Saturday, 17 October 2015

Yan Yean

I spent today with the Melbourne Birdlife Photography group around Yan Yean, on the NE rural fringe of Melbourne.

First stop was Yellow Gum Park, a small reserve surrounding a disused quarry within a bend of the Plenty River (see map). 

I arrived early enough to spot a few kangaroos still hanging around. These two were photographed from the car as there was very little cover to try and stalk them on foot.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Yellow Gum Park, Plenty, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/1000

Many of the eucalypts were in flower and there seemed to be a lot of birds singing in the treetops and around the river but they remained aloof and elusive but I did manage to get a couple of shots (both from the car park).

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Yellow Gum Park, Plenty, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/1250
Little Raven, Yellow Gum Park, Plenty, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/1250

Next stop was Laurimar Wetlands in Doreen, where there were plenty of waterbirds to be found and photographed. As one of our bunch quipped: "If there's nothing to be found in the bush, go to a shopping centre" (the wetland is right on the edge of the Doreen shopping centre).

Australian Pelican, Laurimar Wetlands, Doreen, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/2000
Australian Pelican, Laurimar Wetlands, Doreen, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/4000
Australian Pelican, Laurimar Wetlands, Doreen, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 800, f/4, 1/8000
Australian Wood Duck, Laurimar Wetlands, Doreen, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/640
Hardhead, Laurimar Wetlands, Doreen, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/2000

We then headed for the Yan Yean Reservoir Park for lunch and more birding in the afternoon. Several species of parrots were heard and seen, including Rainbow and Little Lorikeets, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Galahs and Long-billed Corellas and one group found a pair of Gang-gang Cockatoos. I only managed to photograph these Eastern Rosellas in a tree near the picnic ground.

Eastern Rosella, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/800
Eastern Rosella, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/640

The afternoon highlight, though, was the wetland between the dam wall and the road, which, among the usual ducks, grebes, moorhens and swamphens, provided sightings of two species of Crake. Two Baillon's Crake were foraging among the reeds and while easily spotted, they remained difficult to photograph as they were constantly on the move and views usually obstructed by reeds.

Baillon's Crake, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/640
Baillon's Crake, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/1000

A solo Spotless Crake was foraging along the far bank of the wetlands allowing good views, albeit in and out of shadows and a fair distance away but it's always good to see these secretive little birds.

Spotless Crake, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/320
Spotless Crake, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/1250

An Australian Reed-Warbler was calling loudly from among the reeds and many of us stopped to see if we could capture an image.  This is often the best you see of this species...

Australian Reed-Warbler, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/5000

...but with some persistence, you can eventually get some better views as these birds often start singing from low down among the reeds and then come up to the tops of the reeds to continue their calling.

Australian Reed-Warbler, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/3200
Australian Reed-Warbler, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/4000
Australian Reed-Warbler, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/1000

I even managed to remember to switch over to video and capture the song (along with some other birds and Pobblebonk frogs in the background).

video


There was also almost no wind allowing some shots of damselflies and dragonflies.

Common Bluetail, (Damselfly), Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/500
Common Bluetail, (Damselfly), Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/160
Wandering Percher, (Dragonfly), Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Victoria
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x1.4 adapter), ISO 800, f/8, 1/3200

So, once again, the Melbourne Birdlife Photography group provided a brilliant day out and I managed to finally photograph two relatively common species (Eastern Rosella and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike) that had eluded me since starting this blog 5 years ago!

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