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.

Into the personal moments with Little Ravens

Early morning drizzle, (and icon ladies had got it right!).   Not much chance of a ramble today, and the sky is deep leaden grey.  Lowering, the poets call it.

Brrring Brinnng.  EE’s phone message do dah goes off.  Scares the life out of the unprepared.  Roll over pull-up doonah.

“It’s a message from Rockman’s the clothing shop,  they have a 40 % sale on today,” In most excited voice.  Pull-up doonah a little closer.

And there’s a Rockmans over at Point Cook, we could, well, take a look along the beach at Point Cook, then have lunch at the shopping centre, and I could go and save some money.

Doonah is now a ball around my head.

So, as you guessed. Clever reader that you are.  We went.

Well, the raindrops on the windscreen didn’ t seem to be diminishing, and had turned to a light drizzle by the time we parked.

Found some lovely, active Flame Robins in the first few minutes.  Yep, just as I figured.  Not much light.
We ventured to the beach area.  Low tide here, and most of the birds are well out beyond the end of the rock platform.

By morning tea time, we’d not seen much more than the usual suspects, and even the cormorants had abandoned the old jetty.  Open the thermos, and enjoy, at least it wasn’t bucketing with rain.

Cahhh Cahhhw Cawww, from along the beach.  A Little Raven was working among the exposed rocks and intent on telling somebody what was going on.  Into the second cuppa and the bird had worked right up to where we were sitting.  Then began the usual, is it a Little or an Australian Raven?

One of the most interesting calls these birds have is a really guttural purr. (I can’t think of a better word), and the hackles stick out when its made.   And soon a partner arrived on the rocks, and they began a fine old discussion.

But a black bird on a black backdrop, or a white background on a really porridge grey day is not going to get me pushing the shutter with any enthusiasm.

Till.

Both flew to the top of the old jetty.  And after a bit more discussion, the smaller of the two moved closer to the other, put its head down and.  The larger bird began to alopreen it.

We tend I suspect unfairly, to have a low regard for Ravens.  Well, they are black, likened — or associated — through our western culture with evil, hang around supermarket and food outlet rubbish bins, are a pest to all sorts of farmers and in large flocks are dangerous to small birds at nesting time.  And if I’m not mistaken, the bloke in the Ark, let out a Raven to check the conditions, and the Black bird did not come back. Another strike against it.  Yet of course, the Dove, always pictured as white, was the good guy.  I’ve checked the old texts, and there is no indication it was white.  But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story

So to see these two birds engaged in some sort of pair bonding, (and they do, it seems, stay together for life) in such a tender way was really a highlight of the day.

And ‘we’ got to Rockmans, saved a bag of money, and had lunch.

Enjoy

Nothing of any food value was discarded
Nothing of any food value was discarded
It has a distinct almost purring call.
It has a distinct almost purring call.
The photo complexity, dark on dark and light
The photo complexity, dark on dark and light
After moving in close the smaller one put its head down.
After moving in close the smaller one put its head down.
Ah!! that feels good
Ah!! that feels good
Must be both a mark of bonding, and cleans the areas that otherwise would be hard to reach.
Must be both a mark of bonding, and cleans the areas that otherwise would be hard to reach.
Ahh, the bond is stronger.
Ahh, the bond is stronger.
Calling to her mate as he hunts along the beach
Calling to her mate as he hunts along the beach