Posts Tagged ‘Victoria

19
Jan
19

Sharp as ever

I mentioned in my last post of 2018 one of the best places I visited in Victoria was a water treatment plant. In fact it was at Werribee. There were literally thousands of Sharp tailed Sandpipers. I remember travelling from Norfolk to Wales to see my first. Seeing them in such numbers and so close was a true revelation.

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14
Jan
19

Golden

Thinking back many years there was a book entitled ‘Masquerade’ written by Kit Williams. It was beautifully illustrated and entertained me for hours. It centred upon the quest to locate a hare made of gold buried somewhere in the British countryside. the illustrations contained clues as to its whereabouts.

In Australia at the back end of last year I didn’t find a golden hare … but I did find a golden rabbit. I’ve never seen this colour form before and it was such a delight to see. In all we saw two of these golden beauties at quite widely separated locations so I’m guessing it must be a relatively common colour form in Victoria.

26
Dec
18

Cuddly or what?

A night north of Melbourne in Bendigo paid dividends.

Sitting on a park bench backed by a rising moon and ever brighter street lanterns we watched Grey headed Flying Foxes leave their roost. Beating the air with their broad wide wings they moved out from their daytime trees and out into the farmland and forests to feed. A young girl cycling passed, smiled and wished us a Merry Christmas. It brought it home to me how odd it seemed to be sitting outside on a balmy night in December.

Tania spotted the first Possum as it ran across the lawns and scuttled up a tree. More came down from the tall eucalypts soon after. A Brush tailed Possum will sell it’s grandmother for a piece of apple. Several were tempted close. Endearing animals these small marsupials.

 

23
Dec
18

A superb bird

My continuing intense stare towards the undergrowth was broken by a whisper. Tania signalled she’d got one. There was an even bigger smile on her face than normal.

In January we had wandered around the Danenong Ranges for hours searching for Lyrebirds, without success. It looked as though we were going to have a repeat performance this time around.

We had walked the trail where statistics stated there was the highest concentration of Lyrebirds in Victoria. After six hours of concentrating on the dense low scrub underneath a bewildering variety of ferns and eucalypts we had seen nothing and heard just one bird calling briefly some 100m within thick impenetrable bush.

We were on the point of giving up but decided to return to where we had heard the bird earlier to see if it had come nearer the trail. After an hour nothing was showing so we turned around and headed for home. As we did so we disturbed a Swamp Wallaby. It broke the silence as it jettisoned its way down the mountain flaying the ferns and cracking branches as it did so. Almost immediately a Lyrebird called nearby. Straight away Tania saw it and beckoned me up the trail to where she was standing.

Through a window of vegetation in the gloom of the forest floor I could see a series of curled feathers; beneath them was a Superb Lyrebird. About the size of a pheasant it was a disappointing dark brown colour. However, it was the fine lattice of plumes the bird carried aloft that shook and waved as it moved that made this bird so beguiling.

I attempted to get a photo but it sank back into the trees. Moving slowly down the hill I managed to get closer and fired off a few record shots before it eventually moved away. Despite the unwelcome attention of leeches the walk away from the trail attracted, it could easily be said we had indeed experienced a ‘superb’ moment. I hope Christmas for you and yours will also be superb. Merry Christmas.

19
Dec
18

Monotreme extraordinaire

There are two types of egg laying mammals in the world; Platypuses and Echidnas. There are four species of Echidna but it is the Short beaked Echidna that lives over much of Australia. It is without doubt an extraordinary animal. It has a pouch but is not a marsupial. It feeds its young on milk but has no nipples and of course it lays eggs and is covered in course hair and spines.

We saw this one along with several others on Raymond Island in Gippsland during our trip there in November.

I envisaged them being nocturnal for some reason but they in fact only became active when the sun warmed the ground and their prey became active. Although they were very approachable they were as difficult as hell to photograph; their snouts were invariably under the ground licking up ants and termites. Their small eyes were nearly always hidden. However this individual put his head in the air to catch a scent and his eye caught the sun for a moment enabling me to get his best side.

15
Dec
18

Extraordinary Birds

Woodswallows are just what you would expect in appearance; ‘chunky ‘ swallows. We saw this Dusky Woodswallow and another bird presumably its mate swinging down on a couple of Ravens close to Cranbourne in Victoria a few weeks ago.

03
Dec
18

Bandicoot

In Oz during January I managed to get a glimpse of one of the rarer terrestrial mammals; but it was only a glimpse. Once prolific over the whole of Australia ‘Southern Brown Bandicoots’ have had a bit of a short straw of late. Introduction of foxes and loss of habitat have decimated populations. However, Victoria still has some good pockets of these cute long nosed marsupials. This month I wanted a better look. We waited and searched a likely area and given they are hard to find, so wick when you do find them and for half the time have their snouts buried in the leaf litter I was lucky to get any sort of shot.




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