Eynesbury Gems— Take #2

You can guess that it is raining here today. ‘Cause I’m stuck inside and I’ve cleaned the cameras and formatted the memory cards, (twice) and charged the batteries.  And its still raining.  Beaut really as it will freshen up a very tired bush.

But on the other hand the only thing left on the todo list is to finish off the Eynesbury Series.  So here is episode #2.

 

Not much to add from the previous ramble so here we go with eight more shots from the day.

Enjoy

Varied Sittella, showing off its usual pattern of going down the tree in hunt for food

 

Brown Thornbill. Not often I get a shot of it out in the open. Usually only just hear them or see a movement in the bushes

 

Speckled Warbler, and this is as good as it got. There seems to be four or more pairs at work in various parts of the Grey Box. Hearing them is one thing, getting a view another, but photographing them an whole new ball game. Still it keeps us going out

 

Striated Pardalote

 

Pretty excited with this find as its the first Sacred Kingfisher that I’ve seen in Eynesbury. Given the number of “Pee Pee Pee” calls I’d be certain of a number of them being in the forest.

 

A very young Pacific Black Duck. I’ve included it as its a rather special little duck. Somehow it has been seperated from its family. We’ve seen it from a very small duckling and each time have been a little surprised that it has managed to survive on its own. There certainly are other families of young ducks out there, but none that are at the same age as this loner. Good luck little duck.

 

And of course it wouldn’t be a trip without a visit to Jacky Winter. Shows how far I am behind in the Blogging business. They have since fledged the two young they were nursing. So there is two new Jackys in the forest. Will do a blog on their exploits in the not to distant future.
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Saturday Evening Post #009

Had been looking forward to getting a second Eynesbury story to the blog this week, but sad, to say between bad weather, bad organisation, a day at Hanging Rock with Werribee Wagtails,  and a couple of family events, time just frittered away.

 

This is from my Enyesbury journal.
The Sulphur-crested Cockatoos have been feasting among the black wattle now that the flowers have gone to seed. Plenty of work for a large flock, and each individual seems to have its own technique for dealing with the rich smorgasbord.
And because of their ability to deal with the human condition a close approach didn’t seem to be all that hard.  All I had to do was wait for the leaves to be in the right spot, and the bird ready to draw up the next offing.

I’ve been using the Teleconverter TC1.7 on the PF 300mm f/4 lens of late.  It makes it a bit on the slow side, but it is quite a light and easy to handle kit for many bush birds.  Not my favourite for inflights, but life as they say is a compromise.
I’ve done a few tests and while it is sharp, it’s not as sharp as the Sigma 150-600 Sport. But that kit is a lot heavier.
Just for the record, I think the TC 1.7 works better at higher shutter speeds and the VIbration Reduction (VR) turned off.  The net has so many arguments about how the VR performs when left on, but you’ve only got look at EE’s Flickr site to see how good it can be on the TC1.4  EE has had the TC 1.4 on from day 1 and the VR set to Normal.  Sometimes we get to be too gear conscious and miss the simplicity of working at the photo rather than extolling the equipment.  As David DuChemin says, “Gear is good, but, Vision is Better.

 

This shot is nearly a full frame, cropped only for effect.

 

Keep takin’ photos. We do.

 

 

Eynesbury Gems—Episode #1

Eynesbury township just a few minutes from Melton, was established around a golf-club. Part of the deal concerns a stand of Grey Box Forest, that is in close to original condition, or perhaps, well established with old trees and understory, might be a better description.
It was used until the mid 1950s as a pastoral area, and the forest was used to run the shorn sheep from the shearing sheds in the area.

Many long term readers will know that its been noted that I have Grey Box sap running in my veins and a visit to the Eynesbury Forest is enough to rejuvenate the lowest of my spirits.

The local Eynesbury Conservation Group, you can look them up on Facebook, conduct a walk on a Sunday morning every two months. Usually led by the award-winning Chris Lunardi, a local identity; EE and I make it a point to turn up if at all possible.

Much to see in a day, so we cheated, and went back for a second look the following day.

Here are some of the Gems of the Forest.1811-28_DWJ_6412.jpg
Little Eagle, one of a pair. And try as I might I’ve not been able to locate their current nest site.

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Peregrine Falcon, a new bird for me at Eynesbury, this one is working on short wings with quick flutters. Target— Tree Martins that are nesting in the forest. We found at least one carcass to confirm its skills.

1811-28_DWJ_6517.jpg
A fledged Jacky Winter. Not from our usual pair, but one of two young birds on the wing. Well done Jacky

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A trip through the Greybox will always be accompanied by the trills from the many Brown Treecreepers in the area. A threatened species, so its good to see them so active in the forest
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At the lake, an Australasian Grebe was nurturing at least one new addition to the family

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Big, bold, noisy and hungry. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are working in the wattles that have seeded

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“Our’ Jacky Winter young. The nest is near falling apart, and the young still have a few days to go to fledge. Jacky made it quite clear today, that we were not welcome. So we moved on quickly

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Normally at this time of the year the forest would be ringing with the calls of hundreds of Dusky Woodswallows. Again, it is feared they are in decline, and this is the first season we’ve seen so few. But those that have come down, have wasted no time in getting off their first batch. This pair are feeding two young

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Two Black Kites were in the air having the best time on the strong winds. it really deserves a blog page of its own to describe and show the antics of this couple of birds, but two should do eh?

And finally two of the Tawny Frogmouth from the Children’s Playground park. Other photographers, you know who you are Lyndell, seem to be able to get them on days when they are low down, in the open and all together. They seem to be quite happy to sit in the trees while kids play about on the swings and climbing things just metres below.

Another episode to come I think.

 

Saturday Evening Post #007

I was really keen to put up yet another Wagtail Nursery set, as we’ve several along the river at the moment.

But perhaps a change is a good thing, so here’s a Swamp Harrier.
Perhaps the most challenging of the raptors that we work with.  These birds are have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to humans, and most often what we see is the white tail feathers of a Swampie disappearing in front of us.

This one came up the paddock toward us, but was searching for an updraft and as soon as it reached it the bird rose at a great rate with hardly a flick of the wings.

Which caused me to ponder that little bit, that how do they sense where the updrafts are happening?  Eagles, Pelicans, Kites, Ibis and many others seem to be able to work their way along and then rise with the thermal.

Unknown, but still things that make going out and watching a most pleasing experience.

 

‘tails free along the river

Here’s a story I’ve been waiting to tell. It’s the followup from last Saturday Evening’s Post.

EE and I have been searching along the trees at the Werribee River for a pair of Tawny Frogmouth and their young.  Thanks to a friendly tip from a member of BirdLife Werribee, (formerly Werribee Wagtails), we were able to eventually make the connection.
What we also discovered.  We in that phrase meaning EE spotted. What we also discovered was several pairs of Willie Wagtails that had all gone to nest about the same time, and within about 50m or so of each other.

To our delight one pair were only  a metre of so from the little walking track.  Little and Walking in that sentence are more an euphemism for—gaps among the scrub.

For as many afternoons as we can fit in, we’ve been dropping in to see how they are going. And the last day or so, in spite of the drenching weather,  they have flown!

Here is the visuals of the story unfolding.  Quite a few shots, but it takes about 14 days to hatch, and about 14 days to fledge.  You can take a lot of pictures of a nest on a stick in that time.

Good luck littleuns, hope to see your tails flying free for a long time.

Click on each image for a larger view

1811-08_DWJ_2850.jpgTaking a snack to work. This one is still sitting eggs

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The casual work approach

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First sight of the little featherless, blind young

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A couple of days later and Mum is sitting on the tucking them down and look at the size of her ‘eyebrow’. A very upset bird.

1811-11_DWJ_6296.jpgMore hi power food going in

1811-15_DWJ_6545Several days later and the first signs of wing feathers sheaths are beginning to show.

1811-15_DWJ_6629.jpgSnuggling down over the young to keep them safe from view1811-15_DWJ_6632.jpg
In spite of her care, one of the young pokes out the back to see what’s going on

1811-17_DWJ_4295.jpgNow they are really developing a full set of feathers

1811-17_DWJ_4301.jpgMore food going in.

1811-19_DWJ_4820.jpgTrying to distract me by pretending to be an injured bird.

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Each day brings them closer to fledging

1811-21_DWJ_5123.jpgFledging day.   Not more than 10 minutes later all three were on the wing.  The poor old nest is beginning to suffer from their activities and the heavy rain the night before

1811-21_DWJ_5285.jpgAnd here we are young ‘tails on the move

1811-21_DWJ_5321-2.jpgSee Mum, I can fly. I can fly.