Just a couple of shots of the regulars 🙂 [Read more…] about Backyard Birding: Start Of Spring
Earlier this week, Glenn and and I made the trip to our reliable birding haunt. I had gone to Balyang a couple of times over the winter but there was very little to report.
Originally he was going to go by himself until I said “I’ll go too! It’s spring. Lots of mating and fighting going on!”
I love it when the seasons change. The bird behavior changes. Everyone is so territorial. It’s really fun to watch.
Glenn was enjoying photographing the swamphens. We both love capturing their their long toes.
But alas! Drama is afoot!
The dusky moorhens decided to get into a fight. While one was mounting another one.
It was funny. There was another moorhen, and an eurasian coot just looking on.
I was reading about their behaviour today. Apparently,
“During breeding season, the Dusky Moorhen forms breeding groups of two to seven birds, with all members defending territory, building nests and looking after young. The shallow platform nests are made of reeds and other water plants over water, among reeds or on floating platforms in open water. Two or more females will lay their eggs in the same nest and all members of the group help to incubate the eggs and feed the young”
The water levels had definitely risen. Glenn got some really fantastic shots.
He has an obsession with trying to get photos of them while their mouth is open.
I love this one. I noticed they were walking through the water instead of swimming.
I noticed these two behaving coyly when I turned around. “Glenn! They’re fucking!”
I don’t know why I found it so fascinating. It was the females behaviour that intrigued me. She was submissive, wings out and head bowed before he got there.
I don’t know if any babies were made because it was a brief and torrid affair.
These were just some of the photos we captured. It was a fantastic day for bird photography. Glenn has really developed an instinct for knowing when a bird is about to do something interesting.
On Wednesday, I went to Serendip with my dad and nephew. I was hanging out with family while my mum was getting over an illness and dad decided to give mum a break for a couple of hours.
It was raining on and off, so we first drove around the you yangs for a short while. We tried to find the tawny frogmouth near the information centre with no luck. I later read that this can be rather difficult.
We also went to big rock. I loved the bush there, I hadn’t been there in ages. I’d love to return there to bird!
We got to Serendip just as a group of school kids arrived, which is always fun.
We saw this Eastern Rosella. I did hear another interesting bird but of course, Sethy wouldn’t be quiet while I tried to find where it was.
One of my main priorities was seeing any baby goslings.
I saw these two cape barron geese. I love baby birds. I later saw magpie goslings.
I got this cute photo of a kangaroo sticking its tongue out.
I met a lady who had the same camera as me but wanted to check out the quality of my sigma lens. Accidentally caught the wren with it’s mouth open! Feeling kind of smug, considering Glenn has been struggling to capture one.
While in an open aviary, we saw this rail and it’s chick. Sethy saw the chick first. Wish we’d gotten more photos!
An older gosling.
This bird was apparently sitting on an egg. I’ll have to visit to see the baby when it’s hatched.
Planning to visit again with Glenn this time. We didn’t get to check out any of the decent areas as it started raining again. Also: what is the best time to see brolga courtship displays?
I went to Limeburners Lagoon, near Corio, with my dad and nephew earlier today. It was an adventure to get a certain 6 year old out of the house.
I didn’t bring my camera when I came to visit mum for a couple of nights. I really regretted it when we got to the bay and I couldn’t see any of the birds. We did see a lot of swans, spoonbills and the occasional white faced heron.
As we got to the boardwalk, we saw white fronted chats and dotterels. It was awesome to see as I don’t get to visit these type of environments often.
The highlight was seeing a pied oystercatcher. I was so excited to see them. It was a ‘lifer’ for me, if I’d seen one before I wouldn’t have been able to tell what it was. Dad isn’t a birder, but he got a kick out of seeing me get so excited.
This is just a quick update but I feel so happy. I’m making progress and they were so beautiful. I love waders.
I wasn’t planning to go back to Balyang for a bit. I was hoping to get to Serendip, to see any baby birds and whether or not the brolgas are dancing. Turns out it takes just two words to change my mind.
I belong to an online group that focuses on identifying Aussie birds. It’s been incredibly useful. There is a decent amount of Geelong people on there, including a number who live around my suburb. Someone had posted pictures of baby herons and also said there were four hard headed ducks.
“That’d be right.” Glenn said when I told him. Although he may sworn a bit. Part of me felt like saying “That’s what happens when you photograph the easy birds and don’t go exploring.
So, today I walked down there. I was having a bad anxious day so I didn’t shower and wore Glenns hat.
I couldn’t. Find. Anything! No sign of the hard-headed ducks. No sign of the herons. I was getting rather annoyed at myself. I tried to get photos of any ducks that were further away to see if I’d notice the ducks when I looked on the screen.
They *were* hiding at the back. I’m starting to think I may have to get a pair of binoculars, instead of relying on the camera lens. It’s not stable when I’m holding it sometimes and I can’t properly see.
Apparently they aren’t that common at Balyang. That’s fascinating, as they were one of the first ducks I was able to properly ID. I haven’t seen the pink eared duck in some time though, which is interesting.
I had walked around the back of Balyang and bumped into a couple, both of whom had binoculars. I’ve become more outgoing lately so flat out asked them if they were birders. They were! I asked if they had seen any herons… then they asked if I was Jade from the bird identification group.
We spoke briefly and they pointed out where the hard headed ducks were. They were telling me about a man, who visited there weekly and kept a lot of records. Apparently there have been bowerbirds! there and you can see a lot of changes if you visit there often enough. They also echoed what others had said, about walking along the river on the Highton side. They have seen a crested shrike tit along there!
The ducks had moved closer to the first bridge. A family was feeding the birds. I guess if you want to double check if a species is there, you should bring out the bread. There was two there that I saw, male and female. My friend had noted that there was 4 there when he visited.
I’m guessing that this cutie is the grebe I saw here back in autumn. I’m never confident telling hoary headed and Australian ones apart, but I’m guessing this is the hoary headed. I love watching how their plumage changes.
Found this red browed finch at the back. Have seen them many times before but it’s always worth practicing on little birds.
I could only see one wood duck.
- There was two cormorants on the tree, whereas on Monday there was one. There was another one on a nesting box near the road
- There was two pelicans, compared to none last time I was here. I wonder where they go?
- We occasionally get grey currawongs around here. (or was it butcher birds?) Apparently the best way to tell them apart is via the call. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never stop learning about birds. So much to learn!
- Dipped on the herons. Will send Glenn down when I’m at mums.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the purpose of this blog and whether it actually helps people. I’m a professional blogger, so of course I get trapped in the world of metrics and amount of followers. Some birding blogs can have a dedicated following but those people are able to visit multiple birding areas.
This blog has primarily focused on the areas close to my house, specifically Balyang. I was joking last night to Glenn about how I’d be lucky to have five readers. This blog will never lead anywhere and will only be relevant to a very small group of people.
But you know what?
That’s fine. I have a visual document showing how Balyang changes during various seasons. I’ve posted observations, snippets of conversations and photos. I’ve asked questions. Anyone interested in studying the area may be able to learn. What I write may influence decisions about animal conservation. Probably not now, but it will have an impact on someone.
I struggle to leave the house. But I know how to leverage the internet. Blog posts will also have more power and influence then notebooks and lists on online databases. This may just be my personal project, but it’s a project that allows me to share what I love.
Oh, and I finally managed to get a photo of straw necked ibises. Apparently they are borderline pests in some areas and circle because of something to do with thermal currents? This post was recommended: Boom time for migratory birds in Australia