Sunday, December 16, 2018

Mistletoe Bird

With the complex low that has been hovering over us recently, it was a relief to duck out to a favourite birding spot between a couple of storm cells.

Australia has around 90 species of mistletoe. None look anything like the ‘traditional’ Christmas mistletoe of the northern hemisphere. Many honeyeaters avail themselves of mistletoe nectar when they are in flower.

(Click on images for a larger view) 

I have ticked Mistletoe Birds at Thornell’s Reserve in the recent past, but a pair this morning was remarkably cooperative.

The Mistletoe Bird is the only Australian representative of the global flowerpecker family of birds.

After ten minutes or so of sneaking some pictures of a male, a movement in a nearby acacia caught my eye and the bins revealed a nest.

After cautiously working my way a little closer for a better view, I was able to see the  magnificent workmanship that had gone into the spider web construction.


There is plenty of mistletoe at Thornell’s Reserve. Mistletoe Birds eat the fruit and excrete the seeds with a sticky substance that adheres them to the branches of the host tree to ensure a succession of the parasitic plant.


While I was still 20 metres away, the female approached and began entering. She eventually got completely in and turned around to keep an eye out for any photographers.


Great to see that the heavy downpours don’t seem to be interrupting matters in the bird world.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Gippsland in flower

Tall Sun-orchid north of Jindivick

Some of my parts of Gippsland have been a little below par wildflower-wise this season. Either that or I have just not been in the right places at the right times. Nevertheless, I have gathered a few images of some of my sightings. (Click on images for a larger view).

Wallflower Orchid at Nyora

In some places there seemed to be plenty of    Sun-orchids in bud at times but it wasn't
 sunny enough for them to open properly.

Duck-orchids at Grantville

Duck-orchids are the Yellow Robins of the orchids - I cannot walk past them without taking a photo. These were growing in nearly pure sand. I've found them growing in gravel in the Baw Baw foothills.

Fringe-lily Tynong North

Found heaps of these in several locations recently. This locality was beside the aqueduct.

Among the numerous purple Fringe-lilies was an odd pale variety. Not quite pure white which I have seen before, but not far from it.

Blue Pincushions at Garfield North

These Brunonia sp were just a few of the species that seemed to have survived the grazers on Mt Cannibal this year!

Small (probably) Spider-orchid Wonthaggi

I always delight coming across a Spider-orchid. Many references show images of these beauties appearing colonies. I just have to live long enough!

Salmon (I think) Sun-orchid at Corinella

Along with a mate, we lucked on an amazing display of triggers, suns, onions, tufted-blues, etc at the Corinella cemetery. Ended up returning several times just to see the carpet of colour.

Purple Diuris at Longford

A long day was spent in the Holey Plains State Park and nearby. So dry, but it was great to see the diuris was surviving (and Prostanthera galbraithea, etc).

Nice to see that even in what I call a 'poor season' that many of our beautiful native flowers are surviving climate change, drought and land clearing - but for how much longer?