Monday, February 25, 2013


G'day Readers,
An approaching thundercloud and a sudden rise in humidity had me running inside for the camera yesterday in the hope of spotting some Needletail Swifts that often accompany such conditions. No go on both fronts – no swifts and NO B….. RAIN!

Eastern and Crimson Rosellas are the two principal parrot species on the golf course. A few hollow trees and a dozen or so nest boxes encourage them to stick around. The easterns like the seed heads on the grasses and the crims enjoy seeds and fruits of the shrubs and trees. I’ve reported seeing a hybrid before and it is still around.

Not too unusual really, the www is full of such photos. Some look like crimsons with white cheeks and others look like easterns with blue cheeks. I’m reporting this pair from the point of view of the territory they occupy.

We have both species all over the golf course and in the garden here at home, (next door), and I’ve always considered that I’d probably be seeing some of the same birds when I was on the 12th green at one end of the course, or the 1st green at the other end. Yesterday it dawned on me that I only ever see this pair around the 8th and 16th greens that by a quirk of golf course geography are very close to one another. It seems the birds are very specific in the territory they like to occupy.

Here’s a couple of shots that show normal(?)  Eastern and Crimson Rosellas.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Holey Sittellas

Yesterday I joined a small band of dedicated birdwatchers as we ignored the heat, met up in Rosedale and headed south. The western chapter of BLEG, (the Heyfield mob), was joined by some of the East Gippsland colony and as a mixed species we explored a small part of the Holey Plains State Park. Our strategy for most of the day was to saunter slowly between patches of shade where we would pause and try to spot birds.

We began at Harrier Swamp where the ‘Parks’ people suggest on their notice board that the short circular track should take 20 minutes to return. I don’t think they were considering birdwatchers when they came up with that figure. Eastern Yellow Robins, Rufous Whistlers, White-eared Honeyeaters, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Brown Thornbills, Red-browed Finches, Eastern Spinebills, Grey Currawongs, Sacred Kingfishers, Grey Shrike-thrushes, White-throated Treecreepers, White-browed Scrubwrens, Scarlet Robins, Musk Lorikeets … were among some of the ticks on this walk.

 Back at the car park there was a small remnant waterhole that attracted a nice variety of birds for the photographers while they had a drink and a splash – the birds that is.

 Next we headed for the picnic ground at Merriman’s Creek. This required a small detour around a fallen tree which we all negotiated successfully. Lunch was held in the shade of some big eucs.


After lunch we explored the banks of the creek – almost to no avail except for an excellent tick of a Bassian Thrush by Ross whose quick camera work confirmed the sighting.

After struggling back up the bank and onto the road we suddenly came upon a small colony of Varied Sittellas feeding in the eucs. John sent me some of his pictures which are a great series of shots that nicely describe the habits of this wonderful little bird, (… foraging together … working their way down the branches and trunks … gleaning insects etc from cracks in the bark … often hanging upside down).




Just delightful John, thanks!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Brief Update

G'day Blogworld,
Thought a little update on the fire situation around here was due. There is still some activity to the north and west of us but most of it is taking place behind control lines. Our greatest threat will be from ember attack if strong westerly or northerly winds eventuate. Things are calm right now and the wind forecast is relatively benign – but, we ain’t going anywhere soon!

Here’s a shot of today's smoke plume from Black Range between Seaton and Glenmaggie …

We are trying to continue with life as normal - watering...watering...watering the golf course. Now and then I am alert enough to get the camera out, like this morning ...

Looks like I haven't cleaned the lens for a while? Not really, the Plague Soldier Beetles are, well, in plague.

The Soldier Beetles are pretty well harmless. They feed on nectar and pollen and soft bodied insects apparently. At the end of a hot day they cover the greens on the golf course seeking moisture and although they lay their eggs in the soil, their larvae only eat other soft bodied larvae it seems. My consultant tells me not to get too concerned about them - hope he's right!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Delightful Damsel

G'day Readers, (if there are any left?),
It has been some time since I've managed to get the camera in hand. This season started brilliantly with some glorious spring rains, wildflowers bursting out everywhere, birds nesting ...(mowers revving!). It sure has changed. We haven't had more than a millimetre or two of rain in weeks. Troughs and fronts will appear on the radar then slip south or weaken and we end up getting little more than a heavy dew! Keeping the grass on the golf course green and alive has been occupying me nearly full time and more.

There was a flush of Damselflies around the home dam a day or two ago. Beautiful creatures despite their reputation of being winged assassins.

 I don't know my odonata very well at all - I think this is one of the 'ringtails'. Kept my mind from watering/mowing for five minutes while I struggled with matters like aperature priority, centre-weighted metering, macro program, etc, then it was back onto that motorbike around the fairways and down to the pump shed - again.