Monday, May 27, 2013

Golden Whistler

I spent a couple of hours in the nearby Heyfield Flora Reserve yesterday morning. This largely dry forest of Ironbark, box and stringy sometimes throws up a surprise but all was pretty quiet. A couple of seasons back, ‘parks’ did a burn in one part of the block and the colonizer species of wattles are now thick and tall.

I discovered a large number of circular scratchings in the leaf litter – typical evidence of the likely presence of Painted Button Quail. Deciding to explore the area in the faint hope of getting some sightings I began pushing through the young trees, getting closer and closer to ground level until eventually I was on my hands and knees – any quail would have been miles away I suspect.

A lone male Golden Whistler however seemed to be quite entertained by this overlarge wombat with binoculars and camera around its neck.

I’ll just have to try for the quail another day.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Zebras on Guyatt

G'day Blogworld,
I had a nice half hour at Lake Guyatt in Sale yesterday. JG gave us the ‘heads up’ on some Pink-eared Ducks he’d seen there a day or so previous so it was obligatory to check them out when I just happened to have the camera with me while shopping!

The mud flat was negotiable and I was able to work my way slowly toward the mob and sure enough, amongst the freckles, teal, woodies, etc, was a small number of ‘zebras’.

It was very nice to tick a duck we don’t get to see too often in these parts.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Heyfield Bird-watchers May 2013

I think the cold and dull day kept a lot of the Heyfield Birdwatchers at home by their fires which, as it turned out might have been just what most of the birds were doing too – if they had some sense. The colours of the autumn trees at our kick off point seemed to lift the spirits if only for a short while.

The Knob Reserve in Stratford was our first port of call and after the screeching of the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos died away we struggled to see or hear anything much at all. A nearby Grey Butcherbird was giving off that beautiful rich yet mellow call that so identifies them. In the distance we watched the aerial antics of four raptors for some time – Wedge-tailed Eagle, Whistling Kite, Black-shouldered Kite and a Peregrine Falcon – all too far off for a picture, but fascinating through the binoculars.

At the Swallow Lagoon Reserve we managed to tick a few familiar friends – Scarlet and Eastern-yellow Robins, Grey Shrike-thrush, Golden Whistler, Brown Thornbills, Grey Fantails, White-throated Treecreepers, etc and JG got a decent look at a Stubble Quail.

All was not lost but! With Val with us it wasn’t too long before she found us our first winter orchids – Mosquito Orchids and one lonely Trim Greenhood.


Ross then guided us around to the small reserve at Munro where I’d foolishly said there was a good chance to tick the not so often seen Buff-rumped Thornbill, a relatively sedentary bird I’d spotted in there on several previous occasions. The local shire had beaten us to it – the reserve had been recently burnt. We only got out of the cars long enough to decide to move back out onto the highway and head back to the Stratford Highway Park.

We did a bit better at the Highway Park – Australasian Grebe, Black Fronted Dotterel, Black Ducks, the two robins again, Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Blue Wrens, Welcome Swallows, etc.

Any day in the field is a good day, even if the wind would seem to be coming straight from the Antarctic, and especially so when with good friends.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Headache Bird

G'day Fellow Birdlovers,
We are hoping for a bit of a break in our dry spell here in much of Gippsland at the moment. Supposed to be something on the horizon – we’ll see. In the meantime watering of some recent tree plantings on the golf course has been something of a priority. Been watering the greens and tees too, but have basically switched off the fairways until next season.

While doing some trees between a couple of fairways yesterday, I was mentally recording some of the birds I was seeing and hearing – a favourite pastime of mine when the job gets a bit boring. A couple of Spotted Pardalotes were piping away constantly for a couple of hours. When the watering was finished I grabbed the camera.

So many people are surprised to see how beautiful this little bird is. Of course being so small and spending so much time in the canopy gleaning lerps etc from the leaves, they are often missed.

I must put some time in this year to try and find their nest tunnel. I’m certain they are nesting somewhere nearby and we have plenty of soft earth banks, etc that would make for easy digging – something else to do when the job becomes boring!

I don't find their constant piping call headache inducing at all. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Between The Fairways

G’day Blogworld,
In between some of the back fairways on the golf course there is some valuable, (to me, perhaps not so to many golfers), remnant bush/woodland. I’m trying to convince certain people the value of retaining these small areas as habitat. I’ve added some ‘habitat heaps’ to the ground which previously was bare, planted indigenous  trees and shrubs where there are gaps, erected some nest boxes of varying size, sprayed some weeds and grasses, etc. Slowly I’m achieving something and getting a few of the committee on-side.

A couple of days ago I saw my first Jacky Lizard here, and yesterday some small birds caught my eye as I rushed past on the motorbike. We don’t get too many little ‘bush birds’, mostly parrots, lorikeets, galahs and there is a couple of Kookaburra families, the occasional visit from some choughs, etc, oh and of course we have numerous resident Noisy Miners.

Nothing too outstanding, but I’m hoping the signs are good – the return of at least one pair of Scarlet Robins for about the third season now, and a small colony of Brown Thornbills. 

 Hope they like the place.