The weather has not been conducive to keeping tabs on the local Hobby Nursery. We have also the challenge of the location, as its quite a busy carpark, and Security offers its own challenges. Carparks are not public spaces. The second challege to in-flight photography is the trees are all very well established Sugar Gums, with a few Umbrella Pine, and all quite tall, and of course close together. So its hard to get an open shot of in-flight activity.
But persist we shall.
Early mornings seem to be the best. Quiet carpark, security having breakfast and the like. And if the light is right then its a bonus.
Here is a few from a couple of feeding cycles the other day.
That’s it for the year.
Enjoy your festive season and may 2023 bring some fantastic picture opportunities to your lens.
The weather here was not kind to the first clutches of Willie Wagtails. Those birds that started early ran into extreme conditions and as the nest is mostly spider-web and at best minimally attached to the branch, rain and high wind inevitabley took their toll. Some Willies brave it and have nests on open branches, while others adopt a more sheltered approach. Some will work on just a branch, while others go to the extreme of working on a branch junction and get the support of several branches, and even a vertical one which does give them extra support as it seems easier to bind the spiderweb tightly.
But little Wagtails grow fast, (about 14 days from hatching to fledging) and they soon overwhelm the tiny nest.
One pair we’ve been monitoring of late, has built their nest under the branches of a old, small, Peppercorn Tree. However it is right alongside a very busy walking track, and a few steps from a picnic/rest/viewing area. Wasn’t hard to find them. And they seemed unconcerned about the human presence. We try not to get too close or get in the way, and they just go on with the important job of first sitting, and then feeding.
I do get complaints from time to time that we are obtrusive and break the ‘rules’ of not photographing nests and it only encourages others. So, just to set the record. No photo is worth stressing a bird.
If we aren’t invited to be there. We don’t. Willies pretty quickly establish the boundary rules.
This pair, had chosen both the place and the time rather cleverly. She had nested through the last of the storms and the three young hatched just as the weather picked up, so they have had about two weeks of no rain and winds. Interestingly, on the day that these young flew, the weather turned nasty again. But they should survive in the thicker pines nearby.
Due to an odd arrangement of circumstances, that would take several blog pages to cover and even more to wend the pieces together, we had decided on a trip to the Western Treatment Plant. (WTP) What, of couse, was not in the “How to do it” manual was control of the weather.
Grandson “+D4” was staying over and t’was the only day avaible. For those interested “+D4” comes as an ‘Addition’ to the “3D’s” fabled for their “Dawdling” while on car-convoy on such trips to the WTP.
We picked up the usual Coffee-to-Go from our local and hit the highway. (Mr An Onymous, has a theory that in future times, sociologists and archeologists will conclude that ‘hit the road’ had some quasi-spiritualistic meaning and that the poor deluded ancients would go out and hit the road with their hand expecting some mystical experience—but— I digress)
The overcast, rain and high winds did not digress. Nor did they ease off. I may have mentioned before, that I can deal with the poor light and the rain at the WTP, but not the wind. It just makes getting out of IamGrey and standing in the open a truly harrowing experience and one that even the best of birds seems avoid at all costs. For those that might venture there, the track in the “Special Section” that was out along the beach area and barely passable with 2WD is now eroded to the point of being 4WD only.
So we had a fairly quiet trip about the plant. Good news is the roads are in very good condition and the closure has allowed several areas to be graded and topped and the drive experience improved no end.
We had hoped that White-winged Black Terns might have returned by now, but if so we didn’t get a sighting. The weather changes seem to have altered the plans of many returning migrants so far this season.
So as the blog is more now about the photos of the day, and less about the babble, here tis. Enjoy
Tis a well known fact that mostly I am allergic to photographing birds as part of a long walking exercise programme. To me, its two distinct activities and the thought of knocking up 15 kms and seeing the occassional bird, way, way over there, is enough to make me stay at home.
Tis also a well known fact, and long term readers will be well aware that an area in the Werribee River Park just a few minutes drive from home has been called, “The Office”, as in “just another day at”. Over the past 10 years we’ve spent countless hours in the area and tis fair to say that at one stage we probably had a close relationship with the majority of the birds in the area.
But, and there in is the rub. But. Recent rains have made things much more complex for us. The Werribee River ran to flood level and huge volumes of water rushed down the narrow channel, and of course gained speed and force as they went. So much so that a footbridge over the river has suffered ‘irreparable damage’. So Parks Vic, to protect the unsuspecting public, and those that would ignore signs suggesting it was unsafe, have now for everyone’s safety closed the area “Until Further Notice”. One of the pylons holding the bridge has been eroded and needs a complete replacement. Sadly there is no budget money for that in the ‘foreseeable future’, so the area will be out of bounds for your average Sacred Kingfisher aficionado. (You can guess EE’s disappointment.)
Couple that with the need to install on the far side of the river a new pipeline to feed the Werribee Open Range Zoo, and that access road is also now heavily chain-wired, with a similar sign that says, in its meaning, No Access to Kingfishers Here! I just hope the birds can’t read.
With two of our preferred birding spots now off limits, we are in the market, so to speak, for a new location. So a couple of days ago we took a walk along part of the track running alongside the Werribee River as it cuts through suburbia. Well actually the River has always been there and Suburbia has encrouched up to the edges of the river.
So we didn’t expect any exotic or unusual birds, but thought the walk would give us the option of exploring some locations that might prove worthwhile. And as Ashley over on “Aussiebirder” points out Forest Therapy is about taking the time to appreciate the simple, and common around us.
What surprised us was the height that the water had come up to in the recent floods. Trees festooned with plastic bags and other disposable disposed rubbish certainly drew a line. Including a rather large log that was jammed 5-6 metres above water level.
We did find the usual suspects and a few extras which did make the day worthwhile. And we have a couple of places that might yield us some good opportunities in the future. Sore of feet and a little exhausted, we headed for home and lunch.