Sunday, 20 April 2014

Pigeon Pair

My last stop for the afternoon (see previous post for Kororoit Creek and Altona Beach) was at Spectacle Lake bird hide at Pt Cook Coastal Reserve. The lake has been dry for a long time so the bird hide does not offer much in the way of viewing but the track to it winds its way through a eucalypt woodland that usually has a number of birds. There was not a lot of activity but this pair of Crested Pigeons caught my eye.

Crested Pigeon, Pt Cook Coastal Reserve


I took the scenic route via Kororoit Creek and Altona Beach on the way home from Melbourne this afternoon. I parked just next to the ford on Racecourse Road (see map) and walked along the south bank of Kororoit Creek.

There were several species of duck feeding near the ford but this Grey Teal was the most cooperative.

Grey Teal, Kororoit Creek, Altona

A heavy overcast sky made the light quite dull and what sun was shining through the clouds backlit the bird so I tried fill flash. I only got one shot off before the bird swam past and all I could see was its rear end swimming downstream. I'm reasonably happy with this one as it shows off the plumage, white neck band and gives a catch light in the eye without looking too unnatural.

Grey Teal, Kororoit Creek, Altona

A Little Pied Cormorant was roosting close-by,

Little Pied Cormorant, Kororoit Creek, Altona

while an Eastern Great Egret was fishing on the other side of the creek

Eastern Great Egret, Kororoit Creek, Altona

There was no way of getting closer to the egret without getting wet and scaring off most of the birds so I found a suitable location and waited for the bird to get closer to me. Sometimes this is a dismal failure but on this occasion, the egret fell in with my plan and walked diagonally across the creek in front of me

Eastern Great Egret, Kororoit Creek, Altona

stopping on a rock for a quick shake and ruffle of the feathers

Eastern Great Egret, Kororoit Creek, Altona

before resuming its fishing expedition

Eastern Great Egret, Kororoit Creek, Altona

eventually succeeding!

Eastern Great Egret, Kororoit Creek, Altona

Several Royal Spoonbill and Australian White Ibis were roosting on the rocks a little further downstream.

Australian White Ibis, Kororoit Creek, Altona

Royal Spoonbill + Australian White Ibis
Kororoit Creek, Altona

The dull light meant I was shooting at a relatively slow shutter speed so when the spoonbill took off, all I could capture was this rather ethereal flight shot.

Royal Spoonbill, Kororoit Creek, Altona

Having exhausted the birdlife on this part of the creek, I headed back to the car and drove along the Esplanade towards Altona Beach. I spotted a small group of black birds foraging among some offshore rocks that were exposed by the low tide, so I stopped for a closer look. They turned out to be...not your typical shore bird...

Little Raven, Altona Beach

A pair of Chestnut Teals was swimming around nearby

Chestnut Teal (female on left, male on right), Altona Beach

and the female posed briefly for a portrait, allowing a comparison with the Grey Teal (with characteristic white throat) taken earlier at Kororoit Creek

Chestnut Teal (female), Altona Beach
Grey Teal, Kororoit Creek, Altona

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Fishing at Pt Henry

I had an hour to spare in Geelong this morning so dropped by Pt Henry. The tide was falling and several birds were making the most of it by fishing in the shallows.

This solo Eastern Great Egret was backlit by the sunlight reflecting off Corio Bay. 

Eastern Great Egret, Pt Wilson

A nice enough scenic shot with the You Yangs in the background but it was too far away to get any decent close-ups. Fortunately, it cooperated nicely by flying toward me and landing about 40 metres away, directly offshore from where I was standing, where it proceeded to hunt for fish

Eastern Great Egret, Pt Wilson

and was soon successful.

Four Australian Pelicans flew overhead and spooked the egret but they landed close by and spent about 20 minutes fishing,

Australian Pelican, Pt Wilson

ably assisted by a few Silver Gulls.

Australian Pelican, Pt Wilson

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