Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gorgeous Golden whistler - Birds of Phillip Island

Golden whistler, Silverleaves, Phillip Island
I was treated to easily my best views ever of a male Golden whistler at Phillip Island yesterday. This species has often had me craning my neck looking into the canopy to try to find where that marvellous sound was coming from.

As you can see I had several minutes with this fellow as it fed in some smaller trees.

The bird was adept at detecting the presence of small grubs. This one was whacked repeatedly and wrapped one way then the other around this branch before being dispatched.

Bird on!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Black currawong & friends, Tahune Airwalk, Huon Valley

I was on the look out for those Tasmanian endemics during our April holiday. On this occasion a lifer flew right on to the outside tables of a cafe and said "Here I am, tick me off!"
Black currawong, Tahune airwalk,Tasmania, April 2014

The Tahune Airwalk is one of those elevated canopy walks. I walked another once in Western Australia. On both occasions I was enamoured with the possibility of some close-up shots of those little feathered creatures that always seem so distant in the upper most branches. Not to be!

I did however come across my first Bassian Thrush sighting for the year. Always a good bird for the year list!

Bassian thrush, Tahune Airwalk, Huon valley, Tasmania

I had caught a definite glimpse of a male Pink robin but only a female posed for photographs.

Pink robin, Tahune Airwalk, April 2014

This Crescent honeyeater had it's banksia feast interrupted
Bird on!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Birds of Sugarloaf Reservoir

Wedge-tailed eagle, Sugarloaf Reservoir Park (31 July 2013)
I think I have found a place close enough to home (which is in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne) that provides birding a little different from my immediate haunts. The bush around Sugarloaf Reservoir has sections of dry open forest and grassland. This provides for different birding from the tall forests and dense fern gullies of the Dandenongs for instance.

Here is a Park Guide. I have just visited for a second time. On both occasions the visit was in winter and I enjoyed walking the first 1km or so of the Chris Phillips Walk (leaving from the Saddle Dam Picnic area).

Pied currawong
White-winged chough have a great habit of nonchalantly wandering away from the observer - slow enough to get you interested but rarely presenting a favourable perspective! 
Missed the opportunity! Out-of-focus White-winged chough
Crimson rosella
White-eared honeyeater

Brown-headed honeyeater
Golden whistler
Superb fairy-wren 
Female Scarlet robin - the "insurance shot"
Managed to get a little closer to the male - Scarlet robin
"Bye!" Scarlet robin
Australian pelican

Great habitat for bush birds!
Eastern grey kangaroo

Bird on!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tamar Island Wetlands, Tasmania

I visited this intriguing place in the chill of a squally late afternoon in April this year. The birding wasn't great that evening but I suspect I just "lucked-out" as it looks like a great spot!

Superb fairy-wren, Tamar Wetlands Reserve
This information brochure describes how the island in the middle of the Tamar River was originally surrounded by marshland. It was used as a base for dredging to make the river more navigable. Eventually the waterway to the west of the island was filled with scuttled ships and barges thereby increasing the flow through the eastern channel. This was to increase boating access to the Port of Launceston.

A impressive history of how "progress" determines the nature of the local landscape!

Now the island and wetlands to the west of the island are a reserve with boardwalks, hides and other facilities including an "interpretative centre".

Great egret arrives, Tamar Wetlands Reserve 

Pacific gull
Chestnut teal - a chilly way to get a feed! 
Masked lapwing looks to be wishing it was a migratory bird!
Black swan
Little black cormorant on the remains of scuttled vessels?
Black-fronted dotterel
Purple swamphen
Introduced Common greenfinch enjoying one of the exotic trees of Tamar Island planted over 100 years ago
Approaching Tamar Island on one of the boardwalks

A pot of gold at Launceston
Looking south through the long lens to Launceston some 10km away and a good sized (150+) flock of white birds never came close enough for identification (first guess would be Australian white ibis)!
The bird hide
Slowly getting used to ebird (but I do miss the simple but versatile Eremaea!)
Google earth view showing the wetlands and main walking trail. The car park is back at the highway. Now I wonder what that green circle can be!?
My iphoto geotags for this walk!
Bird on!