A Grey May Day in a Grey Box Forest, at Eynesbury

All we needed were some grey birds and it would have been complete.

We turned up at the monthly Eynesbury Residents Birdwalk.  Did one back in April see details of the area in that post. Details Here
This time the lake was in fact a, lake!.  Water had been added and the ducks were happy and in residence again.  And there was a “Farmers Market” in full swing. Make note to self, leave earlier, bring wallet, and enjoy some shopping therapy before the walk in June!

Chris had a walk to the north eastern area of the forest planned for us, and the six or so hardy stalwarts set off for a looksee.  And a quiet day it happened to be.  We did get a good view of the ubiquitous  Superb Fairywren, and again noted how many Brown Treecreepers have made this their home.

Chris pulled out the best spotting by giving us a grand view of a male Flame Robin, rich in colour and brightening up the day.  Just as we were enjoying it all, he took off not to be seen again.
A couple of Striated Pardalotes come down out of the top branches and all got a good view of  these delightful little birds.  Not to be out done a Jacky Winter helped add to the charm of the area, as only Jacky can, and performed some feeding twists and turns in an open area.  But, in the end, we had to say it was a quiet day.

Perhaps the recent rain had made the food scarce.   We turned back and meandered through the open forest.  You can do that in Grey Box, its a lovely forest to walk through. Tracks become optional. Chris offered all sorts of running commentary on fox and rabbit issues, to what sort of native plants were working in well in the local gardens, and one our number told how her three sickly looking Running Postman were now clambering all over the garden pots.  Super.

A Common Bronzewing, a few more Treecreepers, and the inevitable Red-rumped Parrots kept us entertained until we eventually reached the roadway, and back to the cars.

Might have been a quiet morning, and the light might have been less than ideal, but we all were pleased to have seen a little more of the Eynesbury Forest and to enjoy some great company at the same time.  Now we’re looking forward to the June walk.
Way to go Chris.

EE and I grabbed a quick bite to eat, and a cuppa,  then went round to a small open park area among the houses on the west side of the lake.  We’d been told that a pair of Tawny Frogmouth were in the park and ‘easy to spot’.  Hmmm.

You know that feeling?  You’re walking into a park for the first time, checking trees, checking trees, knowing that Tawnies are, well, not necessarily ‘easy to spot’.  In fact, I’d left the camera in the car. Now that is confidence.   EE on the other hand, well, she would wouldn’t she?  Had camera out, and at the ready.

Looking, looking.  Well I suppose I’d taken about five steps into the park. “Oh”.
If only everything was  that “Easy to Spot”.   There aren’t a lot of trees, so Tawnys didn’t have a lot of choice.  “There they are!!! ”  Trudge back to get camera, (all five steps).

We then moved down to the forest proper to look for more Flame Robins. No such luck, not as ‘easy to spot’.  A flock of Maned Ducks, (Wood Ducks) were house hunting and that kept us amused for a few minutes.  A duck in tree.

Then the sound of Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters on the way back got us looking and eventually locating a couple.
So in the end a good day at Eynesbury, and another triumph for Grey Box

Enjoy

A Day at Eynesbury

My mate Chris L, he of Mt Rothwell, and formerly Western Treatment Plant, fame has established a monthly bird walk around the Eynesbury Grey Box Forest.
It is a pretty informal arrangement, no signing of paper and turning up is about the only requirement.

“Are you interested in coming on Sunday?”, he said. Hmm. Didn’t really have to consult the diary. “Be there at 10 of the clock,” says he.
And so EE and I hit the road to Eynesbury in some brilliant sunshine.  When Chris organises a day, well, he organises the weather too.

By start time, about half a dozen locals, and Geraldine from Werribee Wagtails  – Now BirdLife Werribee, turned up.   Chris really wants to make it an opportunity for the local residents to enjoy the forest around their village.

Eynesbury is built around a golf course (well not really, but on the other hand, really). Another golfing friend, took a trip out there one day, saw the greens, and the area, and was back the following day to sign up for a villa.  Nothing like a game of golf that starts from your front step.

Surrounding the man-made, is the indomitable Grey Box. This is one of the largest stand of Grey Box left in Victoria. Something the locals are particularly proud of, and with every right.

We set off along the track that leads around the ornamental lake. Lake being a somewhat strange term at the moment as the dry weather has reduced it to a series of water holes.  And a home now for a number of Black-fronted Dotterels, among the usual ducks and other waders.  The cormorant families have had to move on.

A trip around the lake led us off into the wilds of suburbia as we walked along a track between the forest and the residences.   Many little bush birds, particularly Superb Fairy-wrens along here. It seemed that there was about one Fairy-wren clan to every front yard.

Across a dry creek and into the forest proper and the call of Brown Treecreepers announced our presence.  Then a Jacky Winter couple, and the familiar call of Diamond Firetails, but search as we might we didn’t spot them today.

A bit of ramble through the thickets between the Grey Box and we were nearing the end of our morning.  When a call of an Crested Shrike-tit echoed across the open area.  After quite a bit of searching, I’d concluded we’d missed it, and a cuppa beckoned.
Not so Christo. With stoic patience he continued, and a “Here it is!” was really a grand statement of his birding skills.  The group hurried to see. And not only one, but two  and working very close to the track and unperturbed by our presence.
The photographers were in for a treat and we were shown the skills needed to both track down and extract grubs from the most unlikely places among the bark.

And all too soon we were back in the carpark, and farewelling the lovely area.

Thanks Chris, we enjoyed the day.

Our first Jacky Winter for the day.  It gave the photographers a chance for a close approach
Our first Jacky Winter for the day. It gave the photographers a chance for a close approach
Jacky Winter. Always a fine pose
Jacky Winter. Always a fine pose
Intent of extracting a meal
Intent of extracting a meal
Eastern Shrike-tit on a twisted piece of bark.  A great find for our Guide.
Crested Shrike-tit on a twisted piece of bark. A great find for our Guide.
Eastern Shrike-tit
Crested Shrike-tit
Jacky WInter on blue
Jacky WInter on blue
When I was a little bloke, these were called "Grass Parrots".  Not so here.
When I was a little bloke, these were called “Grass Parrots”. Not so here.
Tree Martin on the wing
Tree Martin on the wing
No room on the branch
No room on the branch
Varied Stittella
Varied Stittella
A Brown Treecreeper wishing us good bye
A Brown Treecreeper wishing us good bye

 

 

A Day in Grey

Astute reader that you are, you’ll have recalled that the last posting here was a trip to Eynesbury for a visit to some Woodswallows at Nursery.

Decided on a whim today, to take another trip to the same spot not that we expected to find the Woodswallows still on nest,  but y’know, perhaps we might be lucky.

Well time, tide and Woodswallow fledglings wait for no photographer, and they had indeed taken to wing. Now of course it was a new challenge.

But there is something relaxing indeed about a pot of tea, (Earl Grey- see the connection?)  in a Grey Box forest.  So we sat.  And slowly the forest began to reveal those hidden secrets.

Over there, Tree Martins, still feeding young.  On the other side a pair of Rufous Whistlers who entertained with their calls.  More Brown Treecreepers than you can count, and most of them either at nest, or ferrying food for demanding young.

And my favourite find. Jacky Winter. The pair near out sit spot had two young and were keeping them up in the tops of the trees, but we still had enjoyable encounters.

Off to look for Matilda the Pacific-black Duck who has taken over a hollow, and to my surprise, she was still domicile, but only her carefully crafted wing tip feathers were showing her presence.  Must be close for her now.  I’ve no idea where she is going to lead them to water, but the nearest must be about 2km away through the scrub.

In the same area, lo and behold a second pair of Jacky Winter, with two well advanced young. I’d be betting these were the same birds we photographed in the area last year.    One of the adults adjusted to my presence in a few minutes and continued to feed and preen quite closely. Then it (she?) sat down on the ground a few metres away and “sun-hazed” and quite went into a trance.    Satisfied I was no danger, it allowed some fine portraits to be made.

And the I heard the wheezy call of a Diamond Firetail watching the portrait session.

As we started for home we came across the White-browed Woodswallows feeding some young, and then a family of  Brown Treecreepers looking after their growing juveniles.

Of course no trip to Eynesbury would be complete without a sighting of the elusive Speckled Warbler, and to both our delights one flew by as we walked back to the car, and then began to feed on the small slope nearby.  No close approaches with this bird, so my score of great photos of  this little dude is still intact. Zero.

Enjoy

_DWJ5206
Jacky WInter
_DWJ5088
Jacky WInter Juvenile
_DWJ5101
Thanks for the food Mum!
_DWJ5154
Tree Martin
_DWJ5226
Jacky WInter,Juvenile
_DWJ5252
White-browed Woodswallow, fledgling
Diamond Firetail
Diamond Firetail
_DWJ5287
Brown Treecreeper
_DWJ5273
Speckled Warbler

 

 

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
DSC_9739
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