Sunday, September 30, 2012

Gluepot 2012 - Hattah Kulkyne NP #1

G’day Readers,
I think every visitor to the Hattah-KulkyneNP just north of Ouyen is welcomed by the Apostle Birds in the car park at the visitors centre. 


According to Pizzey and Knight, these birds are just about at their southern limit at Ouyen and the description given seems quite apt – ‘Usually in groups of 6-10 … Garrulous, restless, aggressive; forages on the ground, walking slowly, running, jumping…’ – (sounds like a few of the kids I used to teach!).

We arrived on Wednesday and set up our camps beside Lake Mournpall and got stuck into birding pretty well straight away.
Thanks Deirdre - I thought I was the only one up that early?

We got some nice ticks over the next couple of days including Regent Parrot and Major Mitchell Cockatoo. Others in the group scored some nice shots of both birds but I lucked out there and only had some wonderful views through the binoculars.
Nearly the only very distant/poor light shot I got.

Another bird almost on its southern limit here is the Eastern Ringneck. There are several races of Ringneck it seems and they can each have several common names. I’m afraid I don’t fuss over this sort of debate. I believe we ticked the Eastern or Mallee Ringneck. They often forage on the ground or in the low shrubs offering great photo opportunities.

Whatever the name, a lovely bird not often seen in Gippsland!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Who is stalking who?


Although the distribution of the Nankeen Night Heron is quite widespread, it is always something of a surprise when they turn up here at the Heyfield Golf Course dam. Mind you, they are welcome any time they like.


Two days ago I sprung these two when I was stalking something else. I’d spotted a small unrecognizable bird dive into some scrub beside the dam so I ducked home for the camera. Didn’t have any luck but the two herons flew up onto the top branches of an old euc and continued to watch, (stalk?), me. I was a long way off, but they watched every move I made until one flew off just as I tried to get into a position to snap both birds side by side.


It was though they knew what I was up to – just as I got into position, one took off.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Gluepot 2012 - Getting There.

A small band of HBW’s set off for the Gluepot Reserve earlier this month. For yours truly this is my ‘annual holidays’ and the chance see some different country. It was nice to get away.

I started seeing different birds to the usual ‘Gippslanders’ once I was beyond Melbourne. One of the first was the Brown Treecreeper. I don’t think I’ve ever seen our White-throated Treecreeper other than as a single bird, but I often saw the Brown Treecreepers working the trunks and branches in small parties.


The broad landscapes always get me in when I hit this part of our big brown land and this year was no exception except that it seemed many of the wheat fields had been replaced with canola.


Driving long distances has never been a big problem for me but I do need to pull over for a cuppa at times. The picture below is about the set up for the roadside stops – you might notice the radio tuned softly to Classic FM, the field guide and binoculars close by, stove and food boxes, etc. It only takes a minute or two to have the billy boiling.


More of this nonsense soon.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's nice to be home.

G’day Everyone,
I’m back from my ‘epic annual trek’ to the fabulous Gluepot Reserve, more of which I will bore you with shortly.

After mowing our lawns, emptying the ute and passing all my washing to Glen – (shoulda seen the smile I got!) – I had to check the golf course. I went straight to the driest greens and saw they were still alive – thanks Jason – then headed for the bush.

Glen had reported Noisy Friarbirds to me while I was away, but it was a bit of surprise to see and hear them in nearly every flowering eucalypt on the front nine fairways.

Noisy Friarbird - an occassional visitor in good numbers this year.
 We have been here around ten years and have the occasional bird visit us on a few occasions. This year they have definitely decided to check the place out. My initial estimation is around 50 birds. Quite a bit of competition for the Noisy Miners and Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets.

Voice - harsh, repeated, 'tobacco', or 'yakob'.
 Next I looked at a few of the couple of hundred plantings of young eucs, shrubs, etc that I’d been putting a bit of effort into just before leaving. All seemed healthy and alive. A few of the tiny Austral Indigos I put in have doubled their height and are loaded with flowers. What a season!

Then it was the turn of the ‘nature trails’ in the bush beside the 17th fairway to check on what flowers had come out in the fortnight I’ve been away, and it was a delight to see – fingers, waxlips, peas, triggers, heaths, etc.

Waxlip Orchid, (Glossodia major). Nice display at present.
White Finger Orchid, (I think) - they can be so variable.

Nice to be home, but I do love that desert country over in SA.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Gluepot ...

... here I come.

G’day Folks,
Just a few days to go and I’ll be heading over to that wonderful SA desert country once more for my annual dose of ‘different habitat - different birds’. A small group of Heyfield Birdwatchers will be joining me and we are looking forward to a great time.

Gluepot of course is the BirdLife Australia’s wonderful reserve just north of Waikerie.  I have visited the place on several previous occasions and have to admit to being smitten. Here’s a small sample of some of the birds I ticked in 2010 …

Chestnut Quail-thrush
Gilbert's Whistler
Masked Woodswallow
White-browed Babbler
White-fronted Honeyeater
If you would like to see some more from last year’s visit, click on my new DPHOTO gallery link that appears in the column on the right hand side of this blog. (My Tabblo galleries were lost when Tabblo suddenly and unannounced was shut down!)

Can’t wait.