With the sun-shining, oh, yes, it did! We decided on a trip to The Office. This area of the Werribee River Park looks over the floodplain between the old sandridges and gives a pretty spectacular view if nothing else. On a good day its possible to see the raptors at work.
Unfortunately today was not to be one of those days. And with no sign of the usual Flame Robin family we decided to walk up to the Werribee Mansion and have lunch there.
Usually the area along the golfclub is also a haven for small birds, but the gums must be slower to flower this year and only a handful of resident Red-rumped Parrots were located.
Still the sun was shining and we had a fine chicken panini and coffee. So to look at the Ornamental Pool, and our first real chance to find some birds. Top of the list was a pair of Australasian Grebes and what appears to be their sole surviving chick. They had three earlier in the season. They were pretty protective and this one seems to be doing well a good sign.
We were an instant hit with the young, yet to fledge Pacific Black Ducks, who thought that quacking quietly and looking cute would be the way to get a free handout of sandwich or bread. But, sad luck boys, we weren’t carrying.
On the way back we did hear the familiar noise of Crested Shriketit working in the trees and located a pair eventually.
And as we approached the carpark. The Flame Robins turned up. But, very skittish and we did what we could be really hard work. Then a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater made it presence with a long warbling song. First time for me at the Office. They seem to be in a lot of new places this season for some reason. As I was watching a distant Swamp Harrier down along the river, I brown shape went by me at about knee height and less than an arm’s reach away. So close I heard the wind rushing over the straining wings. It was Bernie the Brown Falcon, and I think he was on a mission to see off the Swamp Harrier. I also think he used me as foil or hide to cover the first 400m of his journey. EE said if I’d have taken half a step to the left he’d have run into me.
Needless to say I don’t have a pic of him on the way out, and a small image of a distant bird on the way back. Which gives even more weight to my theory of Brown Falcon navigation, and that sneaky bird that they are, how dangerous it can be in their territory if they decide on an up close and personal attack.
Happened to me once before a long time back, but she resented my being in a nesting area and snuck round a small strand of trees, caught the strong wind blowing toward me, and came barreling at me at over 60kph, or more. I barely had time to duck behind the camera/tripod as she went by. Another coat of paint on the tripod and it would have had brown wing scrapes on it. Silent as, and just as well I was looking as she came, else I’m sure I’d be missing something about now.
And as we travelled back out of the park, we found a male Nankeen Kestrel still hunting in the area. A good sign.