Saturday, 24 September 2011

Long weekend in Central Victoria - Day 2

We started the morning with a quick trip out to some drainage ponds near Woodvale (just north of Eaglehawk - see map) to catch the Red-necked Avocet and we were not disappointed.

Red-necked Avocet, Woodvale

We then drove to the Kamarooka section of the Greater Bendigo National Park entering along Millwood Road from the south. We stopped just past the entrance to the park and immediately heard Rufous Whistler calling. The loud and persistent calls suggested a male but none of us could find one. We did manage to find this female singing her little lungs out. 

Rufous Whistler (female), Kamarooka Section, Greater Bendigo NP

Next stop was further into the park, where we were promised White-fronted and Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters. I had not photographed either species before and, in fact, never seen a Tawny-crowned Honeyeater. Within five minutes of getting out of the car I found a White-fronted Honeyeater perched on a nearby branch, food in its mouth.

White-fronted Honeyeater, Kamarooka Section, Greater Bendigo NP

The Tawny-crowned Honeyeater was proving to be more elusive until one of the group told me they had found one just near where they were parked. Sure enough, while standing right next to the car, this bird flew into a nearby shrub. It was behind several dead branches of another shrub (which totally confuses the auto-focus as it tracks back and forth looking for something to focus on and usually ends up on a stick in the foreground) so I switched to manual focus and managed to get this image - backlit and blurry foreground but still pleasing

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Kamarooka Section, Greater Bendigo National Park

The bird then moved and perched on another branch a few metres away - still backlit but clear view.

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Kamarooka Section, Greater Bendigo NP

The bird was now getting the hang of this photo-model business and it moved a few metres again, still back and sidelit but a beautiful background of purple wildflowers.

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Kamarooka Section, Greater Bendigo NP

It then disappeared into a dense patch of shrubs right in front of us. This behaviour is typical of nesting birds, where they don't go straight into the nest but flit from branch to branch in a different pattern each time they enter and leave a nest. So, to avoid disturbing the nest any further, I was just moving away when this bird came from the same patch (may be the same bird or its mate) and stopped just in front of me just as a cloud came across the sun, providing a detailed view of this species' beautiful plumage.

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Kamarooka Section, Greater Bendigo NP

All of these photographs were taken within a 10 minute period. I can't remember another occasion where I got so many different views of the same bird at one location in such a short time AND this was the first Tawny-crowned I have ever seen (very happy!)

We moved off to another location for a lunch by an old eucalyptus oil distillery. A walk around the distillery dams and lots of the common bush birds were seen and heard but the highlight of the afternoon was a juvenile Nankeen Night-Heron found at another small dam just down the track

Nankeen Night-Heron (juvenile), Kamarooka Section, Greater Bendigo NP

A brilliant day out in the bush greatly helped by some local knowledge (thanks Murray!)

for more:
The night before

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