Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Swan Lake performance steals show!

We are not talking of ballet but of a visit to Phillip Island's Swan Lake last weekend. The wetland is situated in the southwestern corner of the island. And although I was very pleased to study this Black-fronted dotterel from the more southern of the two bird hides, it is not the star to which I refer!
This Black-fronted dotterel (Elseyornis melanops) was actively feeding at the lake's edge.
Below (right) we can just see it extracting a worm from the crusted mud.

I am more than a little impressed that the bright contrasting colours (black and white chest, bright red-bill and eye ring) do not stop the birds from being well camouflaged. They are quite hard to spot. Unnoticed until in flight, two others flew off while I was studying this closer bird.

The star performer?

Again, while I enjoyed watching this Eurasian coot feed in the shallows and then coming ashore to shows us its "toes with flattened lobes to assist swimming" (Pizzey) - it is not my Swan Lake star.

Eurasian coot (Fulica atra)

The site is a popular spot for Little black cormorant (outnumbering the Little pied cormorant on this occasion) and Musk duck seem reasonably constant at present (better pictures of Swan Lake birds including Musk duck at Ian Smissen's blog pages featuring a visit to Swan Lake).

The lake was far from full which surprised me given recent summer rains. Close viewing of birds was limited to the southern hide. I don't even know how this darter managed to wet its wings!

Swan Lake, Phillip Island, 25th March 2012
An iconic coastal call and an appearance not-quite-right for Pacific gull?
We have ourselves a Kelp gull (Larus dominicanus)
Swan Lake, 25 March 2012
The path leading from the car park has information boards at regular intervals. 
The Swan Lake star performance was enjoyed on the way back to the car park and viewed from the wooden boardwalk (which provides protection for shearwater burrows).

It enables me to place the words "ballet" and "echidna" in the one sentence!

The Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) which is found throughout Australia in wide-ranging habitat. There are also three species of Long-beaked echidna which live in Papua New Guinea


  1. lovely series of photos and you were oh so lucky to catch the echidna out and about too

  2. Amazing series of pictures!
    What a variety!
    A great place to watch wild life indeed!
    I bet you had a great time!
    Cheers Pete!

  3. Love your work Pete, and story-telling with suspense and humour, are you sure you didn't miss your calling after only one book? The Goodradigbee Moon I think was the title.