Evening around Werribee Treatment Plant

It only took a glance at the weather map in the paper, while I was at the coffee shop to conclude, “Golden Light Night Tonight”.

So a quick chat with EE and we were ready to go by mid afternoon.  I think the gear being loaded in the car was about as much persuasion as it took.

True to form the sky was a beautiful blue, the light was golden and the birds in the late evening light were active.  

I could go on about it, but the pictures probably are better at telling the story.

Enjoy. We did.

Brown Falcon about to launch.
Brown Falcon about to launch.
A very well fed Brown Falcon was enjoying the quiet while its meal went down.
A very well fed Brown Falcon was enjoying the quiet while its meal went down.
Swamp Harrier has just seen me and swung around to fly away.
Swamp Harrier has just seen me and swung around to fly away.
On Beach Road, an Australian Hobby has taken up residence for the moment.
On Beach Road, an Australian Hobby has taken up residence for the moment.
On a beach full of waders I found some Red-capped Plovers hard at work.
On a beach full of waders I found some Red-capped Plovers hard at work.
See, this is why we used to call them 'Spur-winged Plovers'
See, this is why we used to call them ‘Spur-winged Plovers’
A Whistling Kite in brilliant yellow light.
A Whistling Kite in brilliant yellow light.
From the Bird Hide. Extreme low tide meant a huge feeding ground for the hungry waders.
From the Bird Hide. Extreme low tide meant a huge feeding ground for the hungry waders.

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Morning at Point Cook park

“What about going to Point Cook Park in the morning” said the ebullient email.

Quick check of diary, (euphemism in there somewhere).   And it was set.

The weather was a bit average, and we didn’t get around to see the American Plover that has been reported, but we did have a nice sit on the beach, and watch the gulls at play.   Few bush birds to be seen, and to enliven the moment a curious Crested Pigeon powered in to sit on a branch only metres from where I was standing.

While we were sitting on the beach, enjoying the view, the conversation and the Orange Pekeo, I scanned the horizon in the binoculars hoping to see a sea bird or two.

Ohh ahhh me hearties, says I, “A sail on the horizon, Mr Hornblower”, I cried. And lo, we looked and indeed it was a sail, several infact, and all seemingly attached to the shimmering hull of the ship on the horizon.   “Pirates?”  The heat haze gave the moment a most otherworldly dream feel.

Seems the be sails attached to hull were likely to be the “Enterprise”, a local boat given to cruises, training and school excursions and the like.  Certainly made for an interesting sight from the usual birds.

 

Pied Cormorant, some what bemused by the antics of its neighbours on the pier.
Pied Cormorant, some what bemused by the antics of its neighbours on the pier.
Inbound.  The AF on the camera nailed the LIttle Pied Cormorant that gave a lovely wing spread as it gained control of its landing.
Inbound. The AF on the camera nailed the LIttle Pied Cormorant that gave a lovely wing spread as it gained control of its landing.
One foot or two?  Pacific Gulls deciding on the best way to nap.
One foot or two? Pacific Gulls deciding on the best way to nap.
"Gotcha", a female Superb Fairy Wren comes out to check what is happening.
“Gotcha”, a female Superb Fairy Wren comes out to check what is happening.
Sails on the horizon, Mr Hornblower.  The heat haze transforms the moment into a impressionistic interpretation.  Think the white blob might be the ferry to Tasmania.
Sails on the horizon, Mr Hornblower. The heat haze transforms the moment into a impressionistic interpretation.
Think the white blob might be the ferry to Tasmania.
Hello Crestie,   it dropped by to check things out, and has that typical 'amazed' look.  But the wing patterns showed well.
Hello Crestie, it dropped by to check things out, and has that typical ‘amazed’ look. But the wing patterns showed well.

Bounding about Banyule

The Beginners Group of Melbourne Birdlife Australia were having a day at the Banyule Flats park,  and as luck would have it the Meetup Bird Photography group were going to be there in the afternoon.  Not one to have too to many things conflicting in the diary, (euphemism in there), we decided to go and enjoy the park side area.

Its been a great place at previous events and the weather looked ok, to so so, so we took the (now) considerable drive across town.

Over 45 active birders joined us and a good day was in the offing. Probably one of the highlights were excellent views (if somewhat average pictures on my part) of a Latham’s Snipe,  (a new one for me. Thank you)

The area also seemed to have more than its fair share of Tawny Frogmouth and we counted 7 for the day.

The folk from Meetup Bird Photography Group turned up, and we had a second attempt at some of the birds.

A Buff-banded Rail, eluded photography in the morning group, and didn’t improve in the afternoon group.  Some had good sightings and photos of a Sacred Kingfisher and we had some lovely views of the wing feathers on an Australasian Darter.

I was working with my newly acquired 70-200 mm f/2.8 and a Teleconverter TC1.7.  Made the field of view equivalent to about 500mm stopped down a little to keep sharpness and really had a good day, and got some super images without the need to lug heavy tripods into the field.   It will get to go on another expedition anytime soon.

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Beautiful colours on the Straw-necked Ibis

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Latham’s Snipe.  A very relaxed bird, but it could afford to be well out in the water and away from easy photography.

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First find your Buff-banded Rail.

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A young Kookaburra waiting for the family to return, perhaps with a nice meal.

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Tawny Frogmouth

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This one was against the light and really did take on the “branch” look and fooled quite a number of eager birdwatchers.

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Tucked up tight against the tree.

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Another failed Buff-banded Rail shot

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Australasian Darter shows its wonderful wing patterns.

Jaeger in town, or the tale of the hapless gull.

I’m not a bird counter or a bird accountant.   I don’t have a list of ‘must see’ birds, and don’t travel half way round the world to see that last   blue-headed rock eater.   So mostly I get a bit surprised when a bird turns up the would qualify as as ‘lifer’ for me.   But as I was to discover, what was interesting to me was a matter of life and death for a Silver Gull.

We had taken Mr An Onymous down  to the Treatment Plant for an evening drive, in the relative cool, and also to see if we could locate the Brolga in that lovely afternoon light.
Part of birding is of course enjoying a repast, and so we were parked at the Bird Hide track, snacking on our various gourmet delights, in my case a cuppa of Early Grey.

The beach was awash with high tide and the Silver Gulls in their hundreds had settling in to squabble over the few roosting spots on the bushes, small bits of sand and mud bar, and enjoy the cool breeze too.  What happened next was as much a surprise for the gulls as it was for us.

Every gull on the beach took to the air, with a high pitched squeak.  Not the usual gull calls, but a really high pitched call of excessive agitation.  I figured a Sea-eagle or a Harrier had made a run over the bushes, but couldn’t see any sign of the big birds. Then the massive flock of gull, literally ‘cleaved in two’ in the most biblical way.  One group heading along the coast to the south, the other rushing toward the salt bushes on the land. Then I spotted a small gull sized bird going at a speed that anywhere else would have me call Falcon, or Hobby.  But it was not that shape. It latched on to the path of a single gull, and relentlessly pursued it.  I gained an new admiration for the aerial exploits of the gull.  It cried in what can only be described as ‘sheer terror’.  The twisting spinning gull was able in the end to shake off its purser.  All this happened of course in the time it takes to put down a hot cuppa, and pick up the camera. By the time I’d found the shutter button, the brown blob was rocketing out to sea.

The answer I concluded to the questions, What was that, did you see that, did it catch the gull, where did it go, what was it, can you see it now,  (you get the idea), was  Jaeger. Now I can of course confidently say the word, but having never seen one, nor seen anything that puts pure fear into Silver Gulls, I was only at best, guessing.

The gulls settled down, we settled down, and began to talk of other things.

Then the same high pitched call from the gulls, and they were all up in an instant. This time the D7100 was by myside and I soon got on to the brown shape bulleting through the gulls. They split. But, the Jaeger was not to be denied, and as they split it singled out a lone gull which it then proceeded to herd away from the two flocks until it was on its own. Then it pursed it about 500-700 metres inland.  The gull was completely outclassed for speed and any attempt to turn only had the Jaeger on that side like a sheep dog, blocking its escape.  With plenty of room to manoeuvre, and the gull now totally isolated, the Jaeger took time to grab some height and then stoop on the gull.  By sheer good luck the desperate gull avoided the first stoop, then the Jaeger climbed again. With nowhere to go the gull went into a spiral, but the speed from above was relentless.   The Jaeger missed the second time, (just by the width of a feather I suspect), and now had to go round in a wide turn to the right to regain both speed and height.
The gull took all of its remaining strength and sprinted back toward the main flock. With  its nemesis in hot pursuit.  The gull’s speed proved adequate, and the flock rose again as the brown bullet sped through. Missing that meal it turned to the southern flock that was just making its way back along the beach.  Again the high pitched squeal, and the Yeager headed out to sea again.

We waited.

But, it must have moved on.

They are a branch of the Skua family. They nest in the Arctic, up like, Finland, and then patrol the seas.  A long way to come for a Gull dinner methinks.

My guess is this is an Arctic Jaeger.  Mr An Onymous tells me Jaeger is the German for “Hunter”. And the brand of a first rate beer.  Although he didn’t offer me a glass.

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The Silver Gull has been singled out and separated from the main flock. The Jaeger’s turn of speed meant it was in total control.

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In a stoop, you can see the two angles of flight are going to intersect.

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Strike and miss, now it had to make a wide turn to gain height and  speed.  The gull, seeing its only chance heads for shelter.

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In pursuit, but not gaining the advantage.

 

 

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Slowed down as it didn’t want to waste energy on a fruitless pursuit.

 

 

 

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Sizing the flock of another strike.

 

 

 

 

 

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I was amazed at the high-pitched emergency call of the gulls as they scattered from its attack.

 

Round the wilds of Newport Lakes

The Melbourne chapter of the BirdLife Photography Group had an outing at Newport Lakes and The Jawbones Reserve.

With a little overcast weather, but still plenty of heat around the humidity was pretty high.  Newport Lakes started out in early days as a quarry for bluestone, and then was used as the local rubbish tip for many years.  Due to some heavy duty lobbying in the mid 1970s the area was slowly reclaimed as an environmental area, and much work was done to restore the area and the lakes gave the water birds a new opportunity.

So we walked around the lake.  My Flickr friend Eleanor turned up, so it was great to put a face to a name, and have the chance to have a chat about our various images.    Down the track we walked and then sitting  in the quiet of a small clump of scrub was a Rufous Night Heron (formerly Nankeen Night Heron).  Try as we might it had managed to find the only spot on the waterway that was completely inaccessible for a good line of sight shot.   Clever bird.  Agitated by all the attention it finally decided that tree top height was safer.

We then set out across the large rocks that divide the lake and off in the distance an Australasian Darter and some Cormorants were visible in the old trees out in the water.   Swamp-hens that seem completely people adapted pushed past on the rocks, hurrying to the other side.   And a Little Pied Cormorant took advantage of the only pole near the rocks to preen and to pose in the sunshine.  It probably felt confident by the couple of metres of water between it and the curious photographers.

Further round a much better sighting of the Darter, and then it was time for morning tea, a bird count, and on to the Jawbones for lunch.
Dark ominous clouds threatened rain, but we sat under the shade of some sheoaks and watched the water birds while we ate lunch and chatted.  Then back to the cameras and bird spotting.  Find of the day was probably four Great-crested Grebes.  They took great delight in paddling to the opposite bank anytime someone came within good photo distance.   Quite a number of numbered swans with their collars showing, and a particularly big male whose collar seemed much to small for him when he fluffed out his neck feathers and performed for the local lads.  No one seemed to challenge him.

I was pleased to enter the data on the Myswan database when I got home and see that some of the swans led quite a mobile life up and down the bay, whereas others were much more the stay at homes.

In the end the heat, the humidity and other pressing duties made;  us bid farewell, to The Jawbones. “Gateway to the South”, (apologies to Peter Sellers, Denis Norden and Frank Muir: “Balham”.

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Cunningly hidden away from direct line of sight on the creek bank this Rufous Night Heron was settling in for a well deserved sleep

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No, I don’t do autographs.

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Purple Swan-hen webbed foot dashing past.

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You need to speak to my agent.  Little Pied Cormorant at rest.

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Now you know why they are also called “Snake Birds”.

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Armed for a day out along the Jawbones track.  Part of the photo group set out.

Black Swan- It's all a matter of balance

Practicing for its part in the up coming version of Swan Lake.

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I’m available, and every other male is not welcome.  W26 shows his stuff.  The Collar is only tight as his neck feathers are extended in the show of strength.

Swan W26 Passport

Quite the get about is our unattached W26.

Seeking out a Powerful Owl

There have been several reports on Birdline of a Powerful Owl down along the Willamstown foreshore trees, actually on the Willi Limp- Latte strip to be precise.  When my mate Richard, he of Woodlands Historic Park bird lists, popped up a report, it was time to go investigate.

Now we had a bit of family business in the area today, and I dropped a line to Mr An Onymous to see if he’d like to be added to the list of intrepid Owl seekers, together with the promise of coffee afterward and in a shake, he was ready to go.

The  Powerful Owl is a pretty big bird, and I know a couple of things about them.  A) they are quite dangerous to possums, gulls and humans, not necessarily in that order.  B) they tend to sit high up in trees with a good canopy cover during daylight hours with the remains of last nights hunting foray clinging to the perch, and C), they have serious hardware attached to end of their legs, which enables them to hold on to said perch, and to grasp whatever has been on the menu.

So, as  the Banjo said, So we went.

The report had the owl in a Plane Tree, near BAE, the ship building company in Williamstown, they build  big things with sharp bits and hot heavy bits either attached to the top or the sides.  The Australian Navy seems to favour that sort of arrangement and has been a constant customer.

When we got there, BAE takes up quite the bit of real-estate on the shoreside of the road.   And there were a number of Plane trees on show.  We, probably read, “I” decided that where we parked  the car would be where we’d start.  While I went to the parking ticket machine, the intrepid group began to seek among the trees.  By the time I got back they’d built up quite a following of locals, BAE employees and the like all peering into the trees with encouraging comments such as “Oh, the owl is back is it!” Nice work team. Even a couple of tourists thought it might be something to add to their agenda.

Much pointing and highlighting previous perches soon was the flavour of the moment.  And I thought. Great.  All I need now is some heavily armed security people to imagine the worst of a group of people outside a military installation armed with cameras, binoculars and a following of locals.

After several fruitless, but fun minutes, the locals assumed, quite correctly, that the “Owl was not back”, and moved on to other things.

There are more Plane Trees down the road, seemed to be the obvious next move.  So while the said intrepid group moved down the road, I went over to talk to the lone Security Guard who had ‘miraculously’ appeared.

Attack being the best form of defence, my opening gambit was, “G,day,  Security folk now lots of stuff about what’s going on in the area, we’re looking for the Powerful Owl, any ideas?”

To my surprise, not only did he know, but had a fair idea where it was, how long it had been there, what trees it had favoured in the past, how many possums it set on to in a week, and the lowering of the seagull population.  Bingo!

He also volunteered that last evening the Powerful Owl had made several passes at the Night Security Guard on his rounds.  So after chatting about OH&S issues for security guards and attacks from Powerful Owls he suggested the , “big tree down by the head office, near the second floor windows.”   EE and Onymous were already heading down that way, and so I thanked him for his insight and a lady going by said, “Oh, you’d be looking for the owl, its down here most days!” And waved me on to the building with the second floor window.  “In the testimony of two witness”, so the texts say, that was good enough for me.

So I ambled down,  EE was looking in the open trees near the building, and I’d lost sight of Mr An.

Not wanting to look up as I passed the building with the second floor windows, I glanced quickly up.   Big brown blob on branch.
Stopping, and looking about to be sure it was ok, I took a longer look. Yep, unmistakable.  The back of a Powerful Owl.  A nod is a as good as a wink for EE, and so I ambled back up to the car to get my camera, and bring the car down for a quick get-away. By the time I’d parked Mr An was knee deep in garden and pointing upward.

The rest is pretty simple. Take pictures, be unhappy about the light, change the exposure, be unhappy about the branches and leaves on the Plane tree getting in the way, and take more pictures.

Ten minutes later and we’d found a good cafe on the other side of the road,  to Schwabs Gallery, and  enjoyed a fine Lamb Pide and/or Smoked Salmon on Rye.  Top coffee and a promise to come back on another expedition and repeat the successful part of the intrepid day out in the wilds of Williamstown’s coffee set.  Note to self.  Must go again to Schwabs Gallery.  Mr An Onymous missed seeing the Vanilla Slice, so might be found cycling down for a solo repeat performance.

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Ah, there you are.

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Hard of course to see well because of the height, the light, and the branches and leaves.

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With a feather from its recent kill hiding its face, and its attempt at sleep, it was pretty hard to get to see the bird closeup

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The beautiful markings however showed up well.  Note to technically ept. 70-200 VR 2.8 with a TC20E iii. e.g. 400mm

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No, I don’t want to be famous on Flickr.

To the WTP on a whim

Sometimes the best ideas are those that come with out lots of planning and forethought. Just go out and do it.

With a small cool change coming in, and the wind shifting in from the south, we packed the picnic, grabbed some Earl Grey, and phoned the WTP birding line and booked for an evening down by the sea

To our delight the young Spotted Harriers were still on the roadside, and parking carefully to avoid any likelihood of mishaps with trucks at 110kph, we took our time to get the best lighting on the bird perched on the top of the cyprus tree cones.   Then tired of begging, it took advantage of the strong breeze and launched, drifted upwards to the top of the treeline and then without a wing flap, sailed along the treeline and back.   Not exactly hard photography as it turned in the evening light.  The great tail moving one way or another like a large oar or rudder to keep it almost stationary in the air.   With barely a wing flap, it simply enjoyed the moment.  So did we.

When we got to The Spit, Murtcaim (n)  we found a number of Swamp Harriers at play.   Interesting to watch their games from a distance, but not much hope of being able to get close enough of great shots, but highly entertaining none the less.

Further down the road we came upon a pair of Brolga, but they were just too far away to do any real work, so we headed back to Lake Borrie. And then first came upon some Yellow-billed Spoonbills, and a Great Egret sitting on a fence rail.   While EE got moved for a clear shot of the Egret, all the seagulls in the world- or at least the 10,000 or so on the seaside took to the air with a broadcasting squawk.

A White-bellied Sea eagle had made a sneak attack along the grasslands, and had swung up over the hapless gulls.  Each gull to itself seemed to be the answer, and someone’s relative went home for dinner with the eagle.  I managed to find the camera by the time the action was all over.

Probably enough excitement for a mere whim.

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Young Spotted Harrier expecting dinner to arrive soon.

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Time to stretch those wonderful wings in the evening breeze.

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One of many White-fronted Chats that seem to work as a flock at the moment

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Waiting for its turn at the Swamp Harrier Games.

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This one drifted almost up to our camera position.

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Knocking one another of fence posts must be a raptor game, they all seem to indulge in it.

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Cautious Brolga checking that the right protocol distance is being maintained.

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Great Egret to wing.

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Bulking up for the trip to the summer breeding grounds, the waders, mostly Sharp-tailed Sandpipers here, are hard at work getting as many calories as possible.

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White-bellied Sea-eagle with its own method of calorie collection.

Wandering with Werribee Wagtails: Altona

Getting right into this organised birding thing.

The Werribee Wagtails group met at Altona for a look at the shore, the river, and the lake.

So off we went.  Weather was fine, company was excellent and we made a few finds and discoveries along the way.

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All ready for a great day out and about, members of Werribee Wagtails on the track.

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Always full of excitement the New-Holland Honeyeaters seem to own every bush and shrub along the waterway.

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Sharptailed Sandpipers at work in a drain. The top bird is starting to show some chest colour, getting ready for the long journey north.

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Common Greenshanks. I’m alway amused by the “Common” moniker.  Does it mean there are “uncommon Greenshanks”, or perhaps “Special, or Important” greenshanks?

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Along Kororoit Creek we found a number of numbered Swans.  The programme is run by the guys at Myswan Database, and I’ve even got some info in the Albums area of another one we followed for awhile.

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Teals take advantage of a convenient roosting place.

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Spotting along the Kororiot Creek. EE is obviously on to something.

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J28, another numbered Swan from the series.

Here is the details from the Database.

J28 Database

J28 even has her own passport.  The white collars are female, the black collars are male.
The red spots on the map indicate she spends a lot of time in the area.

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View across the lake at Newport Lakes, after years of hard work the area has developed into a great bird habitat. Spot the Australasian Darter. For bonus points, spot the Nankeen Night Heron.

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Closeup of said Darter and a cormorant friend.

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Oh, there you are!   Nankeen Night Heron pretending to be somewhere else.   I spotted the colours as we were walking down the track to catchup to the group. (yes, I’d done it again) and didn’t take any time to check it out.  (See my tardiness in the Mt Rothwell blog report.)

But when everyone had settled on a view, I went back for a closer look.

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Heading homewards across the stepping stones over the lake.   A good day.  Extra points for Spotting Mr An Onymous. (but then he wouldn’t be would he?)

An evening at the WTP

With the hot weather just making day trips so hard for photography, hard on the birds, hard on the photographer and hard on great images, we’ve been a bit subdued of late.

A small dry cool change wafted through and we took the chance to go back out on the Murtcain(m) to see if we could  sight those elusive Brolgas.

The evening light played such a fine tune over the scene, and the breeze from the ocean was really refreshing. The birds seem to enjoy it too.

Black-shouldered Kite on a high vantage point.
Black-shouldered Kite on a high vantage point.
Juvenile Black-shouldered Kite, with its wonderful brown ginger markings.
Juvenile Black-shouldered Kite, with its wonderful brown ginger markings.
Zebra Finch.
Zebra Finch.
Yellow-billed Spoonbills settling in  for an evening meal.
Yellow-billed Spoonbills settling in for an evening meal.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.
Swamp Harrier, all a bustle as it turns its body to keep up with the intended target
Swamp Harrier, all a bustle as it turns its body to keep up with the intended target
Royal Spoonbill who stopped in the middle of a preen for a bit of a dance in the water.
Royal Spoonbill who stopped in the middle of a preen for a bit of a dance in the water.
Not to be outdone, a Yellow-billed Spoonbill perfuming in the water. Perhaps the cool breeze gave them  pleasure too.
Not to be outdone, a Yellow-billed Spoonbill perfuming in the water. Perhaps the cool breeze gave them pleasure too.
Oh, so elusive Brolga.  Late evening stroll.
Oh, so elusive Brolga. Late evening stroll.
Black-shouldered Kite hunting right on sundown. It lifts its head to be sure  there is no sneak attacks.
Black-shouldered Kite hunting right on sundown. It lifts its head to be sure there is no sneak attack.

Taking the early morning run to Western Treatment Plant

With the weather man predicting only more heat wave conditions, and the WTP being closed on Total Fire Ban days because of OHS issues, and good on ’em as far as I’m concerned.  Don’t want to be driving around in the heat trying to find birds hiding from the heat

We found a bit of a break in the hot days, and decided and early morning start was the best thing.  Rather than cover the usual spots we headed down to  southern end, known among birders as 29 Mile Road, T Section or the Spit. Also Murtcaim(n) and Pond 9.  The Brolgas had been seen among the ponds there and we thought it a good look see.

Here’s the way the day progressed.

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Found one of the Spotted Harriers up in the early morning mist.  That’s Avalon Aircraft Repair workshop in the distance.

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The second young one also put up, and we got some good views even if the light was against  us.

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Golden-headed Cisticola came by to be sure we weren’t thinking of taking over its territory, and gave a us a good lecture just to prove its point.

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We did manage to find the Brolga engaged in team precision preening, but they were too far away, and the heat haze even in the early morning was a curse.

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A strong breeze really surprised these Golden-headed Cisticola, nearly blowing it off the rail. The leaning into the wing and wide stretch of the legs was all it could do to prevent it being swept away.

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Another great find were a pair of Cape Barren Geese, they did a great little head nodding performance before taking to the air.    I always feel a bit sad when I’ve partly been the cause of a bird taking flight.

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No such feeling with Swamp Harriers.  This bird had no intention of letting us get close under any circumstances and led us on a merry chase along one of the bunds, flying a brief spell, sitting until we caught up, and then wafting on down the road a hundred metres of so.

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At the moment, there is alway a Whiskered Tern or two to keep photographers amused and waste lots of time trying to nail that elusive best tern shot.  Its not that the birds don’t try hard enough.

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And that pair of Geese just would not sit still when we were around.

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My bird id skills let me down sometimes and the little grass birds are a good example, but this is a Horsfields Bushlark  (I hope).  It adopted a different technique to stay on the post, by crouching down.

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Back along the Point Wilson Road, one of the young Spotted Harriers had returned to the nest tree for a bit of a spell.

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And down along the rocks, the Sharp-tailed Sandpipers were ready to get down to work when the tide lowered a bit.

By late mid morning, the temp was up, the heat haze was reducing very expensive lens to the quality of my Mum’s Box Camera and coffee and a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich (not a bad alternative to a poi.), at the Highway Lounge. How could I resist

Back to more mundane things. Wagtails preparing to fly

After a week away, it was good to be able to get back to some familiar territory, and we set out to visit Jimmy, Karen, and Ginger.  Took us awhile to locate one of the adults, but no sign of the other one nor Ginger. But given the shrewdness of these little birds sometimes that is not surprising.

Did find our one hard working pair of Wagtails had their young but a few days from flying.

They are now so active, and the nest is really not enough to contain such rapidly growing and hyperactive littleuns.

A couple more days should see them on the wing. Hope so before the really hot spell of weather sets in again.

What a difference a week makes.  They were tiny little waving  necks the last time we met.
What a difference a week makes. They were tiny little waving necks the last time we met.
Somehow or other the adult is able to distinguish between the begging and choose the right one to receive the goodies.
Somehow or other the adult is able to distinguish between the begging and choose the right one to receive the goodies.
Its an amazing high octane fuel that they pump into the young
Its an amazing high octane fuel that they pump into the young
And you just pop it in like that!
And you just pop it in like that!
LIttle wings that have a great future ahead of them.
LIttle wings that have a great future ahead of them.

Diary Day #5 Goschen to home

Like all things, the time was up.  All that was left to do was load the car with 2 clothes bags, 6 camera bags as well as a load of ‘take home’ presents.
After days of hot weather, it was a bit of a surprise to wake to find the ground wet.  A steady rain had changed the place overnight.

With hugs, kisses, goodbye’s seeyanextimes and the like we waved and drove off into the rain.   “Care to go to Goschen?” I asked EE.  Ok, but not through the back roads in this wet.

Down the highway, and out along the Lalbert Road we set.   (used to be called the Lalbert Road as it went, well, to Lalbert) But now it has a different name. Same Road. Same Direction. Still goes to Lalbert.

But when we arrived at Goschen Roadside Reserve, it was obvious that the rain had set in.  And we’d left rain jackets for camera and person at home. (Its going to be 38 C, why do we need to load up the car with Driazabones?)

So in-between incessant showers we ventured out for a look see.  Think I mentioned the Brown Treecreeper on her nest, and so we both went very very quietly, and peeked into the opening on the broken old tree. There she was. As Dry as my Drizabone; the one hanging up in the wardrobe at home.  Only a quick peek, and then we left her alone.  Didn’t need to get her out in the rain.

Mr Hooded Robin was out in the rain. Think he was enjoying the change.  And the White-browed Babblers seemed to have a dislike for every Singing Honeyater they came across.   Speaking of Singing Honeyeaters, one was sizing up a small pool of water on the former tennis court, now ‘Burn-out’ spot for the local(?) petrol heads.   They are probably also responsible for slowing wrecking the Goschen Hall.  It  has stood for nigh on 100years and served the community faithfully and now its being torn apart one small bit at a time. Pity on the mentality of those responsible.

So in the end, the rain won, and we drove back toward the highway with thoughts of Eaglehawk pies on our mind. And.  EE pointed. Look, its a Rainbow Bee-eater.  And it was. Enjoying the rain.  But the weather was so dark, it looked like a London fog out there. Would have been great with a bit of sunshine about then.

Stopped at the Rail Crossing outside Kerang.  In the first tree nearest to the rail line is the nest of a Wedgetailed Eagle.  No one home today, but the tree was providing shelter for a Whistling Kite.

So to home, loads of emails, much work to sort images and the like, clean gear and ponder the next journey.

Mr Elegance in the rain.
Mr Elegance in the rain.
Brown Treecreeper nest site. She is bout 1/2 metre down the hollow.
Brown Treecreeper nest site. She is about 1/2 metre down the hollow.
SInging Honeyeater enjoying the cool.
SInging Honeyeater enjoying the cool.
Tennis anyone?  Testing its bath water. Perhaps I should wait a few more minutes.
Tennis anyone? Testing its bath water. Perhaps I should wait a few more minutes.
Part of a clan of White-browed Babblers hunting for elusive honeyeaters
Part of a clan of White-browed Babblers hunting for elusive honeyeaters
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White-browed Babbler, waiting in the rain for a honeyeater to be chased out in the open.
EE's find of the day.  My shot from inside the car.
EE’s find of the day. My shot from inside the car. If it looks dark and gloomy out there. It is!
Wedgetailed Eagle nest at Kerang rail crossing
Wedgetailed Eagle nest at Kerang rail crossing
Double duty tree, now a rest spot from the rain for a Whistling Kite
Double duty tree, now a rest spot from the rain for a Whistling Kite