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.

1811-28_DWJ_6492.jpg
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

1811-28_DWJ_6527.jpg

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
1811-28_DWJ_6536.jpg
At the lake, an Australasian Grebe was nurturing at least one new addition to the family

1811-28_DWJ_6562.jpg
Big, bold, noisy and hungry. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are working in the wattles that have seeded

1811-28_DWJ_6590.jpg
“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

1811-28_DWJ_6664.jpg
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

1811-28_DWJ_6794.jpg
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.

 

Advertisements

Onya Clancy

The Clancy Koala Foundation, was holding a Clancy Mini Tour to celebrate Clancy’s birthday.

Clancy is a koala at the You Yangs Regional Park, and he was born and raised there, now in his seventh year he has also now a father to a young son.

Details of the Clancy story are here. https://koalaclancyfoundation.org.au/who-is/who-koala-clancy

Always good for a party we went down to the You Yangs for the Clancy Mini Walkabout.  A chance to learn a bit about the work of those attending to the welfare of the Koalas in the park, (there are as many 100 or more so we were told), and to help by pulling up a bit of boneseed, the invasive plant that has endangered the habitat of the koalas.    Not only do they need the right trees to munch on, but space on the ground to move about, and the tall, thick, dense boneseed destroys that space.

What a good idea saith I, we could go to the party, and before hand we could take a wander about a couple of areas and look for some Robins.  Donchathink?   And EE and Mr Anonymous agreed.

Continue reading “Onya Clancy”

A Grey May Day in a Grey Box Forest, at Eynesbury

All we needed were some grey birds and it would have been complete.

We turned up at the monthly Eynesbury Residents Birdwalk.  Did one back in April see details of the area in that post. Details Here
This time the lake was in fact a, lake!.  Water had been added and the ducks were happy and in residence again.  And there was a “Farmers Market” in full swing. Make note to self, leave earlier, bring wallet, and enjoy some shopping therapy before the walk in June!

Chris had a walk to the north eastern area of the forest planned for us, and the six or so hardy stalwarts set off for a looksee.  And a quiet day it happened to be.  We did get a good view of the ubiquitous  Superb Fairywren, and again noted how many Brown Treecreepers have made this their home.

Chris pulled out the best spotting by giving us a grand view of a male Flame Robin, rich in colour and brightening up the day.  Just as we were enjoying it all, he took off not to be seen again.
A couple of Striated Pardalotes come down out of the top branches and all got a good view of  these delightful little birds.  Not to be out done a Jacky Winter helped add to the charm of the area, as only Jacky can, and performed some feeding twists and turns in an open area.  But, in the end, we had to say it was a quiet day.

Perhaps the recent rain had made the food scarce.   We turned back and meandered through the open forest.  You can do that in Grey Box, its a lovely forest to walk through. Tracks become optional. Chris offered all sorts of running commentary on fox and rabbit issues, to what sort of native plants were working in well in the local gardens, and one our number told how her three sickly looking Running Postman were now clambering all over the garden pots.  Super.

A Common Bronzewing, a few more Treecreepers, and the inevitable Red-rumped Parrots kept us entertained until we eventually reached the roadway, and back to the cars.

Might have been a quiet morning, and the light might have been less than ideal, but we all were pleased to have seen a little more of the Eynesbury Forest and to enjoy some great company at the same time.  Now we’re looking forward to the June walk.
Way to go Chris.

EE and I grabbed a quick bite to eat, and a cuppa,  then went round to a small open park area among the houses on the west side of the lake.  We’d been told that a pair of Tawny Frogmouth were in the park and ‘easy to spot’.  Hmmm.

You know that feeling?  You’re walking into a park for the first time, checking trees, checking trees, knowing that Tawnies are, well, not necessarily ‘easy to spot’.  In fact, I’d left the camera in the car. Now that is confidence.   EE on the other hand, well, she would wouldn’t she?  Had camera out, and at the ready.

Looking, looking.  Well I suppose I’d taken about five steps into the park. “Oh”.
If only everything was  that “Easy to Spot”.   There aren’t a lot of trees, so Tawnys didn’t have a lot of choice.  “There they are!!! ”  Trudge back to get camera, (all five steps).

We then moved down to the forest proper to look for more Flame Robins. No such luck, not as ‘easy to spot’.  A flock of Maned Ducks, (Wood Ducks) were house hunting and that kept us amused for a few minutes.  A duck in tree.

Then the sound of Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters on the way back got us looking and eventually locating a couple.
So in the end a good day at Eynesbury, and another triumph for Grey Box

Enjoy

Bounding about Banyule

The Beginners Group of Melbourne Birdlife Australia were having a day at the Banyule Flats park,  and as luck would have it the Meetup Bird Photography group were going to be there in the afternoon.  Not one to have too to many things conflicting in the diary, (euphemism in there), we decided to go and enjoy the park side area.

Its been a great place at previous events and the weather looked ok, to so so, so we took the (now) considerable drive across town.

Over 45 active birders joined us and a good day was in the offing. Probably one of the highlights were excellent views (if somewhat average pictures on my part) of a Latham’s Snipe,  (a new one for me. Thank you)

The area also seemed to have more than its fair share of Tawny Frogmouth and we counted 7 for the day.

The folk from Meetup Bird Photography Group turned up, and we had a second attempt at some of the birds.

A Buff-banded Rail, eluded photography in the morning group, and didn’t improve in the afternoon group.  Some had good sightings and photos of a Sacred Kingfisher and we had some lovely views of the wing feathers on an Australasian Darter.

I was working with my newly acquired 70-200 mm f/2.8 and a Teleconverter TC1.7.  Made the field of view equivalent to about 500mm stopped down a little to keep sharpness and really had a good day, and got some super images without the need to lug heavy tripods into the field.   It will get to go on another expedition anytime soon.

DWJ-1202-22-DSC_6215

Beautiful colours on the Straw-necked Ibis

DWJ-1202-22-DSC_6202

Latham’s Snipe.  A very relaxed bird, but it could afford to be well out in the water and away from easy photography.

DWJ-1202-22-DSC_6256

First find your Buff-banded Rail.

DWJ-1202-22-DSC_6237

A young Kookaburra waiting for the family to return, perhaps with a nice meal.

DWJ-1202-22-DSC_6301

Tawny Frogmouth

DWJ-1202-22-DSC_6291

This one was against the light and really did take on the “branch” look and fooled quite a number of eager birdwatchers.

DWJ-1202-22-DSC_6283

Tucked up tight against the tree.

DWJ-1202-22-DSC_6359

Another failed Buff-banded Rail shot

DWJ-1202-22-DSC_6381

Australasian Darter shows its wonderful wing patterns.

Dad and the kids

With the Bandicoot Big Brother House still locked to lesser beings, we’ve had to travel a bit further for a place to settle down, but today, in the cold and wind and rain, I decided on a whim, (don’t you love that word – translated,  I was going to to it anyway!!!!), that if I shopped at Greenvale, I could mosey on over and have a look at Providence Road carpark.  So.  I did.

The Tawny Frogmouth seems to be holding his own, and has by my count two little balls of fluff. Actually that are quite big balls of fluff, but she tucked one under each wing and settled down to keep them warm.  Unlike the other day in the heat when he was sitting back, and letting them cool down a bit.

Also found Will o’Scarlet, quite vocal, and two beautiful Rufous Whistlers who were feeding on some low branches in the small scrub, but much to dark to get any decent pics.

Dads and the kids. Tawny Frogmouth overlooking two very dependant young. He does look the part of the concerned parent. Unusual to see the in a pose other than looking like a tree branch

This image has just a small amount of fill flash, -1 1/3rd below normal.  It just picks up a little shadow detail without looking over done.  Haven’t used flash on birds for  a long time as the light has been soft enough anyway.

But the experiment was useful as I got some with and without examples to use in class, so that’s a bonus.

For all the overcast weather, the bush is starting to show a lot of drying out already.  Hope the Bandicoots like it.