Thursday, December 20, 2012

Melbourne Zoo Twilights

I like the poster for the Melbourne Zoo Twilights featuring an Orange Bellied Parrot. The artist line up is also pretty good. It's not often that I can combine two of my passions - wildlife and Aussie music, so I intend to take advantage of these twilight series of concerts.

The artists include Missy Higgins, Clare Bowditch, Kate Miller-Heidke, Leo Sayer and Tim Rogers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

South Gippsland Tour

South Gippsland is a beautiful part of Victoria, especially on a sunny day. And yes, we had blue skies, a rare occurrence of late. Starting at Kilcunda, the Bunurong coast takes you past Wonthaggi, Cape Patterson, and Inverloch. There are many good birding spots along the way including the Wonthaggi wetlands but I wasn't birding today. From there I travelled to the Cape Liptrap Coastal Park going via Tarwin Lower, a delightful little spot on the Tarwin River.

Cape Liptrap views

Cape Liptrap Lighthouse

Easterly view from Cape Liptrap, Wilson's Prom in the background

While walking on the path towards the lighthouse at Cape Liptrap, I spotted two whales breaching about 400m off shore. This is the first time I have ever seen a whale, and my camera was in the car! I rushed back to get the big lens but by the time I returned the whales had disappeared.

After Cape Liptrap it was off to Walkerville South to see the historic Lime Kilns and a spot of lunch on the pristine beaches where cars often drive along the shoreline.

Walkerville lone pole

Lime Kilns at Walkerville South

My final destination was Sandy Inlet and Waratah Bay for my best chance at a bit of birding. With the tide low, the only access was to drive along the beach, and it is a vast beach at low tide. Many people were fishing in their boats, sailboarding, kite surfing, walking their dogs, or just lazing in the sun. If this was in Queensland, I am sure there would be thousands of people occupying this wonderful location.

On the exposed mudflats, I counted as many as 25 Eastern Curlews,10 Royal Spoonbills, and many Black Swans.

Sandy Inlet


Eastern Yellow Robin

Gang Gang Cockatoo

Spoonbills and Curlews at Sandy Inlet
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Edithvale Wetlands

Sandpipers and Dotterels were the highlight of a brief visit to Edithvale wetlands. The hide is still closed and the viewing platform has been removed so I observed a small area by peering through the cyclone fence and reeds. Photography wasn't easy but I tried to make the most of it. Apart from the below pictures, I observed a Black-tailed Native Hen and a Spotted Crake.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Tern Tern, Tern

Not the song by The Byrds, but birds themselves. I spent most of the afternoon at Stockyard Point waiting for the tide to bring the birds to me. Many shorebirds flew in including godwits, sandpipers, avocets and stints. Five different species of Tern came and went over the 3 hour period including one that I cannot identify as yet.

Gull-billed Tern

Immature Gull-billed Tern

Whiskered Tern

Gull-billed Terns and unidentified on right

Caspian Tern

Crested Tern
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stockyard Point, Westernport Bay

Red Necked Avocets and Gull Billed Terns

Pied Oystercatcher

Bar Tailed Godwit

Red Necked Avocets

Bar Tailed Godwit

Red Necked Avocets
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Stockyard Point, accessed via Jam Jerrup on the eastern shore of Westernport Bay, is a high tide roost for various waders. I missed the tide and was lucky to get a few photos of some of the migratory shorebirds that were still present. Not photographed were egrets, herons, swans, shelducks, red capped plovers, white ibis, seagulls, pacific gulls, and pelicans.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Whistling Kites at Tenby Point


Situated on the eastern shore of Westernport Bay, Tenby Point is a location unlike any other in Westernport. Instead of mud flats  it has a rocky shoreline interspersed with golden sand.

The resident Whistling Kites are nesting once more in the same tree as they have for many years. Choosing a nearby site under a tree, I waited for them to scout out over the bay and return in my direction. They did not disappoint.
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King Parrots come in for a visit

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It's not every day that I get a visit from King Parrots, and this was a very personal visit. I awoke to the sounds of a King Parrot outside and I was able to grab a few photos of the male (top), but I could hear sounds coming from inside the house.

There was a strange sound coming from my fireplace but nothing was visible. Not so long ago a possum had become trapped in the flue and I released it by dismantling the front of the heater and leaving all the doors open. The sound was definitely not a possum and sounded a lot like the King Parrot that was out the front. So I dismantled the fireplace once again and left the house for the day. When I got home, the kitchen was in a mess and this female King Parrot was perched upon a bottle of Johnny Walker gold label reserve (classy bird). Apologies for the quality of the photo.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Intermediate Egret at Coolart

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A pleasant surprise to see an Intermediate Egret at Coolart wetlands on the weekend. It allowed reasonably close approaches but not at an angle away from the sun. Other local birds must have been a little jealous of the attention given to the egret and they all tried their best to provide a photo opportunity. 

A white faced heron, purple swamphen chick, and a white necked heron all posed for me.