Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

January 2, 2019

Wimmera and Mallee tourist photos

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Victoria to South Australia Tourist

First stop off for this blog post was Skipton, central Victoria, where I stopped off for a walk around the lake and a look at the op shops.

Skipton - Victoria
Skipton – Victoria

Then I kept heading west to Ararat, where I stayed at Green Hill Lake. Quite a nice little spot by the water with plenty of birds and shade for camping under. Horsham is quite a nice little town in the Wimmera district.

The Big Koala
The Big Koala

Just west of Horsham was this amazing big koala. I just had to stop and take a photo. It took my breath away.

Natimuk Christmas
Natimuk Christmas

Christmas day saw me on the road to Nhill through the Little Desert National Park. Header and hay. Before that I stopped at the Jane Duff Highway Park for a walk around the water-hole.

Nhill Lake
Nhill Lake

I spent a couple of days at Nhill and I spent most of it at Nhill Lake, enjoying the shade and the water skiing in the tiny little duck pond.

Little Desert National Park
Little Desert National Park

I guess they called it a desert because there was lots of sand. I went on a few walks in the park. I did not drive in because you need a four wheel drive.

Mallee Fowl Mound
Mallee Fowl Mound

On the Keith Hately Nature Walk you can see an old Mallee Fowl mound. I still have not seen a Mallee Fowl 🙁

Poocher Swamp
Poocher Swamp

And into South Australia. Near Bordertown, I went for a hopeful look at Poocher Swamp but it was dry.

Ngarkat Conservation Park
Ngarkat Conservation Park

Further North from Bordertown and into the Ngarkat Conservation Park. More mallee bush for miles and miles.

December 27, 2018

Little Desert Kiata Camp

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Kiata Campground and Sanctuary Picnic Area

After egg and bacon rolls for lunch, I took off for the Kiata Campground, which is further east in the Little Desert National Park. The sun was so hot I spent the afternoon snoozing on a mattress chucked on the ground in the shade of the car. Luckily now there are some clouds but it is still stinking hot.

Striated Pardalote
Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus)

In the morning after coffee and muesli, I did the campground walk. Not much around, just Brown-headed and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters and a few Galahs.

Weebill
Weebill (Smicornis brevirostris)

Then I moved on down the road to the Sanctuary Picnic Area and took the Keith Hately Nature Walk.

Grey Shrike-thrush - immature or juvenile.
Grey Shrike-thrush (Colluricincla harmonica )

This is a juvenile or immature Grey Shrike-thrush.

White-fronted Honeyeater
White-fronted Honeyeater (Purnella albifrons)

I still have not got a good photo of a White-fronted Honeyeater. Still waiting.

White-eared Honeyeater
White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis)

Yellow Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana)

Little Desert National Park bird list

Brown-headed Honeyeater
White-fronted Honeyeater (Purnella albifrons)
White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis)
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
White-plumed Honeyeater
Superb Fairy-wren
Galah
Brown Treecreeper
Weebill (Smicornis brevirostris)
Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus)
Grey Shrike-thrush (Colluricincla harmonica )
Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana)
Australian Magpie

December 26, 2018

Western Wimmera Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:27 am

Little Desert National Park – The Wimmera

From Natimuk, I drove through the Little Desert National Park to Nhill and spent the day there sorting out my photos and uploading my blog at Nhill Lake. All the locals were driving past and some were swimming in the tiny lake. Later some speedboats came and dudes skied around the lake. The lake had the usual suspects of birds – Long-billed Corellas, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Pacific Black Duck and the lonely Black-fronted Dotterel. I even got sunburnt because I stayed out in the lake talking to a local farmer about crops and grain etc.

Long-billed Corella
Long-billed Corella ( Cacatua tenuirostris)

That night I camped at Winiam at the cricket oval and before sunrise drove to the Stringybark Nature Walk at Little Desert National Park. By about 9am the birds had settled down and had gone away. The heat was getting a bit intense by then anyway.

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater (Glyciphila melanops)

Brown-headed Honeyeater
Brown-headed Honeyeater (Melithreptrus brevirostris)

White-eared Honeyeater
White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis)

Weebill
Weebill (Smicornis brevirostris)

Scarlet Robin
Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang)- male

White-browed Babbler
White-browed Babbler (Pomatostamus superciliosus)

Little Desert National Park bird list

Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)
Pacific Black Duck
Eurasian Coot
Dusky Moorhen
Black-fronted Dotterel
White-plumed Honeyeater
New Holland Honeyeater
White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis)
Brown-headed Honeyeater (Melithreptrus brevirostris)
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater (Glyciphila melanops)
Noisy Miner
Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus substriatus)
Weebill (Smicornis brevirostris)
Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang)
White-browed Babbler (Pomatostamus superciliosus)

December 25, 2018

Wimmera Birds One

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Western Wimmera – Victoria

I took off from Horsham after uploading my photos at the tourist information center, then headed west towards Natimuk. I found a nice camping spot at Duffholme Cabins and settled in for a couple of nights. In the morning I went for a walk around the paddock.

White-eared Honeyeater
White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis)

White-fronted Honeyeater
White-fronted Honeyeater (Purnella albifrons)

Blue-winged or Elegant Parrot
Blue-winged or Elegant Parrot

I am leaning towards Elegant Parrot. I need some help with this id.

Red-rumped Parrot
Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus)

Buff-rumped Thornbill - maybe
Buff-rumped Thornbill ??

Yellow-rumped Thornbill - maybe
Yellow-rumped Thornbill ??

Yellow-rumped Thornbill - maybe
Yellow-rumped Thornbill ??

Western Gerygone maybe
Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Totally not sure about this one.

Brown Treecreeper
Brown Treecreeper

raptor not sure which
Whistling Kite

Wimmera bird list

New Holland Honeyeater (Phyllidonyris novaehollandiae novaehollandiae)
Yellow-rumped Thornbill ( ) ??? or Buff-rumped Thornbill 2294
Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus)
Silvereye
White-fronted Honeyeater (Purnella albifrons)
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Eastern Rosella
Brown Treecreeper
House Sparrow
Crested Pigeon
Whistling Kite
European Goldfinch
White-plumed Honeyeater
Superb Fairy-wren
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae)
Blue-winged or Elegant Parrot ??
Crimson Rosella
White-eared Honeyeater (Nesoptilotis leucotis)
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Australian Magpie

December 23, 2018

The Stawell Gifts

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Lake Lonsdale – Stawell

From Ararat I headed west along the Western Highway to Stawell, which does not have much going for it except the Stawell Gift. I kept going to Lake Lonsdale and found a camping spot near the water and without any other people. I think I saw 2 cars in 2 days. Nice and relaxing. The lake was full of Eurasian Coot. There must have been at least a billion of them. The soil around the lake is very sandy.

White-fronted Chat
White-fronted Chat (Epthianura albifrons)

Brown Treecreeper
Brown Treecreeper

Well I got this one totally wrong. Lucky the experts set me straight.

Hoary-headed Grebe
Hoary-headed Grebe (Poliocephalus poliocephalus)

This is an adult non-breeding Hoary-headed Grebe.

Noisy Miner
Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala)

I was hoping this was a Black-eared Miner, but no. 🙁 I have to go to Gluepot Reserve in South Australia.

Stawell bird list

White-fronted Chat (Epthianura albifrons)
Brown Treecreeper
Eurasian Coot
Silver Gull
Crimson Rosella
Red-rumped Parrot
Rainbow Bee-eater
Masked Lapwing
Great Cormorant
Magpie-lark
Hoary-headed Grebe (Poliocephalus poliocephalus)
Red Wattlebird
White-plumed Honeyeater
Eastern Rosella
Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala)

Ararat Western Victoria Birds

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Green Hill Lake – Ararat

I took off from Skipton yesterday and spent the night at Lake Bolac. The wind was howling and there was some rain, so it was very nasty. The next morning I hightailed it to Ararat and spent most of the day at the library. The wind was still nasty and yucky. In the morning the wind had died down so I went for a walk around Green Hill Lake where I camped for the night.

Freckled Duck
Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa)

First time I have seen one of these. I have been looking for one for years.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata)

I think this is a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. I will ask the experts. Edit: the experts said yes.

Brown-headed Honeyeater
Brown-headed Honeyeater (Melithreptus brevirostris)

Last seen in the far west of New South Wales, I think.

Red-kneed Dotterel
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus)

Yellow Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana modesta)

Long-billed Corella
Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)

There were big mobs of Long-billed Corella in the paddocks.

Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen tyrannica)

This is the southern race, tyrannica, also known as the White-backed Magpie for obvious reasons.

White-headed Stilt
White-headed Stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus)

Hardhead - male
male Hardhead (Aythya australis)

The white eye gives away the male Hardhead.

Ararat bird list

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa)
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata)
Brown-headed Honeyeater (Melithreptus brevirostris)
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus)
Silver Gull
Black Swan
Hoary-headed Grebe (Poliocephalus poliocephalus)
Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)
Grey Teal (Anas gracilis)
Hardhead (Aythya australis)
Pacific Black Duck
Australian Wood Duck
Eurasian Coot
White-headed Stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus)
Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen tyrannica)
Red Wattlebird
Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)
Crimson Rosella
White-plumed Honeyeater
Superb Fairy-wren
Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana modesta)

December 21, 2018

Worms for lunch

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:30 am

Skipton Lake Walk

I headed west from Melbourne, did some shopping in Ballarat and continued on until I got to Smythesdale, where I camped the night at the local camp ground. Very nice. In the morning the weather turned a bit yukky and I stopped off at Skipton at lunch time. I went for a walk around the lake at the local park.

Long-billed Corella
Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)

There are lots of Long-billed Corella in Central Victoria.

Common Blackbird
Common Blackbird

Everything else I seemed to photograph had worms in their bills. It was wet and raining so that may have something to do with the quantity of worms.

Willie Wagtail
Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys)

More worms.

Magpie-lark
Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca)

And there were a pair of Magpie-larks bringing worms back to their mud nest.

Skipton bird list

Common Blackbird
Pacific Black Duck
Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys)
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)
Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa)
Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca)
Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)

November 13, 2018

Platypus in the Creek

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Cabbage Tree Creek Walk

As soon as I hit the border of Victoria, it started raining and it has been raining ever since. I saw a sign on the highway that said Cabbage Tree Walk – 5 kilometers, so I screeched to a halt and went in through this rough bush track to the Cabbage Tree Creek Flora Reserve, which is the southern-most stand of Cabbage Palms. It was drizzling rain a little bit and the mosquitoes were very hungry and numerous. But I persisted and went for a walk on the track and up the road a bit to a bridge where I saw a Platypus.

Platypus
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

The Platypus is a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal endemic to Eastern Australia. It is called a monotreme, mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.

Cabbage Tree Creek
Cabbage Tree Creek

There were a few birds around but nothing that came out any good. All in all I think it would be better on a sunny day. And it is a beautiful spot.

The track
The track

Birds and Mammals of Cabbage Tree Creek

White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea)
White-browed Scrubwren (Sericornis frontalis )
Grey Fantail
Common Bronzewing (Phaps Chalcoptera)

Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

April 14, 2016

Great Alpine Road

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Wangaratta to Omeo.

The Great Alpine Road goes over the top of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria from Wangaratta to Bairnsdale. At the start, I stayed at Tarawingee at the side of the Ovens River.

ovens river
Ovens River at Tarawingee.

Then it goes up past Porepunkah, Bright and Harrietville where I seen these Gang-gang Cockatoos.

Gang-gang Cockatoo
Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum)

Then the road winds up very steeply past Black Hole at 1330 meters.

Black Hole
Black Hole

The road then gets very steep and scary with it falling away on the side to very steep cliffs. It is very dangerous.

Hobbit
Hobbit at Mount Doom

The road goes over the top of the resort at Mount Hotham. I could not believe it. I was up level with top station on the chair lift. Scary.

Mount Hotham
Heavenly Valley

This is looking down the black run at Heavenly Valley. It is pretty steep. There is some good skiing here.

April 8, 2016

South-west Coast

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:47 am

Portland and Port Fairy

Point Danger Portland is the only Australasian Gannet colony on the mainland of Australia. The breeding season is from August to March.

Australasian Gannet colony
Gannet Colony

The fledglings can then fly and migrate west and return in 3 or 4 years. Australasian Gannets feed on small sea-fish, diving into a school of fish one after the other like dive bombers.

Australasian Gannet
adult Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator)

Griffith Island, Port Fairy is a breeding place for Short-tailed Shearwaters. Unfortunately they had all left so I was too late. doh!

Crow vs Mutton Bird
Crow eating a Short-tailed Shearwater.

Port Fairy fishing boat
Fishing boat

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