grand-child central.

The Res is right on the edge of town, surrounded by houses on three sides. The reserve is maintained principally by volunteers and is always a great spot for lunch, or breakfast in this case, if you are ever in town.


The usual collections of waterfowl are always on display – swamphens, coots, moorhens, various ducks and a few ferals, (as always), often a darter or two, nearly always a cormorant, swans, etc. The surrounding bush will often yield pardalotes, honeyeaters, wrens, whistlers and more and the bare limbs of the higher trees are often adorned with a watchful raptor. All this in the middle of town!

On this occasion, I was intrigued by the shenanigans at the nest boxes. Many ducks are opportunistic nesters and on this winters morning there was some pressure on the available accommodation. While some just snoozed on …


… and others just cruised about …

… Mrs Black Duck was trying a box for size while Mrs Chestnut Teal and Mr Black Duck waited patiently for her decision.

Well, that's my interpretation of matters anyhow! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Heyfield Birdwatchers - June

Nine of us headed north from Boisdale and into the foothills for our first stop at the picnic ground on the Valencia Creek. There were heaps of ‘cockys’ in the trees and paddocks and one large mob of Cattle Egrets doing their thing – this is good dairy country! We disturbed a couple of campers from their Sunday morning sleep-in as we pulled up. Don’t think they appreciated our bright and cheery comments – “C’mon, you’re in the bush, get up and enjoy it” – etc. (Nah, we didn’t really).

The creek-side bush was very quiet birdwise. The creek was its picturesque self however and there were heaps of winter orchids in the scrub. Not ticking too much on one side of the road we crossed over and climbed a track that leads up to a bluff.


We were pleasantly surprised to find here a small colony of Golden Grevilleas, some being just in flower. This rather scarce native is always a delight to come across in the bush and whether I’m learning to recognize it better or it is actually spreading a little I’m not sure, but I do seem to find it increasingly more often these days. (From Wikipedia - The species occurs in eucalypt or banksia woodland in the Brisbane Ranges and in Gippsland in southern Victoria. It is listed as "Rare in Victoria" on the Department of Sustainability and Environment's Advisory List of Rare Or Threatened Plants In Victoria.[1])



I hadn’t paused the group for a morning coffee to this stage, so we headed back down to the flats and into the local caravan park for a break. PG and I, in a past life, had spent many a happy stay here both with our families and with heaps of school children on some bike tours we used to conduct. We were a little dismayed at the influx of ‘permanent’ vans – the place was like a small and dare I say, higgeldy-piggeldy village.

We did get some nice birds in here, but – Scarlet Robbins, Red-browed Finches, Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Golden Whistlers, …


The day, unlike most of us, was still young and I talked the mob into heading around to and across Wombat Flat into the foothills again for a short walk along the Mt Angus track. We slipped a slid our way up and down to the creek which was flowing nicely and blocking our path for further exploration. It meant we couldn’t do the road loop back to the cars, but on the return journey we did score a colony of Varied Sittellas and a Crested Shrike-tit – probably the hits of the day!

Back at the cars, the wind had dropped and even the sun came out for a moment  so it was out with the thermos and a sit and chat, (tall story telling session), before turning our heads for home.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Nippy Morning at Heyfield Wetlands

I had to drop the ute in for a service the other day. The garage is directly over the road from the Heyfield Wetlands. "Darn, what to do for a couple of hours?"

I'm always impressed with the variety of small birds here. Right on the very edge of town, cats, dogs, people, and more small birds than on the golf course out in the sticks - wish I could reduce the Noisy Miner population at home!

I ticked Yellow and Brown Thornbills, Weebills, Grey Fantails and Blue Wrens very quickly and they were all very accommodating despite the early morning walkers and joggers 'steaming' by with their exhalations hanging in the air.

It wasn't just the birds that caught my eye. This is a grand time of year to marvel at the workmanship of many spider species. How do they not get tangled in their own work?

 Many of the eucs are in full bloom around the place at present and they all have their quota of nectar lovers in attendance. Walk under some trees and its hard to hear yourself think. I struggled to get some shots off as they were all so active. Finally one lonely musk sat still long enough in the open for a portrait.

By now I'd worked my way to the far end of the wetlands and I could smell coffee and toast at my brothers place just up the hill. Even got a lift back to the garage to pick up the ute - handy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


G’day Fellow Earthlings,
Yesterday I dodged flooded roads, closed bridges and fallen trees to head out to Coongulla where I was momentarily transported into another ‘Time and Relative Dimension in Space’, (TARDIS), in John’s observatory.



JG had the machine set to track the sun for the day and periodically he checked the images for the progress of Venus. 


In between planet and star spotting we ingulged in some bird watching. This is always a delight at John and Marg's and among the sightings we ticked Sea Eagle, Whistling Kite, Shellduck, Darter, Bowerbird, White-plumed Honeyeater, Scarlet Robin, Fan-tailed Cuckoo and heaps more.

Oh yeah ... back to the subject. You can see in the above image that John has his camera attached to the back of the main telescope and throughout the day he took some shots of the once in every hundred plus year event. In the image he has sent me, Venus is clearly visible as are some sunspots.

Thanks J&M for a wonderful morning. Hope the colds are better!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Here We Go Again

G’day Readers,
Glen and I have been camped beside the first green at the Heyfield Golf Course for more than a decade now and we cannot recall a season anything like this one for the number of flooding events. Our 100mm rain gauge has overflowed with yesterday and last night’s rain.

Although some course infrastructure has suffered a little, we don’t seem to have any large trees or limbs down.

Looking down the first fairway …

Seventh fairway below the dam wall, and yes Keith and Alan those are some of the pipes from your recently installed causeway … 

 ‘Turtle Bridge’, fifteenth fairway …

Better put the sign up …

…  and turn off the pump!