Monday, September 28, 2015

Mallee birding in the spring

Yesterday was a lovely sunny Sunday. I awoke at 5am so decided to head to the Mallee at Monarto Conservation Park for a few enjoyable hours of birding. 
One of my favourite honeyeaters is the Tawny-crowned Honeyeater which is one of the most common species at this park, although they can be hard to get near and they don't sit for long so getting a good photo is challenging (which makes it fun). 
Being early spring the Brown snakes are waking up and looking for food and I spotted a couple of them sunbaking on the narrow sandy tracks. The scuttle off in a hurry, the poor little critters are far more scared of us than we are of them.
I've found the trick for photographing the Tawny-crowned Honeyeater is to find their little group then wait for them to come to you.
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater
They don't sit for long
Another challenging species in this park is the Shy Heathwren, which is not called this for nothing!
They scuttle beneath the shrubs and rarely allow themselves to be seen, and then, when they decide to pop up to call, they have the remarkable ability to always position themselves between me and the early morning sun making them almost impossible to photograph.
The back lit Shy Heathwren calling in the shady undergrowth

Shy Heathwren
Common Staling feeding a chick in a nearby hollow

Diamond Firetail
A quick trip to Kyeema Conservation Park after lunch  was rewarded with a Scarlet Robin and some orchids in flower.
Scarlet Robin