A Little Visit: Stop Picking on Me!

At the Point Cook Coastal Park, there is pair of Black Swans that are always together, and almost always distinguishable from others in the area because of their behaviour together.

I was casually watching them, as they don’t do much really, just swan about together.
When on a sudden one of them arched up from the middle and sort of jumped up out of the water.  Curious, but it quickly settled down again.
A few seconds later it did the same thing, and then a Little Pied Cormorant popped up out of the water along side it. The swan took a swing at the cormorant and it quickly submerged.

Then, the swan arched up again, and I figured out the cormorant must have been hitting or poking it underneath.
This time it was a bit too much for the swan, and it gave chase to the cormorant.  And again it submerged and the swan gave another start, and the process repeated.

Perhaps the cormorant was gaining some underwater advantage from the bulk of the swan, or perhaps their movement stirred up the waters and the creatures.

Eventually tiring of it all the cormorant swam off, while the pair of swans went back to ‘swanning about’.

Enjoy

Little Journeys: Strollin’

One thing our lockdown for the CovidCrisis has highlighted for us, is the chance to enjoy a walk around some of our local areas. Normally we’d be out and about in regular birding locations.

And of course, being local, there is not likely to be much in the way of highly sought out birds in the area.

Or
So we thought.

Not much more than a stroll from home is a new housing estate. It has been built on what, of course, was old farming land. And in our area, that would have been vegetable farming. A small, seasonal creek runs through the area, and because it is of environmental significance because of among other things, the habitat of  Growling Grass Frogs (Litoria raniformis) a fairly wide verge has been created, and partly sculptured with a well formed footpath and open grass.

The rest of the creek proper, thanks to the developers, the local council and Melbourne Water, has been turned into runoff water retarding basins. As the creek was originally a set of water holes rather than a flowing creek, they have used the natural lay of the land to develop the area.

The past few days we’ve had a good amount of rain. In our gauge alone  showed over an inch and a half  (about 39mm).   The new development with its sealed roads, footpaths, lawns and of course house roofs has indeed provided plenty of run off.  As we walked today there was plenty of evidence of at least a metre or more water having recently been through the reed beds. But thanks to clever Melb Water development, the water level has subsided quite quickly.

About half an hour walk from home is an aptly named coffee shop, The Little Growling, and it makes a good spot to turn around and return.  With a freshly brewed coffee to go, thanks very much.

As we walked out of our village at the start of our stroll, I heard the call of a Rosella, I’ve been hearing it occasionally over the past few weeks, and had even spotted it on a fence-line a couple of times. This time it was in one of the street trees, and to my surprise, a Crimson juvenile was with it, so there was much calling.  (Whether they nested locally or not is still open to supposition). I am beginning to have my doubts about the Eastern id, perhaps it is a hybrid?

Not a bird we’d normally see locally, so it was not only a pleasant surprise, but quite enchanting.

Enjoy.

Eastern Rosella, or a hybrid with buff cheeks.
Juvenile Crimson Rosella.
The last of our local Black Swans. The rest of the family seems to have moved on. Perhaps this one is reluctant to leave a good feeding location
Magpie Drama. For reasons I’ve never been sure of the adults seem to single out one of the young and peck away at it. No one seems to be hurt and the young one will pickup and move on as if nothing happened.
Enjoying breakfast together.
Maned Duck Drama. This male has a family of 5 trying to move across open ground. About 20 ravens thought there might be a quick snack or two for an enterprising attempt.
In the end, EE and I moved down the paddock and put the ravens to wing. Not that it would last for long, but sufficient to get the little ones safely to water.
The little family made it safely to the water, and were able to paddle away.
Australian Reed Warblers are either feeding young or building new nests.
Food delivery
Now that is something you don’t see in the average housing estate. Fortunately it was in no hurry to stop and chat
Like all housing estates, there are plenty of opportunists.
And this is why they call her EE.
“Buff-banded Rail,” she cried. True to form, it was. A most unusual find in a housing estate. We have been known to drive around the Treatment Plant for hours and never see one.

Postcards: Swaning About (as you do)

My WordPress friend, Ashley, over at Aussiebirder has written a post on “Mindfulness” while bird watching. Resonates quite well I thought with my meanderings on having a love for the bird and the craft.Sometimes we are in such a hurry, or obsessed, to find the next bird, that we overlook the around.

EE, Mr An Onymous and I had gone down to the Jawbone Conservation Reserve to look for, among other things, Great Crested Grebe. And as the day progressed we found both the birds that are down there. Jawbone also has quite a resident collection of Black Swans. One of the main reasons—not being a Swan, how would I know— seems to be that the arm of the sheltered Jawbone pond(s) offers a quiet resting place, perhaps out of the wind.

So while we looked for the best places to photograph said Grebe, the Swans kept us amused by their fluting calls, their preening antics and their airborne mastery and of course their barefoot waterskiing championships.

When I opened up the files in Lightroom (hah!, had to get the plug in, that’s plug in, not plugin), I was just a wee bit excited to find how many interesting moments of these birds that I’d managed during the morning and I wasn’t even trying.  I feel a photobook coming on.

Here are some to set the scene and get you into the ‘moment’.

Enjoy

Heading in from a great height
Synchronised style
Formation landing team
Neck outstretched for aerodynamics
Casually dipping the wing into the water
On touchdown
How easy is barefoot skiing
Splash down and time to fold the wings up
Trimming up for landing
Powering down the waterway
Feather Details
The shape that sings a melody.

Home Improvements

One of the more visited areas at the Western Treatment Plant is the “T-Section”. Among its notable areas is the aptly named, “Crake Pool”, it’s not unusual on any given trip down there, to find at least one, sometimes more, vehicles pulled up in the open areas near the pool, hoping to catch a glimpse of the many crakes that inhabit the area.

Just a little further along the road and a small pile of rocks in the middle of the pond usually has a share of waterbirds, or waders loafing in the sunshine.

So you might well imagine our suprise the other day to see a pair of enterprising Black Swan had taken over the rocks, and built what can only be thought of as Swan Hilton, securely among the rocks.

DWJ_2886.jpg

Continue reading “Home Improvements”

Black Swan at WTP

There is a banding program with the Black Swans run by www.myswan.org.au  and today we had the chance to get up close and personal to J19.  Now this is not going to be a tirade on the fors and againsts of banding, but they are doing some interesting work in collecting data about the swan’s movements and mating and breeding.

So we decided to adopt J19.  Turns out it is a female, about 4 years old, or at least if I figure out the numbers that is when she was banded. She was banded at Albert Park Lake and has been there for about three years.  She seems to have first been sighted at WTP in January 2012.  At the moment, because of the huge population of juvenile birds, there is much pairing going on I suspect.

She is up in 145A Lagoon Area at WTP, and we will keep a check on her movements if at all possible. I will open up a blog page just to keep updates. See blog Here  J19 info

Here she is.

J19 in her best dressed banded number

Also found a co-operative Brown Falcon.  It stayed on the post as I inched the car closer and closer. Just managed to slip away a split second before I could get back on the camera.  Love the backwards glance.

Brown Falcon

Just as we were leaving with the sun setting as I was closing the exit gate on Paradise Road, Dorothy spotted a Buff Banded Rail hunting in the mud-flats. Dieter who was with us thought it was quick enough to be a road-runner.

The sun was well set by the time we were on the road home, but the Rail did provide a few minutes entertainment.

Buff-banded Rail. The blue spots are reflections of the overhead blue sky. We have a photoshop trick to fix that.