A Trip in the Grey Box at Eynesbury

Been a long time between posts, I know.  Hope you remember me!

But the excuse—I’m going to use—is that we just haven’t been doing much that is reportable.

Long term readers may remember that the blog was originally set up to record the bird activity at Grey Box forest at Woodlands Historic Park.  Quite a few things have changed, in the park, and in my birding life, and in my life since those humble beginnings.
It has been said more than once, sometimes kindly, others not, that I have Grey Box sap running in my veins. Put me in a stand of Grey Box and my heartrate, breathing and all other out of contol faculties calm down.
So when EE said, casually, ‘Why don’t we go to Eynesbury”, on a sunny morning, before you can say, “We’re off” we were!

After all the rain, Eynesbury Grey Box looks a treat.  Plenty of green and still good water laying about in the usual dry water courses that cross the forest.

We had hoped to see Speckled Warbler, Diamond Firetail, Sacred Kingfisher and Jacky Winter.  In descending order of importance.
We also had hoped to hear the forest ringing with the sounds of Dusky Woodswallows that regularly return to nest in the area.
However Grey Box is not always forthcoming and in the end we had to admit, that today was not going to be our day.

But here’s a small selection of the action.

Plenty of Tree Martins. Just about every available hole had its families.


A new Brown Falcon for me. A dark morph male used to work in this area, but time has allowed a new encumbant. The same technque however was being used.
It would glide from one perch spot to another and pick off a recently fledged starling or martin along the way.


Satisifed, it had plenty of time to digest its meal before making another foray


That looks like a suitable meal.
We often think of Browns as being a bit lumbering or labouring in flight. But, given the right conditions they can put on a turn of speed and manoeuvrability that rivals their more agile cousins


Just what ever small pond needs. Maned Duck. I still think Wood Duck is so much better.
I also suspect she was out for a bit of stretch from nesting as he was sole guardian of the pond as we returned


The Brown Treecreepers are feeding the first of their young, and look to be having a good season.


Getting all your duck(lings) in a straight line.
At first we thought they must have been orphaned, but the male Chestnut Teal quickly came out and gathered them all up.
This is another ephemeral pond, and the first time I’ve seen water in it in over 10 years


Galahs are also fledging their recent young.


This was the find of the day. The little Aussie Battler has set up a nest in a tiny, narrow arm of the main lake at Eynesbury. It’s right by a walking track, and she didn’t seem at all concerend at our presence.


A bit of a show-off.
There are several captive peafowl at the Old Homestead. Hard not to resist a look at those amazing tail markings. Excuse the rubbish bin.

Looking for Kestrels

Its been quite awhile since I logged in here and added some pics.

With the Bandicoot Hilton (aka Bandicoot Big Brother House) (aka Backpaddock) now likely to be inaccessible to mere mortals, the chance to follow the nesting success of the  Red-capped Robins is going to elude me I think.

The only pair I’ve access to is down by the dam, and a week ago she was back building nests again, indicating a lack of success so far.  Just to many Ravens and other egg stealers in the area.

Consequently I’ve been round in the western paddocks mostly looking for the elusive Nankeen Kestrels. To date the score is Kestrels 0.

However I did spend an hour with a large flock of Tree Martins who were hard at work setting up a nesting site.  After a few minutes, they concluded, correctly that I was not a threat and returned to the work at hand, collecting building materials.

They are such agile creatures and can fly to the opening at full tilt, and then brake, just as they touch down.  Up to three at a time were stuffing leaves, grass and other things into the hole, and then after a few minutes would all take a break, and sit about and discuss the progress so far.  Lots of tail flicking and wing waggling is part of the discussion.

On the way back to the carpark, I bumped into the Birdlife Australia Group from the Bayside, and they were out for the day.  I continued on and just before the carpark, heard a very familiar call.  It WAS a Red-capped Robin.  I managed to track him down to a small stand off grey box, and got quite a few sighings, but no great photos.  He didn’t have any company, but I took that as a good sign, she must be on a nest somewhere near. Perhaps he too is an Eviction from the Bandicoot Hilton.

In over 20 years of walking in the park, I have not seen a red-cap in the area near the carpark, so it was  great day for no other reason.

Tree Martin Leaf Delivery
Tree Martins in conference
Red-capped Robin male near Somerton Road Carpark.