Archive for the 'Australia' Category



06
Aug
19

Mom and baby

The idea was to take a few days down on the south coast of Victoria around Warrnambool. There’s some interesting birding down there and Southern Right Whale nursery. Yes, you heard that right … a whale nursery.

Each year Southern Right Whales move up from their feeding grounds in Antarctica to the calm waters of the south coast of Australia. the males move on but the females stay to give birth and may stop a few months while they raise their calf. One such favoured area is the bay off Warrnambool. The female along with her new calf will move back to Antarctica at the end of the Austral winter.

Whale watching quite rightly is banned from boats in this sensitive area so we had to view from land. It took a while but we eventually saw a female with her calf, albeit distantly. The calf can just be seen in the photo in front of its mother.

We had some good Humpback sightings a little further down the coast at Portland too – they were probably after whitebait and anchovies as were the Bluefin Tuna that were making the water almost boil with activity. Add to that two species of Albatross (Shy and Black Browed) plus a plethora of Australasian Gannet and you have a recipe for hours of endless sea watching.

02
Aug
19

Towny Eagle

Much building is taking place over farmland around the Western suburbs of Melbourne. On the edge of a building area I was intrigued by some distant large dark objects in the middle of a field as we drove out of town last week. They were nothing more than blobs really. However, staring at them from the moving vehicle I was sure one of them moved. I beckoned Tania to pull over. It was a busy road. A kilometer later we found a safe place to stop.

Viewing them through bins I decided to walk back along the road edge. I was still unsure what they were. It wasn’t until I got within 500m or so I could clearly see they were Wedge-tailed eagles; a pair, right on the edge of town. As I got closer they both moved to a nearby pylon so I took the opportunity to fire off a few shots.

29
Jul
19

No Picnic at Hanging Rock

Imagine a winter’s day on the Norfolk coast with a sticky drizzle and a treetop swaying wind. That’s what it was like at Hanging Rock here in Victoria.

Back in Australia again for a while.

I know of one couple who moved to Victoria from the UK. They moved again within a year to Queensland; they thought the weather in Victoria far too much like Britain. I guess that story struck a chord when Tania and I visited Hanging Rock a week or so ago. We sat in the cafe for a while but it was warmer outside in the rain. I was bloody cold. It was no picnic that’s for sure. Maybe I shouldn’t have packed so many pairs of shorts!!

Hanging Rock has become very popular since Joan Lindsey wrote her book. It has now been greatly ‘touristified’ with parking for many hundreds and tarmac tracks to the rock itself; although it’s still possible to find a few wild places. Eastern Grey Kangaroos were easy to find and the big Eucalypts had Australian Wood Ducks perched up on the big ‘Widow-making’ branches. The whole rock and surrounding area was inhabited by numerous flocks of White Browed Scrubwrens. Such a variable bird this; several races cover the southern edge of the continent – each with its own slight variation.

The ones here were of the race ‘frontalis

 

13
Jul
19

Wildcatch Photography

Just a reminder that my photos are published on the ‘Wildcatch Photography’ site. The the ones from this year can be seen within the latest section at https://wildcatchphotography.zenfolio.com/p34814967

 

24
Apr
19

Ghost amid the trees

30 years ago walking over the marshes it was easy to get excited by something white amid the heat haze in the distance. Little Egrets were rare then and Great White Egrets were even rarer. More often than not after a trudge through calf ripping sweda it was a white plastic bag flapping in the wind. So every time I see something white now it’s instinctive to have a really good look at it just to eliminate anything inanimate first!

Walking down the Werribee river last month we saw in the distance something white among the branches of a tree on the opposite side of the river. As I lifted my bins to look at it I was half expecting it to be a plastic bag or at best a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. I was surprised to see it was a raptor. It had yellow legs and a yellow cere so I knew it wasn’t a full albino; maybe it was a bird lacking some pigmentation. It had the look of an accipiter hawk about it. However it was Tania that put a name to it. Pale phase Grey Goshawk. What a superb looking animal.

20
Apr
19

Blue Velvet

Looking for an entrance into a reserve in the Blue Mountains I pulled us into a dead end street. I parked up and we consulted the oracle … Google maps. As we mused over which way to go next a bird flew low over the road in front of us; we disagreed as to its identification. It had settled inside a low thick pine. We waited. When it eventually made a reveal it has spontaneously multiplied into three birds. When we finally got a good look we decided they were female/immature Satin Bowerbirds.

We’ve all seen wildlife documentaries showing Bowerbirds collecting blue objects. Satin Bowerbirds are no exception. Blue items to match their saphire blue eyes.

 

16
Apr
19

Looking Here Looking There

Last month Tania and I went to the Blue Mountains for a long weekend. We wanted to see King Parrots and Rock Warblers. Rock Warbler is the only New South Wales Endemic. It is the only bird to occur nowhere else but in the state of NSW.

The weather wasn’t the best but the landscapes are to die for. Lots of deep wooded valleys and precipitous rock escarpments in some big wild horizons.

For Rock Warbler we traversed several deep and steep trails into and out of thick rain forest to see the little red breasted devil; with no joy. We walked miles. It was only on our penultimate day than we found two hanging around the area where we’d parked the bloody car! … and just to rub it in they were all over us like a cheap suit. Typical.

King Parrot proved much more elusive however and we were eventually beaten by the weather with some persistent rain. Still … something to go back for!




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