It was too dull to chase birds with the camera late this afternoon … for a change my focus turned to other matters.
Bush patterns after rain, Spring Hill Track area, 24th may 2019
Nice spot for an Owlet Nightjar?
Firewood harvesting …the legacy a decade on
Cherry Ballart … seen better days!
Nodding Greenhood leaves
Saloop Saltbush and ant nest
The end of my stroll coincided with the sudden arrival of a mixed species feeding flock – Flame Robins, Grey Shrike-thrush, Golden Whistler, Speckled Warblers, Striated and Buff-rumped Thornbills … not a bad finish!
This set of images documents an amazing event that I was witness to last weekend.
Visiting a small dam along Golf Links Track I noticed two Little Pied Cormorants perched near the water. As I slowly positioned myself to photograph one of the birds it flew off and began circling the dam, steadily increasing its height with each pass. Suddenly from high above a Little Eagle appeared in a stooped dive to snatch the unwary cormorant [The first, sadly blurry image, was taken moments after the strike].
The Little Eagle tumbled earthward with the cormorant in its talons and landed just out of sight below the dam wall. As I moved quietly in the direction of the birds the eagle spotted me and took off, no doubt reluctantly relinquishing its prey. The cormorant made its way slowly to the top of the dam wall, clearly bloodied and traumatised by the encounter. After a few minutes it summoned the energy to flap back to its original perch as the Little Eagle circled high overhead.
I was so engaged in the event that I didn’t think about my role in the event until later. Clearly my arrival created the opportunity for the eagle, while my interest in the result provided an opportunity for the cormorant to escape … its immediate fate unknown.
Little Eagle and Little Pied Cormorant, Golf Links Track, 28th April 2019
The Little Eagle … sans cormorant
The Little Pied Cormorant – traces of blood are visible on the breast and feet
I’ve been visiting a small dam on Golf Links Track in recent weeks – one of the few retaining water in this extended dry spell.
Over perhaps half a dozen visits not a single waterbird has been present, until today, when two Little Pied Cormorants were perched beside the water as a single Australasian Grebe paddled nearby.
Grebes are fascinating birds. They are rarely observed on land – their back legs are positioned towards their tail – perfect for diving and paddling but not great for much else. Australasian Grebes are reluctant fliers but are capable nonetheless – which explains their sudden appearance on local bush dams where they will arrive, as if from nowhere, at any time of year. I had a marvellous hour with this wonderful bird this afternoon as it went through a full ‘grebe routine’.
Australasian Grebe, Golf Links Track (Muckleford State Forest), 27th April 2019
This Brown Thornbill, foraging in the Cassinia and Golden Wattle along Golf Links Track, was behaving as most thornbills do … until it paused momentarily to fan its tail wide open. The distinctive tail-barring and rump colour of the species is evident. Meanwhile a female Golden Whistler, also feeding nearby, showed off its beautiful brick-red iris and pale-yellow vent as it raised its ‘reverse Trump’ head piece.
Brown Thornbill, Golf Links Track, 22nd April 2019
Female Golden Whistler
Red-capped Robins have been turning up in a number of places over the past few weeks. At present it seems they are almost as abundant as Scarlet Robins.
This female provided some nice opportunities for late afternoon portraits as it foraged in a paddock along Golf Links Track in the Muckleford bush.
Red-capped Robin (female), Golf Links Track, 20th April 2019
Crimson Rosellas are extraordinarily beautiful birds … the immatures, with their combination of crimson, blue and olive-green lose nothing when compared with the more familiar adults.
Immature Crimson Rosella, Golf Links Track, 20th April 2019
Here are six of our most common and ubiquitous local honeyeaters.
The White-eared Honeyeater and Yellow-faced Honeyeater tend to be more common over autumn and winter, especially the former which spreads out into drier woodlands over the cooler months. The remaining four species are apparently resident although their numbers can fluctuate considerably with changes in resource availability. All six species were photographed yesterday afternoon coming into water along Golf Links Track.
Brown-headed Honeyeater, Golf Links Track, 20th April 2019