I went to my great grandmothers funeral in Mansfield a month ago. It was a long drive from Geelong and I had a bad cold, so I kept an eye for interesting stuff along the side of the road. I saw a number of wetlands and a rail trail. I made a mental note to research and visit those places later – although I didn’t think I’d be able to until 2016!
One of those places was the Yea Wetlands. Or, depending on who is sharing the car with you, ‘YAY!’ I’d never properly birded in that area and had no idea what to expect. It ended up being one of the highlights of the day.
We saw this tawny frogmouth sunning itself on a log across the river. It was so close. We were on a suspension bridge so all of us turned around and started snapping photos of it. They are some of the clearest I’ve ever gotten and that includes the photos of birds I’ve taken in free slight aviaries. I loved being able to capture the detail on it’s feathers. It wasn’t there on our return.
Another highlight was seeing a sacred kingfisher with a lizard in its mouth! I’ve been wanting to see something like this for some time. This is only the second time I’ve seen a sacred kingfisher and any kookaburras I’ve seen have been well camouflaged
The detail of the lizard is poor quality. I spoke to a couple of people about lenses during the weekend and they confirmed what I’ve suspected: there must be something wrong with the lens. Even when they put it on the right manual settings the photos turned out crap. Glenn and I are thinking about upgrading the lens anyway. I mostly want photos to ID whereas Glenn wants the great shot.
I was very excited to see the bell miners! The second photo shows a number of juveniles under a nest. This means that I don’t have to go to the botanical gardens in Melbourne to track down these guys and the Eastern Spinebill. (I loathe leaving the house – and especially going to Melbourne – so am grateful for any excuse to avoid an area :P) Their call and colouring was different to what I expected.
I think this is the White-throated Gerygone. It’s probably the rufous whistler; I know I saw and got a photo of the gerygone but am feeling too overwhelmed at the moment to double check. The gerygone looked way different to what I thought it would be, a lot smaller. It was rather difficult to photograph.
(I’m certain it isn’t the gerygone but I’m going to pretend it is – I’m tired!)
Like the flycather, it was smaller then expected. I expected it to be mostly one colour with a white throat. It mates for life. Can resemble the fairy gerygone and younger ones can look like a weebill. I’m not sure these are something that interest me that much yet, I normally stick to the groups of birds I’m passionate about. Still, always fun seeing a new bird.
Brush tailed possum tail sticking out from a hollow. I know a 6 year old that loves possums and knew he’d dig this.
The above photo is a leadens flycather. Someone questioned the ID on Facebook later that night but apparently the undertail is diagnostic?
It moved so quick that I struggled to see it, let alone get a photo. I was really surprised when I got home to see that I got a clearish shot! It is so much smaller then I expected. I thought it would be willy wagtail sized. Someone else said they had originally thought the same thing. This makes me feel less stupid 🙂 I’ve been wanting to see a flycatcher for sometime although, as usual, I know nothing about them.
It’s apparently misidentified a lot. Graeme Chapman has info on telling them apart. It prefers drier habitats then the satin. Would these wetlands qualify as dry?
Was a very big day and I still feel like I’m recovering from it. I loved being with others that had a similar passion not just for birds but for all things nature. People would stop to get photos of bugs and skinks and fungi. My primary interest is birds but I am fascinated by other animals – I just don’t have the energy to pursue that passion. People would talk at length about camera settings. I felt like I was amongst kindred spirits – something I haven’t felt in a long, long time.
I was getting exhausted by the end and did rest a bit. I was paranoid that I was being rude during times when I wasn’t overly social. I mostly felt relaxed which is a lovely break from my normal feelings of anxiety. It confirms that I need to find a balance between career and my love of nature.
I need to explore everywhere and learn as much as I can. Australia is so fascinating. And the birders I met yesterday were so generous with their knowledge.
Now to sleep off the exhaustion 😛