Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bellbirds at Koomba Park

I returned to Koomba Park in the outer eastern Melbourne suburb of Wantirna today. The park contains lakes and billabongs fed by the Dandenong Creek. Although sizeable and containing some nice wetlands the park is absolutely metropolitan in nature. Reminders include the high tension electricity pylons and the prominence of noxious flora. Whoever contributed the Wikipedia Koomba Park entry felt it worthwhile to include a paragraph about crime in the park. Lovely!

It was another grey day in Melbourne with intermittent misty rain threatening to become showers. Armed only with my camera and long lens to ward off the advancing criminals I wandered off keen for birding pleasures to gladden the heart.

The only highlight was a colony of Bell miners in the same spot I had seen them in March 2011. Again they came lower than I have experienced elsewhere giving a chance for some photos.

I enjoyed watching them and was impressed with how aggressively they defended their patch. They would interrupt their feeding to see off any bird threat (principally other honeyeaters and a pardalote I think).

It would be remiss of me to not mention the gorgeous call of this bird. I was reminded today that if heard close by the noise can be startling as it is quite loud. Cameron Stephen's webpage has a recording of the call here. I enjoyed hearing it again!

Bell miner (Manoria melanophrys) 
The light was difficult and results not great but I appreciate any photo of these guys as they are generally dots in the canopy or invisible!

New Holland honeyeater ducking for cover from the aggressive Bell miners. When seen in the larger version the swirling light rain could be mistaken as snow!
Site of the Bell miner colony, Koomba Park
Koomba Park - a very metropolitan reserve!
Did I mention the weather?
Another great recording of bell miner calls on stevehapp's youtube clip from Lake Macquarie, NSW (with Eastern whipbird calls and Satin bowerbird bower thrown in!):


  1. Excellent photographs. Never managed a photo of a bell miner myself but am always delighted to be surrounded by them. Great work.

  2. Great series!
    It looks like all Miners are aggressive!
    These are quite beautiful with this yellowish moustache!
    Well done!

  3. I've been in the middle of a colony of them but couldn't get photos; I love their call

  4. there's a colony at Cranbourne Botanical gardens but always hard to photograph in well treed shady areas. Their call is constantly chiming in the background and is unmistakable.

  5. G'day Pete,
    Yeah, well done getting their picture - I think my honeyeater file is nearly devoid of Bell Miner shots too. And, of course they are the reason there were not too many other species on the day. One of my stalking techniques is if I come across a colony of Bell Miners I put my head down and try to walk out of the location quickly!