Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Birds return to a re-established wetland, Phillip Island

Fishers Wetland is a very accessible wetland situated on Phillip Island.  With sealed road access just a few minutes off the main Phillip Island Tourist route, car park, boardwalk and bird hide things don't get much easier. During a recent visit I took some time to read the explanatory signage which talked a little of the history of this re-established wetland (at bottom of post).

Here's a little of what I saw this day.

White-plumed honeyeater was the "honeyeater of the day"

White-plumed honeyeater. This bird demonstrated its acrobatics while feeding on inset larvae (I think) in the bushland section of the wetland reserve

There were a few comings and goings.

Black swan
Black-winged stilt and Red-kneed dotterel. I do love catching up with stilts. The shots below show what they do with that long bill.

In Australia we call these Purple swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
Swamp harrier paid a visit and caused some havoc
Superb fairy-wren
Dusky moorhen

Farmland as recent as 1998! That seems like a really quick turn around to me!

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

Bird on!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Honeyeaters & Kookaburras at Silverleaves

Silverleaves is a locale at the eastern end of Cowes, Phillip Island. Principally it is an old property estate that has retained a bushy feel. That bush consists principally of coastal banksia, ti-tree and a few eucalypts. Along its northern edge the trees give way to the tussocks and sand of the Westernport beach and tidal flats. To the east the houses end as the island is stretched into a lengthy spit. It ha bay on one side, mangrove inlet on the other.

If this all sounds a little nostalgic, then that is because I haven't made it down there for a while!

Here is a little winter miscellany consisting of some Silverleaves characters that haven't made it into other posts!

New Holland honeyeter

On this day the Eastern spinebills were in the callistemon while the New-Holland honeyeaters were in the grevillea!

Eastern rosella up high in the banksia
At least someone seems happy when the weeds aren't controlled
Laughing kookaburra, It had just stopped calling!

Bird on!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Western bowerbirds of Olive Pink

Imagine my surprise when this week's Wild Bird Wednesday post from Stewart features a Western bowerbird that I may well have met - and it lives over 2000km away from where I live!

There seems to have been a male Western bowerbird tending to a bower at the Olive Pink Botanical Garden in Alice Springs for some years. I read that the males are polygamous, mating with several females during a season so it is less likely that we have seen the same female birds.

It had me delving into old image files and mini-DV video tapes because I was pretty certain I had some video footage of the pair showing off at the bower. This was taken in June 2008 and shows the courting behaviour including the pink-coloured erectile nuchal crest of the male.

I have caught up with them on several visits to Alice Springs over the years ....

2004 (Canon Powershot A70)
2006 (EOS 300D, 125mm zoom)
Just a messy looking bower in 2007 (Powershot A530)
2008 (EOS 300D, 300mm zoom)

Bird on!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cape Barren Geese, Phillip Island

Cape Barren Geese Cereopsis novaehollandiae, Fishers Wetland, Phillip Island
I find Cape Barren Geese to be really interesting birds. Winter sees them in pairs at Phillip Island with evidence of nesting.

5 things I have learnt about Cape Barren Geese!

  1. They are able to drink brackish water enabling survival on small offshore islands
  2. There have responded well to various measures to ensure their survival after a phase of being considered endangered. They remain one of the rarest geese in the world but in their stronghold they are increasingly common.
  3. They may disperse to the mainland in summer but return to offshore islands (particularly in the Bass Strait) to breed
  4. There is a second population centred on the Recherche group of islands in Western Australia
  5. Their name harks from the Bass Strait island where European sightings were first documented - Cape Barren Island. Due to difficulties providing services to this remote location government policy in the 1950s saw Aboriginal inhabitants subject to the forceful removal of their children - now referred to as the stolen generations.

Cape Barren Geese rarely swim so this bird caught my eye. As it happens the water was so shallow it was actually wading!

This was taken as a setting-the-scene shot with the camera phone. Standing on a park bench to take the shot was enough for this female to decide she had had enough of me! Later on I saw that she was nesting (below). The nest is in the grasses at the water's edge just above her left wing in the shot above.
I have read that the male bird builds the nest and the female incubates the eggs.
Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

Bird on!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Birdin' in da city

I grabbed 45 minutes to visit the very metropolitan Westgate Park, Port Melbourne. Of the pictures taken I was most pleased with this shot of an Australasian grebe.

Australasian grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae
"Aargh! My reflective toupee has come off" 
I'm not sure why the bill of this New Holland Honeyeater looks over-sized! 
That's a little more like it!
Chestnut teal and Pacific Black Duck looked very much at home
Pacific black duck - motoring towards a prospective feed - none forthcoming!
As I was leaving I spotted this dull bird I take to be a Golden whistler (female / immature)

I invite you to click the Location geotag to see where Westgate Park fits into this very industrial area nestled amongst freeway, port and factories.

A little Instagram filter action happening in this shot!
Bird on!