Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Foggy Day at Frankston

The fog rolled in over Port Phillip at about 2pm on Tuesday creating a surreal feeling around the bay. While there was a blue sky behind me over the land, the bay was shrouded in fog making Frankston Pier almost invisible. One of these shots was featured on ABC weather.
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Frankston Pines Flora and Flora Reserve

A quick visit to Frankston Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve. The Mistletoebird bird was the stand out, some Superb Fairywrens and Red Browed Finches. I also observed a Collared Sparrowhawk but it was too quick for a photo.
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Point Nepean in Winter

The sunny days continue and Point Nepean on the Mornington Peninsula is a great to visit for both the scenery and the wildlife. Australian Gannets can be seen on most days, flying past the point as they travel from bay to ocean. There are many locations to grab a fly by shot, but I recommend going in the morning when the sun is behind you.

Singing Honeyeaters are prevalent at Eagles nest and White Browed Scrubwrens are often seen darting in and out of the thick vegetation. I managed to see a wallaby for the first time at the point, a surprise to both of us. In Port Phillip Bay, great views of ships entering and exiting via the rip can be seen, and many recreational boats use the area. This catamaran can be seen with the South Channel Fort in the background. Views across the rip to Point Lonsdale are amazing.

The last two photos are an Eastern Yellow Robin and a Grey Shrike Thrush.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

A sad ending for a cormorant

While walking along the trail by the Patterson River, I noticed a strange shape in a dead river gum sprouting from the Donut Pond alongside the treatment plant. I took a quick photo and moved on. It wasn't until I got home and cropped the photo that I realised what I had observed: a cormorant with a fish hook embedded in its throat with the line and sinker clearly visible and snared on a branch above it.

I rang Wildlife Rescue to see if someone could investigate whether the bird was still alive but it was late at night and access was almost impossible. They got in touch with Melbourne Water and I met with two of their workers who volunteered their own time to see what they could do. We drove to the nearest access point but could not get very close as the pond was surrounded by a 2 metre cyclone fence and the tree itself was in deep water.

After some careful fence climbing I managed to get close enough to be 99% sure that the bird was dead.

Many thanks to Melbourne Water for their assistance.

A terrible way for the cormorant to die, the embedded fishing line was tangled around the upper branch and thus immobilising the bird. It either starved or dehydrated, or died from shock.

There must be some way that we can protect birds from taking the bait from fishing lines.
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Blue Skies and Lots of Life

It's amazing what a bit of blue sky and sunshine can do for the birdlife. I visited the wetlands near the South East Water Treatment Plant and was greeted by a Brown Falcon perched on the power lines. Hundreds of teals and ducks were flushed from the wetlands by a cruising Swamp Harrier.

At Patterson River, a single Great Egret stood amongst White Faced Herons, Great and Black Cormorants. A pair of Shelducks were observed over the fence at the treatment plant. In the trees a Red Eared Watllebird called out while a White Plumed Honeyeater looked downwards at me. A crested tern cruised up and down the river looking for small fish.

Over at Edithvale Wetlands, another Swamp Harrier was scaring off the Coots and Teals. The Black Swans and Cormorants didn't seem to mind. For the first time that I have observed, a second Magpie Goose has arrived. This new arrival is smaller and younger than the original inhabitant. Finally, a Musk Duck was seen on the eastern pond, probably the same bird that I saw last week.
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Braeside Park

Rainbow Lorikeets are busy looking for nesting sites and Braeside Park has a large selection of dead red gums full of potential. There is also a large number of Eurasian Coots feeding near the birdhide.
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