It says something about the whole day in general when, we set out to find some Flame Robins at Point Cook Coastal Park, and end up spending half an hour with a single Pink-eared Duck.
The plan was to have a look around the old homestead area and see if we could locate any Flame Robins that usually turn up for their winter holiday at the beach. And if we were really lucky, perhaps a Pink Robin, or two—that would be nice.
We met Bernie the ranger on the way in, and he (of the sharp eye), said he’d not seen the usual suspects so far this season.
Was chatting with a birder friend, and I mentioned the Point Cook Coastal Park, and he said, that he didn’t plan to go there much as most of the birds were pretty common, and only occasionally was a Plover or a Pratincole enough to take the trip down there.
When we relocated home a couple of years back, Point Cook was on the top of my list as a suitable place, and to be honest, it was second, third and a close run fourth on the list. And of course the logic was it was but a few minutes from the Coastal Park of the same name, and it would be neat to roll out of bed, and stroll on down to the park.
In the end, much wiser heads than mine (EE as it turns out) found us the place that ‘we’ wanted and Tarneit took on our new home address.
But every so often when the light is right, and sometimes when its wrong we venture down to the Coastal Park. And surprisingly, many of the common birds down there have become a bit like friends.
So today we went, not to count, nor to get our lists up, nor necessarily to capture the best bird photos ever, but to visit some friends.
Our friend the Brown Falcon was in the carpark area, and we enjoyed some time with it, as it hunted quite casually from the fence line. Also found a number of Flame Robins that have made the park their winter beach residence.
And of course the usual Pied, Little Pied and Great Cormorants down on the old jetty. They gave us some pretty impressive flight displays while we sipped on a fine cuppa.
Then the local White-faced Heron, and the pair of Pacific Gulls cruised by hunting on the out-going tide. And to our amusement, a pair of Black Swans how have obviously just coupled up were making interesting subjects as they hunted together on the gentle rolling outgoing tide.
As we walked back to carpark, the air literally filled with raptors.
At one point we had all up at the same time, Little Eagle, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Brown Falcon, Australian Hobby and Brown Goshawk. I was hoping that the resident Spotted Harrier would make an appearance, but we had to be satisfied with those six.
We stopped along the road to look at some Flame Robins bathing in a tiny pool in a paddock, and some ‘new friends’, came over to say ‘hello’. So we spent a few minutes becoming acquainted with several chesnut horses.
We might not have added any ‘new’ birds to our list, but we had as the Sans Bushman said, “Recognised some birds,and built a tiny connection with them, that is growing into a thread”
Pied Cormorant on landing approach
Open water, easy landing.
Flame Robin, I suspect the colours suggest a first year male moulting in.
Is that another photographer pointing a lens at me?
Time to go
Brown Falcon. I thought it was going to sweep along the fence. But it simple jumped down to take a lizard
The couple that eats together stays together.
After you. Oh no I insist, after you.
The always dependable Pacific Gull
White-faced Heron, racing to shore so as not to lose its catch in the water.
Flame Robin about to pounce
Brown Falcon on a turn
Just came by to say hello. One of several horses that welcomed a thoughtful touch. EE was ready to oblige.
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.
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.
She is on a fence post and has come down the fence line to see what I’m doing. Had to step back a bit to get focus. Too close for the lens focus setting.
For the technically ept, its shot with the 300mm f/2.8 and a TC 2.0e iii. Equiv focal length 600mm. I had the presence of mind to stop down to f/10, to at least get some little depth of field. My calc is about 3cm. As I’m running the D810 on Auto-ISO, it bumped the ISO up to 2500. Something I’d probably not do normally. And its hand-held. My Flickr mate Martyn would be happy. See his work here.
Only Noise Reduction is the tiny amount that my software adds at ingestion.
For an extra look try the “Full Size” button on the bottom left in the gallery shot.
As I needed to go do a medical thing near the Point Cook Coastal Park, the thought came up, that we could go photograph Flame Robins (astute reader that you are, you’ll have noted that the positive side of that is – not look for robins to photograph- Well noted)
As it turned out the sunshine came out and EE found an really interesting pair of Black Kites, interesting in that they were both ‘very’ interested in one another. One, which we concluded to be the male, kept sweeping into the perching tree carrying things to ‘offer’. She on the other hand kept encouraging him, and eventually they stopped to mate. EE has those shots. (Of course).
We decided that little hard to get close to red robins, were no match for the the challenge of two eager Black Kites and walked around to a gateway, and entered the paddock…