Monday, March 21, 2011

Catching fish heads

Some fishermen discarded their unwanted fish heads into the bay and it was fun to watch the gulls diving into the water and trying to swallow their prize. This Pacific Gull came up with a large morsel and proceeded to swallow it whole.
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Reef Island

It was high tide when I visited Reef Island yesterday, but there was still plenty to see. In particular, I observed for the first time several Intermediate Egrets and some albatross type looking birds that I am yet to identify. I also came across 3 eastern curlews, 2 pied oystercatchers, several crescent terns and a solitary caspian tern.
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Whistling Kite at Braeside Park

I was able to get nice and close to a Whistling Kite at Braeside Park today. Another gloomy grey day south of Melbourne making photographic conditions less than desirable, and to make things harder, I had to negotiate the skeletal remains of long dead river red gums in which the Kite was perched.

After several unsuccesful shots, I increased the exposure 2 stops and approached the bird from a different angle. Although not perfect, I was still happy with the results.

It is amazing that the waterbirds are having second and possibly third broods this season. Today I came across newly hatched cygnets, black ducks, teals, and moorhens. No wonder the birds of prey are looking so well fed.
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cranbourne Botanical Gardens

A rather gloomy day but after being housebound for a week I had to get out and about. Conditions for photography were poor but the birds were very co-operative for a change.

I happened across a small patch of trees where a large variety of small birds were feeding and bathing in a small puddle. They would swoop into the muddy water and quickly escape before another bird would take its place.

The identification of these small birds was made harder by the fact that there were a lot of juveniles with differing morphs, for example, a juvenile Eastern Yellow Robin looks nothing like the adult. Nor do the Golden Whistler juveniles both male and female. I'll be consulting my field guide for a week trying to identify them.
I also observed several Southern Brown Bandicoots, a Swamp Wallaby, an Echidna and a Copperhead Snake asleep on the road, it scurried off as I approached.

To finish my short walk, I was entertained by one adult and two juvenile Wedge Tailed Eagles circling for prey. The adult flew directly above me but with the grey skies, the resulting photo was merely a silhouette.
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