Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Little wattlebird

Wattlebirds must like wattle. Right? I assumed so as a kid. That's how they got their name, yes?

Wrong. I now understand that these honeyeaters are so named because of the bits of coloured flesh that hang from each side of their neck which are of course called ... "wattles". When Australians hear the word "wattle" they think of trees and shrubs belonging to the genus "Acacia".

To confuse things further we have here the Little wattlebird whose wattles are so "little" they are non-existant!

These pictures from last weekend were taken using the bathroom window as a hide while this fellow was feeding on a planted garden grevillea.

Brutal sunlight & 35 deg celsius outside. 

Head rush anyone?
This is how I get my rufous wing patch.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Suburban eagles

In suburban Montrose scoring a wedgie may be something best avoided.

Today however, this trio of Wedge-tailed eagles left me in unexpected raptures. On a brief reconnaissance mission to investigate whether a Montrose Reservoir seen in the street directory was accessible and "birdable" I was surprised to find it in a slightly elevated position. I stepped out of the car to find three Wedge-tailed eagles in low flight around me.

One was calling a lot and my guess is that this was the immature looking bird.

As can be seen from the pictures (taken over three minutes) the weather was typical of Melbourne weather - "four seasons in one day". Depending on which direction the lens was pointing we have blue sky, light cloud or dark thunderstorm. It was also blowing a bit of gale perhaps assisting an inexperienced bird to launch (or making it harder?).

The pictures are heavily silhouetted and reminds me to do some photography homework in this area (any hints? - please don't suggest a new lens).

Sunlit fingers & storm cloud

This heavily silhouetted image was "enhanced" in a bid
to reveal the interaction between the birds.
"Is it safe?" 
I wondered if my arrival had disturbed the birds from a roost or nest site but none was immediately visible.

The last two in the series are photographic failures
but remind me how close I was to these low flying beauties.
 ....and just how big they are!

PS - 'turns out Montrose Reservoir has a "No admittance" sign although there are no physical barriers to pedestrian access. A little further research (different map) indicates that it is a roofed reservoir and the elevated area is about 210m above sea level:

I may however re-visit the car park!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mushy Muskies @ Cheltenham

Things were getting a little cozy in the tree-lined suburban streets of Cheltenham Victoria on Australia Day this year.

Musk lorikeets

"You scratch my back ....."

"...I'll scratch yours!"

Getting right in to feeding time
Eucalyptus ficifolia I think
(a red-flowering gum native to Western Australia)

"Surprise! Am I missing anything!?"

Friday, January 27, 2012

Other Wee Jasper regulars

Yellow-faced honeyeater was the season's prominent small honeyeater (noisy friarbird representing the larger group) ...

Also enjoyed views of spotted pardalote, treecreepers in their classic poses and rufous whistler. As well as the aforementioned gang-gangs and YTBs there were other parrot companions in king parrot, sulfur crested cockatoo and crimson rosella (not pictured). 

Spotted pardalote

Brown tree-creeper

White-throated tree-crepper

Rufous whistler

Australian King-parrot

Sulfur crested cockatoo

The ubiquitous Superb fairy-wren (female)

This Australian raven was feasting on something
curled up in a leaf.

Willie wagtail

Our lame, constant companion
Practically all birding time was within walking distance of Swinging Bridge Reserve. A drive downstream to Burrinjuck Dam expanded the list (red-rumped parrot, white-bellied sea eagle, white plumed honeyeater, brown tree-creeper, white-faced heron, Australian hobby to name a few).

Surprisingly dipped on nankeen kestrel and white-winged chough (others in the family group saw both!)

The list after 6 days went something like this:

  1. Australian Wood Duck
  2. Pacific Black Duck
  3. Australasian Grebe
  4. Australasian Darter
  5. White-faced Heron
  6. White-bellied Sea-Eagle
  7. Wedge-tailed Eagle
  8. Australian Hobby
  9. Masked Lapwing
  10. Crested Pigeon
  11. Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
  12. Gang-gang Cockatoo
  13. Galah
  14. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  15. Crimson Rosella
  16. Eastern Rosella
  17. Red-rumped Parrot
  18. Australian King-Parrot
  19. Laughing Kookaburra
  20. Sacred Kingfisher
  21. Rainbow Bee-eater
  22. Satin Bowerbird
  23. White-throated Treecreeper
  24. Brown Treecreeper
  25. Superb Fairy-wren
  26. Eastern Spinebill
  27. Yellow-faced Honeyeater
  28. White-plumed Honeyeater
  29. New Holland Honeyeater
  30. Spotted Pardalote
  31. White-browed Scrubwren
  32. Yellow-rumped Thornbill
  33. Dusky Woodswallow
  34. Grey Butcherbird
  35. Australian Magpie
  36. Pied Currawong
  37. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
  38. Rufous Whistler
  39. Grey Shrike-thrush
  40. Willie Wagtail
  41. Grey Fantail
  42. Magpie-lark
  43. Australian Raven
  44. Eastern Yellow Robin
  45. Welcome Swallow
  46. Common Blackbird
  47. Common Starling
  48. Mistletoebird
  49. European Goldfinch
  50. House Sparrow
  51. Red-browed Finch

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wee Jasper Gang-gangs

I missed out on one of those amazing "Don't mind me I'm feasting on this bush" gang-gang experiences when you feel as though reaching out & touching would be tolerated. However the local Wee Jasper gang-gangs still obliged for a few pictures:

My son loves this silhouette!

Female gang-gang

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yellow-tailed black cockatoo drinks from the Goodradigbee

That's a river.

We are again at Wee Jasper, NSW, and the call and flight of this iconic bird can be witnessed many times a day. Mostly they are seen in flight or noisily eating in the tree tops....


This bloke however was a little thirsty and came down for a drink....

Unfortunately the bird was obscured by the steep bank when he was drinking. So far I continue to be disappointed at my results when photographing this iconic bird (I want to get that tail fanned)!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Satin bowerbirds at bower

Another Wee Jasper gem was the bower being attended by the local Satin bowerbirds:

The bower featuring a prized clothes peg

A "green bird" inspects the bower.

At  top right the male is sure that the clothes peg
will win him the prize .....

well .... surely you can't resist this plastic bottle cap?

Maybe if I rustle my feathers while holding
a beer bottle top ....

"Stuff it, I'm going to try yellow"