Sunday, 26 February 2012

Anglesea Heath

I thought I would try my luck in the Anglesea Heathland area today but the hot, windy weather defeated me. Apart from the ubiquitous Superb Fairy-wren, there was very little else to be seen. The forested areas did provide a few birds I have not photographed for a while so it was not a total flop.

White-eared Honeyeater, Anglesea Heath

Grey Shrike-thrush, Anglesea Heath

The most exciting find for the day was non-avian

Tiger Snake, Anglesea Heath

and I did manage to get the new 4WD into low range for the first time on a few tracks so the day was not a complete dead loss :-)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Weekend at Phillip Island - Gulls

Phillip Island is one of the few locations in Victoria where you can reliably see Silver, Pacific and Kelp Gulls.

On an early morning walk along Surf Beach (gotta love the originality of some of the place names...), we spotted a Pacific Gull feeding on a Short-tailed Shearwater chick but it bit off more than it could swallow with this one

Pacific Gull, Surf Beach, Phillip Island

The Silver Gulls that were hanging around watching the feast were also happy to approach me very closely (this shot is full frame)

Silver Gull, Surf Beach, Phillip Island

In the late afternoon we went to The Nobbies and Seagull Rock to try for Kelp Gulls in flight. The lookout at Seagull Rock is a great place to see these gulls flying on the updraft along the cliffs.

Kelp Gull, Seagull Rock, Phillip Island

Weekend at Phillip Island - Swan Lake bird hides

There are two bird hides at the end of the Swan Lake track and boardwalk. These offer great views of two active areas on the southern arm of the lake. Best time is late afternoon when there's a lot of activity there and the sun is behind you.

White-fronted Chat, Swan Lake, Phillip Island
Musk Duck, Swan Lake, Phillip Island
Chestnut Teal, Swan Lake, Phillip Island
Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Swan Lake, Phillip Island
Hoary-headed Grebe, Swan Lake, Phillip Island
Purple Swamphen, Swan Lake, Phillip Island
Little Black Cormorant, Swan Lake, Phillip Island

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Weekend at Phillip Island - Swan Lake bushwalk

I spent the weekend at Phillip Island, mostly helping my wife on a field trip but the best thing (apart from working on the rocky shore) about intertidal field work is that when the tide is in there's time for birding. 

Swan Lake is a large body of fresh water on Phillip Island and attracts a wide range of wildlife. The short walk to the lake through the coastal woodland offers great birding. The following were among the 20+ species seen in a 30 minute morning walk

Little Wattlebird, Swan Lake, Phillip Island

Grey Fantail, Swan Lake, Phillip Island

Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Swan Lake, Phillip Island

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Black-shouldered Kites Sunset

I was driving home from a meeting in Geelong when I spotted this pair of Black-shouldered Kites along the Barwon Heads Road. I realised I was not going to be able to get close enough for a great shot but the light (close to sunset) was too good to miss and you don't see these beautiful birds in pairs very often so I pulled over just where there was enough tree cover to not alert the birds.

Black-shouldered Kite, Connewarre

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Wilson's Promontory

I spent the weekend camping with the family at Tidal River, Wilson's Promontory National Park. Mostly swimming and walking on the beach and river. I was astounded at how much the river has changed since the floods of March 2011.

The usual birds frequented the campsite--Red Wattlebird, Crimson Rosella, Superb Fairy-wren--but the highlight was the Laughing Kookaburra family that was resident right next to our campsite, though this one seemed bored with us...

Laughing Kookaburra, Wilson's Promontory National Park

As I had not been out birding for a month, I had to escape for a few hours with the camera so decided to search for emus on what was, in the past, an open grassland area north of the airstrip. In recent years this has become much more overgrown with tea-tree and other shrubs so it has become more difficult to find emu and kangaroos that in previous years have been regularly seen in this area. I did manage to find one emu.

Emu, Wilson's Promontory National Park
I am continually amazed at how comical these birds can be.

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