Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lewin's Rail at Coolart

It was a wet and dark day broken only but thunderstorms and lightning. I decided to take refuge in a small bird hide at Coolart Wetlands hoping to see some crakes and rails. It wasn't long before a Spotless Crake made a brief appearance only to disappear as quickly as it had arrived.

After an hour of nothing, a small bird emerged from the reeds staying long enough for one photo. At first I thought it was a crake but on closer inspection of the photo it became apparent that I had seen my first Lewin's Rail.
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reef Island and Tenby Point

You can see Phillip Island from Reef Island, and today I could hear the V8 Supercars which were racing some 20 km away. Not to be distracted by that noisy event, I had a pleasant walk around the nature conservation reserve followed by a short walk to Tenby Point.

It was evident almost immediately that the shorebirds were returning in great numbers as the tidal flats had thousands of feeding birds, but too far away to identify and too muddy to investigate.

On Reef Island there were about 100 Red-necked Stints, 24 Black Swans, 20 White Ibis, 4 Royal Spoonbills, 6 White-faced Herons, 20 Red-capped Plovers, 6 Ruddy Turnstones, 2 Pied Oystercatchers, 3 Pacific Gulls, 4 Crested Terns, 6 Fairy Terns (a first for me), 1 Caspian Tern, 4 Black Shouldered Kites, 2 White Fronted Chats, about 100 Straw Necked Ibis flying towards French Island, a single Great Egret, and an unidentified shorebird which was possibly a Red Knot or a moulting Pacific Golden Plover. 

Before heading off homewards, I ventured to Tenby Point to get some snaps of a pair of Whistling Kites which have been active on the nest lately.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Western Treatment Plant

It's a long way to Werribee from home for a day trip, but the reports from the Western Treatment Plant have been very good lately so it was time for a visit.

I had barely turned on my camera when I was greeted by 4 Black Shouldered Kites all looking well fed, and a Swamp Harrier also looking in good nic. A photographer had taken up postition in the exact spot where I wanted to try and get some photos of crakes or bitterns so I decided not to disturb him and leave the T-section and head over to the Western Lagoon.

A Brown Falcon was in its usual spot on the fence post, another Swamp Harrier cruised by, 2 Sea Eagle circled the sky, and a Gull-billed Tern flew by for a look (a first for me).

In an adjacent pond I spotted a Common Greenshank feeding on its own, and there were several Little and Great Egrets over on the Spit.

At the birdhide, I could see some Red-necked Stints and Curlew Sandpipers far offshore which flew off as the tide came in. There were lots of White-fronted Chats (everywhere), White-browed Scrubwrens, Silvereyes, and Fairywrens around the Hide. In a pond not far away an Australian Spotted Crake made a brief appearance before retreating for cover. A Brown Snake warmed itself on the banks of Lake Borrie and allowed me to get quite close before sliding away into the reeds.

Time to go before the traffic builds up and the Westgate becomes a traffic jam, but Paradise Rd on the way out always provides some good observations. More Little Egrets, Red-necked Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, and sone Short-tailed Sandpipers were present and as I departed the Western Treatment Plant a pair of Brown Falcons squawked to say goodbye.

A thoroughly enjoyable visit.

Gull-billed Tern

Little Egret

Curlew Sandpiper

Common Greenshank

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Point Nepean

A beautiful day on the Mornington Peninsula and day trip to Point Nepean provided me with a unique perspective view of an Australian Kestrel. I could see it hovering in the distance so I made a bee line to a cliff top in order to photograph the bird.

After a few shots from below, the kestrel dived below me on the ocean side giving me a perfect view from above. It's not everyday that you can view a bird of prey hovering below you.

There were quite a few dolphins enjoying the sunshine but no whales, and Australasian Gannets were everywhere.

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