Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shoreham Beach

At last the sun has made an appearance and the skies are blue, for how long I don't know but I'll take advantage of it while I can.

Shoreham beach on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria is an area I have not visited for a while and I was pleased that I went there. On arrival I was greeted by Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets feeding in the flowering gums, but it was on the exposed reef that proved most fruitful.

Some shorebirds have decided to spend their winter here and were not annoyed by my presence. About 10 Ruddy Turnstones, 2 Red-capped Plovers, 6 Double-banded Plovers and 4 Red-necked Stints were quite happily enjoying the sunshine and feeding on the exposed low tide reef.
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Birds of Prey at Cranbourne

Another grey and wet day typical of Melbourne in winter, but the trip to Cranbourne Gardens was worthwhile. A Brown Goshawk was flushed from its roost by two aggressive lorikeets and promptly landed where I could take advantage of it.

A little bit further along the track and two Wedge Tailed Eagles were perched within sight before being harassed by a group of Ravens. They were joined by a third eagle and circled the open paddocks before disappearing.
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

A few shots from Cranbourne Gardens

At last, I finally have a decent shot of a Golden Whistler. Every other shot I've taken has been blurry, these ones are okay. The third photo shows a butcherbird with a mouse, the first time I have seen that happen. The day was capped off with my favourite Black Shouldered Kite landing on its favourite branch. Quite a pleasant afternoon.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flinders and Bushrangers Bay

A bit of fun today with some blue skies and warmer weather. I dropped into Flinders back beach and observed 2 pacific gulls, a solitary double banded plover, and four sooty oystercatchers. At Bushrangers Bay there were plenty of Eastern Spinebills and lots of Eastern Grey Kangaroos on the path towards the beach.

I also ventured to Shoreham where there were several musk lorikeets, rainbow lorikeets, galahs, and four yellow-tailed cockatoos.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lorikeets at Edithvale

Not a great of activity at Edithvale Wetlands at the moment, but I did come across a solitary Buff-banded Rail that was extremely camera shy.

Some Rainblw Lorikeets were having a territory dispute with a pair of Musk Lorikeets with a few Noisy Minors thrown in, it was a raucous occasion. They were so busy squabbling that they took no notice of me whatsoever.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Southern Giant Petrel

I had read a few reports about a Southern Giant Petrel seen at Mornington beach in Victoria, it was only a short drive so I went to investigate. Sure enough, there it was. Only a young bird, it seemed more at home on the water than on land. It waddled along the beach and approached within a metre of me before returning to the water and feeding on the remains of a fishermans catch. Some information from the Queensland Department of the Environment:

Southern giant-petrels have wing spans between 150-210cm and are as large as a small albatross. Unlike albatrosses, southern giant-petrels have large boulbous horn coloured bills and tipped with pale green with a nostril tube lying on top of their bill. Its feet are fleshy-grey. Adult southern giant-petrels are either sooty brown in colour with off white mottling on the head and neck (dark morph) or white with scattered black feathers (white morph). The immature dark morph is sooty brown and gradually become white around the face, followed by head then finally neck with age. Immature white morphs are similar to the adults.

Habitat and distribution:
Southern giant-petrels range widely throughout the southern oceans. In summer they occur predominantly below 60°S in sub-Antarctic to Antarctic waters. At this time, they can be found in Australian waters on and around Heard and Macquarie Islands. Some adults are mainly sedentary, remaining close to their breeding islands throughout the year. Nonetheless, their numbers diminish at all sites over winter - the Antarctic colonies are completely abandoned. Throughout the colder months, immature individuals and most adults disperse widely. The dispersal is circumpolar, extending north from 50°S to the Tropic of Capricorn and sometimes beyond. Thus they are common off South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

In the past, the waters off south-east Australia were particularly important wintering grounds. However in the last 10 to 15 years the number of southern giant-petrels recorded on the east coast of Australia has been in decline. Most (84 percent) southern giant-petrels sighted off south-east Australia are immature birds.

Behaviour and life history:
Southern giant-petrels nest annually in small colonies amongst open vegetation, with about 30 percent of the potential breeding population not attempting to breed each year. When successful, they raise a single chick. They feed on cephalopods (e.g. squid, octopus, cuttlefish) and euphausiids (krill), attend fishing boats, scavenge on land, and prey on other birds on land or at sea.
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mistletoe Bird

Between showers today I managed to take a short walk at Cranbourne Botanical Gardens hoping to see the Black Shouldered Kite family that had been there for the last week. Instead, I came across a mistletoebird, quite a common little bird but a first sighting for me.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More of the Black Shouldered Kite

A cold and wet day interrupted by flashes of sunshine and blue sky. It was during one of those interuptions that I headed off to Cranbourne Botanic to get some more photos of the Black Shouldered Kite family that had taken up residence.

They were visible in a far away paddock but thunder and hail forced me to retreat to my car and take shelter. After the deluge had passed, I returned to the same spot but this time I was quite fortunate: the sky was blue, the sun shining, and the birds were roosting in a tree nearby.

I was able to take some photos in perfect conditions before the sky again changed whereby both the birds and I called it a day and headed for shelter oncemore.
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