Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Grubby corellas & Middle Lagoon miscellany

Here's a final selection of photos from our time at Middle Lagoon in August 2012. I have never seen corellas look so grubby!

Little corella
Grey-crowned babbler
Little friarbird admires the sunrise
Little friarbird (left) and Diamond dove

Yellow silvereye in the mangroves
Also seen readily in the mangroves was Broad-billed flycatcher (above and below)

I reckon I had a great shot of the male Mangrove golden whistler but there was no card in the camera AAARRgh! I went back for it but only found the female.
Why did the Long-tailed finch cross the road?
Singing honeyeater (above) and Brown honeyeater (below) were the predominant smaller honeyeaters at the time

Bird on!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Eastern curlew in flight

I spent an hour on the rising tide at Observation Point, Phillip Island last weekend. I always enjoy seeing that peculiar looking and exotic traveller, the Eastern curlew. On this occasion there were about 10 birds.

Another Eastern curlew joins the line-up along the shallows on the rising tide, 19 Jan 2013.

This bird joined its mates on the other side of the spit by foot (Eastern curlew with Caspian and Crested tern as well as Red-necked stint)
I had moved on from the curlew but without warning most were up and off! They offered excellent views as they circled closely.
Eastern curlew, Phillip Island, 19 Jan 2013
It is also nice to catch up with the local Hooded plover population. No birds were seen when walking past the fenced off nesting area near Silverleaves but these first two birds were seen 400m further east. I am wondering if this first photo featuring an unflagged bird represents successful nesting?

Another few hundred metres along the beach was a trio of banded and flagged birds.
Red-capped plover (centre) and Red-necked stint
Bar-tailed godwit were present in reasonable numbers
As the tide rose this group of birds (includes terns, godwits and a curlew) left the distant spit and repositioned much closer to my vantage point! At rear is the Silverwater Resort near San Remo on the mainland. 

Bar-tailed godwits over the Rhyll Inlet

Bar-tailed godwits, Black swan and a single Pied oystercatcher at rear
iPhone shot of the spit from my vantage point (you can just make out the birds as white specks)

Bird on!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

White-browed woodswallow & other road trip birds

We drove home from Wee Jasper to Melbourne last Saturday. Here are the car stoppers! The first two shots were taken on the Wee Jasper - Yass Road near the intersection with Sawyers Gully Road (locale known as Narrangullen?).

White-browed woodswallow 
Australasian pipit
Nankeen night-heron lurking near the bridge over the Goodradigbee at Wee Jasper
Lunch was at Holbrook (the queue at the well-known bakery was out the door - we settled for our own sandwiches) where I was surprised to see Blue-faced honeyeater and a pair of Dollarbirds.

This Dollarbird and what I believe to be Yellow thornbill were seen when walking the Ian Geddes Bushwalk at Holbrook.

Nice January additions to this Melbourne birder's year list!

Bird on!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

White-bellied sea eagles, Goodradigbee River

In the recent heat wave conditions the increasingly shallow waters of the Goodradigbee River lost their usual mountain stream chill. With water temperatures as high as 28 degrees celsius we started to notice that every 100 metres or so one or two dead fish could be seen and this appears to have attracted scavengers. White-bellied sea eagle are a familiar sighting around the Burrinjuck Dam 8km downstream and are known to nest in the area. While doing a spot of trout fishing along the Goodradigbee River near Micalong Creek we were surprised to see a pair of sea eagles on the river and this in one of it's steeper gullies.

White-bellied sea eagle gaining height after being surprised by fisherman on the Goodradigbee River, NSW
We caught nothing by the way and blamed the warm water! Most of the dead fish were small (15-20cm) but this magnificent Brown Trout was found floating in the Micalong Creek! Tragic!

River scene where the sea eagles were seen. The river bank also shows the damage from last year's floods 
More images of the Goodradigbee River near Swinging Bridge Reserve (Jan 2012)
Platypus photographed from across the river at Swinging Bridge Reserve (Jan 2012, before the flood, not seen this year) 
Two images from the flood plain (and sometimes bed of the Burrinjuck Dam). Currently much water has been let out of the dam which was full in recent months

Bird on!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bird construction Inc. (nests, tunnels, bowers)

It appears that summer in Wee Jasper is still family time with many juvenile birds around and still much evidence of nesting activity.

I am always a little excited to come up from Melbourne and see the Rainbow Bee-eaters. These are distant views taken across the Goodradigbee River but they show the bird leaving and approaching the nesting tunnel.

Rainbow bee-eater, January 2013

Fairy martin bottle nests
This Willie wagtail nest was built over the water. 
It was pointed out by the kids who had noticed it while floating down the river on tyre tubes. 
What works best - the feather or the cap? Not a nest of course but the bower of the Satin bowerbird.
And finally Marj K has some nice shots of Leaden flycatchers nesting at nearby Micalong Reserve.

Bird on!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wee Jasper birdsong

The air is full of birdsong at Swinging Bridge Reserve, Wee Jasper. "Song" is not always apt when much of the "noise" is coming from the large parrot population. Sulphur-crested cockatoo, King parrots, Crimson rosella and Galah were the most obvious during our visit last week. Yellow-tailed black cockatoo and Gang-gang (although not seen on this occasion) are also regular visitors.

Australian King parrot (male above, immature below)

Immature Crimson rosella
Rufous whistler were actively singing .... err ... whistling! A constant joy!
The penetrating piping of White-throated treecreeper added some further charm.
Yellow-faced honeyeater was the predominant honeyeater species and leant its frequent brisk call to the chorus. 

My first thought was that this was an immature Black-chinned honeyeater but it has been pointed out that Brown-headed honeyeater is a much better fit - Excellent - a lifer! A review of Pizzey suggests that there are five honeyeater species with that familiar white nape and paler front. Of these I am yet to see the Strong-billed honeyeater endemic to Tasmania.

The Leaden flycatcher buzzing calls added a different dimension as did the Satin bowerbirds at their bower. Noisy friarbird were ..... well, noisy! Kookaburras provided a daily (or twice daily) chorus. When I first heard roosting Australian wood ducks calling ("gnaaaaw") I wondered if I was listening to a broken kookaburra that couldn't get going!

Australian wood duck - We don't really "quack"

Large numbers of Superb fairywren led the small bird voice accompanied by White-browed scrubwren. Diamond firetail provided an occaisonal finchy flavour.

All in all a most pleasant and amazing soundscape!

Bird on!