Sunday, April 28, 2013

ANZAC Day birds, Phillip Island

"Lest We Forget" ANZAC Day commemorations, Cowes, Victoria
Here is a small sample of birds seen around Phillip Island on April 25. I particularly enjoyed this BSK which was surveying land that was being prepared for a housing estate development.

Black-shouldered kite, Cowes, Phillip Island

Someone is clearly feeding a family of Australian Magpies in the Silverleaves area. The birds are at various stages of plumage.

Australian Magpie. I love how this immature bird really does appear to be in short pants (below)

A Grey Butcherbird appeared at the same time curious to make sure it wasn't missing out on any action!

Grey Butcherbird checking on the neighbours
Grey butcherbird
Bird on!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rainbows and firewheels

We feel quite blessed to have a Queensland firewheel tree (Stenocarpus sinuatus) in our backyard. Living in temperate Melbourne our's may not be the best specimen as this tree is more at home in the subtropics. However it flowers spectacularly and is currently sought after by the local Rainbow lorikeets, Noisy miners and Red wattlebirds.

Rainbow lorikeet enjoying a Queensland firewheel tree, Blackburn, 9 April 2103 

The remaining pictures were taken last Autumn.

Bird on!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Double-banded plover at Silverleaves

I've had a few instances in recent times noticing something a little bit different about the shorebirds at Silverleaves. It is possibly that I'm getting better at recognising the "odd bird out" having become very familiar with the most commonly seen locals, Hooded and Red-capped plovers. As well as the recent Visit from Red-necked stints I'm also noticing Double-banded plover on the beach. Last weekend several Double-banded (left below) and Red-capped plovers were grouping and moving together.

One day while bathing, Reg noticed the other birds were different.
Double-banded plover with Red-capped plover at Silverleaves, Phillip Island
I'm impressed that while the four small shorebirds mentioned above are similar in size and in choosing to frequent the same bit of Westernport beach, they differ vastly in their movements and range:

Red-capped plover - a predominantly Australian coastal bird, it breeds throughout the country, even inland if conditions suit. Abundant in some areas individual populations may be either sedentary or nomadic.

Hooded plover - endangered shorebird of Southern coasts, breeds spring & summer, stays put or disperses locally.

Red-necked stint - abundant summer migrant to Australia (most in NW or SE) leaving to breed in Arctic Siberia and Alaska during the Australian winter although some "overwinter" in Australia.

Double-banded plover - breeds in New Zealand. The birds we get in Australia apparently migrate annually from New Zealand's South Island to our slightly warmer southern coasts for winter.
Quite sensible really!

Away from the beach the bushland birds of Silverleaves perhaps tend not to vary as much!

New Holland honeyeater "hawking" for insects
Back on the perch
Acrobatic Silvereye
Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo
Little wattlebird
Grey currawong
 Bird on!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Phillip Island raptors

'Enjoyed several encounters with raptors at Phillip Island at the weekend. I was driving along a gravel backroad and went past this car-stopper. The Brown falcon hung around briefly while I cricked my neck trying to photograph it out the car window having stopped 20 metres further on.

Brown falcon, Phillip Island
Ready for take-off! Brown falcon, Pyramid Rock Rd, Phillip Island, 7th April 2013
I'm glad I stopped! I was also looking foward to checking out photos taken of a fast moving but silhouetted falcon seen at Swan Lake .....

Peregrine falcon (immature), Swan Lake, Phillip Island
Bird on!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Freckled ducks at Swan Lake, Phillip Island

A small group of Freckled duck have settled into Phillip Island's Swan Lake since October 2012. I had noticed that they had started appearing on Eremaea lists in recent months and was thrilled to find them still present close to the northern-most bide hide at the weekend. Although not being terribly cooperative for the camera I was pleased to find them readily identifiable - a "lifer"!

Freckled duck, Phillip Island, 7th April 2013
I read that they are irruptive in distribution which is confirmed by the Eremaea lists for Victoria. None were reported at all for the entire state in 2010. This year has seen them in greater numbers than any previous year and we are only up to April!

Freckled Duck sightings in Victoria (Eremaea birds)

The Freckled duck were "roosting" along the edge of the drying lake mixing it with the usual good numbers of Eurasian coot, a few Black-fronted dotterel and the odd Little black cormorant.

There was lots to see on the day with several birds presenting nicely for photography from the hides. Seen below are Black-fronted dotterel, Black swan, White-faced heron, Pacific gull, Hoary-headed grebe, Eurasian coot, Australian white ibis and Little pied cormorant.

It was also a good opportunity to add to my fine photographic collection of Musk duck tail flicks...

Musk duck motoring along. I love how unusual these ducks are in appearance and behaviour.
Cape Barren Goose
"Swan Lake" or "Goose Puddle"?

The walk from the car park to the wetlands also affords good birding of bushland birds. Here we have New Holland honeyeater, some shy Red-browed finch, Eastern Yellow Robin and what I think is a young Golden whistler.

 Bird on!