Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

December 10, 2010

Melbourne Nature

Filed under: Wildlife — Tags: — admin @ 3:54 am

Merri Creek Trail

I took out the old Canon S5IS point and shoot camera today to try it out. I wanted to see if it could take some reasonable photos of birds and animals. Here is a photo of a Magpie-lark that was hanging out near the creek. I cropped this one about 20 percent or so. It came out reasonably well. Mainly I think because the bird was close enough for a decent shot.

Magpie-lark
Magpie-lark

Merri Creek was flooding somewhat and I did not see any ducks floating about in the water. The recent rain has really swollen the creeks and rivers in eastern Australia.

Merri Creek
Merri Creek

There were 3 Blue-tongue Lizards that I saw on my walk. They were on the path trying to get some sun to warm up after all the overcast and rainy weather. They were not moving too fast.

Blue-tongue Lizard
Blue-tongue Lizard

Quite a few butterflies were out and about as well. But I am pretty sure that this one might be some kind of moth. He looks all furry to me. And he looks somewhat like a Monarch Butterfly, almost. Edit: It is a Yellow Banded Dart. Thanks to Dennis for the identification. 🙂

Butterfly or Moth?
Yellow Banded Dart (Ocybadistes walkeri )

There were also lots of these white butterflies flittering around. They did not stop still very long and it was hard to get a shot of them before they flew off again.

White Butterfly
White Butterfly

Heaps of these shield bugs were on the paths and most of them were stuck together. I guess it is mating time. They might need a bucket of water thrown over them!

Shield Bugs
shield bugs ?

I saw quite a lot of Indian Mynahs, Blackbirds, Magpie-larks and Rainbow Lorikeets.

February 21, 2010

Merri Creek Birdwatching

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 1:05 am

Merri Trail

21st February 2010.

The Merri Trail is in the Suburb of Northcote in Melbourne. To get to it, go down High Street and turn into Westgarth Street, and then into Ross Street and follow it to the bottom. And there you will be. Merri Creek seems to be a creek that feeds the storm water drains into the Yarra River. Its quite amazing really that there is such a piece of bush in the middle of a huge city like Melbourne. There is a lot of bush regeneration going on and Melbourne Water is doing a great job in this regarding sponsoring the land care initiatives.

The Merri Trail
The bush and the city co-existing side by side

On the walk to the trail, I saw quite a few birds flitting around in the streets. There were Little Wattlebird, Common Myna, Spotted Turtle-dove, Rock Dove and Common Blackbird. In fact, there seemed to be more bird life in the streets than along the trail in the bush. In the creek itself, I saw only some Pacific Black Ducks and a Dusky Moorhen. There were a number of parrots and lorikeet type birds. I saw Rainbow Lorikeets, Eastern Rosella, Australian King-parrots and, surprisingly, a mob of Red-rumped Parrots. I did not expect to see them here. On the way back I spotted a Crested Pigeon, a Magpie being harassed by some weasly poodles, a few Common Starling and this House Sparrow hanging around a tree near a block of flats. Maybe he should be called a Block of Flats Sparrow 😉

House Sparrow
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Merri Trail bird list 21/2/10

Little Wattlebird
Common Myna
Spotted Turtle-dove
Crested Pigeon
Rock Dove
Common Blackbird
Common Starling
Silver Gull
Australian Raven
Pacific Black Duck
Dusky Moorhen
Magpie-lark
Australian Magpie
Superb Fairy-wren
Eastern Rosella
Rainbow Lorikeet
Australian King-parrot
Red-rumped Parrot
House Sparrow

February 19, 2010

Melbourne Botanic Gardens

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 4:54 am

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

19th February, 2010.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne are quite near to the centre of the city. I got there by taking a train to Flinders Street, then catching a tram Numbers 3, 5, 8, 16, 64 or 67 up St Kilda Road and stopping at Domain Interchange(Stop 20). Then I walked up the hill to the Shrine of Remembrance, crossed the road towards the Observatory and walked through the gate. It is about two kilometres from the centre of Melbourne. The flamboyant and colourful cultivars and hybrids of the Perennial Collection are a highlight of February, so they say.

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

First off, I saw a few Sulphur-crested Cockatoos flying past with their usual raucous cacophony. There were lots of Common Myna, Rainbow Lorikeets and Little Wattlebirds. I saw this black bird near the herbarium, so I tracked him down and eventually got some photos of him. It was a Common Blackbird – but not so common for me, as I have only seen them a couple of times – at Mudgee, and here.

Common Blackbird
Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Around the ponds and lakes there were a number of water birds, mainly Purple Swamphen, Little Pied Cormorant, Pacific Black Duck, Darter, Silver Gull, Black Swan and these Dusky Moorhen chicks, who came really close to me. So close in fact that I could not focus my camera. They were well within my focal range, less than a meter away from me.

Dusky Moorhen chick
Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa)

I managed to spot a few other bush birds. Some White-browed Scrubwren were fossicking around amongst the bushes, the Brown Thornbills managed to evade a sharp photograph and a Willy Wagtail made an appearance over the other side of the lake. Its not a days birding without seeing a Willy Wagtail!

The Royal Botanic Gardens are a great place for international birders who only have a very limited amount of time in Melbourne. They can zap out to the gardens and see quite a few different types of common Australian birds, and maybe even get a few ticks if they only have a couple of spare hours between conferences or commitments whilst doing business.

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne bird list 19/2/10

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Common Myna
Magpie-lark
Rainbow Lorikeet
Little Wattlebird
Common Blackbird
White-browed Scrubwren
Purple Swamphen
Dusky Moorhen
Little Pied Cormorant
Black Swan
Silver Gull
Eurasian Coot
Darter
Pacific Black Duck
Brown Thornbill
Australian Raven
Willy Wagtail
Spotted Turtle-dove
Rock Dove
Australian Magpie

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