What a delight to see you: Fledging an Eastern Yellow Robin

It only takes a hint of good weather and we’re happy to go out to look for birds.
With the Bandicoot Big Brother House having been locked out for so long, we have been watching the comings and goings of some Eastern Yellow Robins.

We found the first pair today with a completed nest and the female hunkered down, with just her head and beak showing over the rim. This is one very deep nest methinks.

Apart from a trip to fill her vacant tummy, the male was not very active, and very quiet.  So it took awhile to track him down.  No sign of the helper(s) today.

Our good friend Richard A had also located a second pair, and we’d been to see them on another trip out. Today, Dorothy was feeling up to a longer walk so we made the journey along the track to where we’d seen them previously.  It is a small stand of Black Wattle regrowth, very spindly, very thick and very difficult to penetrate and almost impossible to see more than a few metres.  Ideal Eastern Yellow Robin country apparently.

On the way we passed by an area of extremely old, white, skeletons of former wonderful redgums.  The Sacred Kingfishers have been active in the area over the past few weeks, and today was no exception. The harsh, schrappp, schrapp, warning call allowed us to spot an active bird on one of the old boughs.  It kept up its high pitched scream and then disappeared to reappear high up on the tree next door.  My bet is of course, that there is nest going to be, or currently being, setup in the area.  Just too far down the track for us to constantly monitor.

Once we got to the Eastern Yellow Robin area, we sat, and looked and listened. A Grey Shrike Thrush and her recently fledged chick came by and she attended to its squawking needs.  But little else.

After a couple of cups of tea, and a bit more of a wait, it became obvious that not much was happening in that little area today. So, defeated we turned for home.  Heard another Kingfisher and stopped went into the scrub and instead of the kingfisher, found a Yellow Robin.

And then another. We started to find a spot for photography, when a lot of soft shrill chipping noises came out of the black wattle strand, and with a blur of brown feathers a very tiny chick landed on a branch, and then clung to it for dear life.  Dad responded by stuffing some green bug into its beak.  Some more chipping noises and a second one jumped along the leaf litter just below.  Dad responded with another little morsel.

So the score seems to be, One Pair, two fledglings.  Not a bad months works for the pair. They quickly moved the young ones out of our sight, and we saw them moving through the wattle, but to far away and too deep in for much opportunity for extra shots.

Even though the walk was much further than we’d normally do, we thought the day was pretty successful.

Young Eastern Yellow Robin. Probably only fledged in the last day or so. Check out the very tiny almost non-existent tail.
Young Eastern Yellow Robin. Probably only fledged in the last day or so. Check out the very tiny almost non-existent tail.
This poor little bird is out of the nest and just about able to hang on to the branch. It's got one claw securely attached to the bark at the top, and the others are just clench tight.  The lovely brown rufous nest feathers are still visible, so its probably only a day out of the nest.  Even without a tail, it does seem to be able to manoeuvre well enough.
This bewildered little Eastern Yellow Robin is out of the nest and just about able to hang on to the branch. It’s got one claw securely attached to the bark at the top, and the others are just clench tight. The lovely brown rufous nest feathers are still visible, so its probably only a day out of the nest. Even without a tail, it does seem to be able to manoeuvre well enough.

Not a bad morning’s work. Eastern Yellow Robins

Now that the Bandicoot Big Brother House has evicted us, we’ve taken to travelling about a bit more.

Today, we left early, to beat the heat, and set ourselves up in an area where we’d spotted Eastern Yellow Robins before, and waited.  And waited.  it soon became obvious that they weren’t putting on a show today.  We checked a nest site, and it was abandoned, and pulled out. Perhaps the work of ravens or currawongs, or …

We moved further down the tree line, and while we enjoying the obligatory cuppa, I heard the call of one in the open forest behind us.  After a few minutes I’d located both birds.  And quite happy they were to feed and to let us get quite close. The male at one stage flew directly toward my camera position, and just pulled up a the last second, going by my ear so close I could hear the wing whirr.  Spectacular.

He spent a lot of his time feeding her, and she would sit on a nearby branch, and wing flutter, and he would zoom in, and deposit his offering straight into her open beak.  The speed of the transfer was literally blink speed, and I didn’t get any great shots of it happening, either too early or miles too late.

After about 20 minutes of viewing, it became clear that one tree in small strand of trees was getting more attention, and I moved round to look and sure enough, she was busy at work on a new nest. She was quite oblivious to our presence and carried on without any fuss.  Far cry from her relatives the red-caps who will abandon the nest quite readily.

To round it all off, they both came and hunted on the logs in the area where we were sitting, so much so that the camera couldn’t get close focus without me moving back.   Who said photographing birds was tough?

Eastern Yellow Robin just about close enough to reach out and touch.


Eastern Yellow Robin and a big beetle that was taken back to the waiting female


Eastern Yellow Robin nest building. She sort of pokes the bits of bark into one another and it slowly builds up into a shape.



Along Three Chain Road to the pie shop

With the weather looking decidedly blah, our plans for a day at WTP were simply scuttled. We (Dorothy, I, and Mr A Nonymous) decided instead on a drive north to Kilmore and along Three Chain Road, which can only be described as a ‘honey-pot’ for birding.  Rain began immediately we set off, but I regailled everyone, with promises of a pie and sauce at Mt Macedon for lunch.

Three Chain Road easily lived up to its reputation, and we quickly had sights and shots of Eastern Yellow Robins, Eastern Yellow Robin juvenile, Flame Robins, male and female, Jacky Winter, a female Hooded Robin, White throated and Brown Treecreepers, and a single Rose Robin. The rain stayed around and we eventually had to go look for a pie shop.  There is an offshoot road along Three Chain Road, that looks like it might go somewhere. Evidence of the previous night’s storm were everywhere over the road, and the clean-up crews were still out as we drove by.
The next turn was so promising.  PY-along. So we were going in the right direction! At the next junction, I abandoned all hope of getting to Mt Macedon, and we went on to Heathcote. The Gaffney’s Bakery just opposite the footy oval is renowed for its fare, and has a number of pie comp awards to prove it.  We settled in for the lamb-tandoori, beef burgundy and beef and onion. Worth the drive any day.  A good pie takes a bit of beating.

So with a couple of cold lamb-tandori’s to pop into the oven at home, we set off down the highway.
The road from Tooborac to Lancefield, was once described by a visitor as “Rock Farm Road”, every paddock has beautiful Tors that make great photo subjects.  The sunlight began to creep out, and we began to stop more often to admire the scenery, and look for birds.  What a pity I hadn’t put any short lenses in, but got some nice tight telephoto landscapes anyway.
Turning off from Sunbury along the backroad to Woodlands, we found a Wedgetailed Eagle being harassed by the local magpie brigade.  To its credit, it just slipped away in the wind.  Nice end to a good day out.

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Larger images here. Three Chain Road.

Here is an image supplied by Mr A Nonymous of the Male Eastern Yellow Robin, feeding the female in the rain.

Too cool.

Photography by Mr A Nonymous (credited)

Hello, and aren’t you looking super?

No one can say that the weather has been photographically kind over the past few days.  Its not just the risk of taking the cameras out in the rain, or the chance of getting wet, its just the light is so weak that the exposures are wide open, slow shutter speed.  Even on a tripod, the chances are the bird is breathing in and out faster than the shutter speed, so, its a blurry pic.

Stay home, do other things, play with last years images and hope for a break.

So with high hopes we set out early this morning, sun looked good, and the weather man gave us a 50/50 chance.  Should be good.

But!  The gate to the Woodlands Backpaddock is locked.  Work is going on to remove the feral invaders, and keep the feral photographers out.

Sadly we traipsed back towards the car.  But on the way, we found a lovely looking Female Scarlet Robin, so of course we stopped to play.  She and her mate were a bit skittish at first but after a little bit we managed to meet on sort of mutual terms and were able to get reasonably close. Good light and the rest was easy.

After all that excitement we travelled on a bit further and found an Eastern Yellow Robin.  Very impressive, and again a bird that once it settled down was not to fussed by being chased by a photographer.

Looks like we’ll be travelling a bit further to keep up with the Yellow Robin and fill in time till the gates are re-opened.

Female Scarlet Robin in the early morning light


Female Scarlet Robin hunting


Scarlet Robin Male


Find of the day. Eastern Yellow Robin in a small clump of Black Wattle