Friday, 12 January 2018

Loch Sport _ Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets

The Corymbia ficifolia trees along the main drag entering Loch Sport were if full flower last week. Flowers = nectar = nectar feeders = honeyeaters and lorikeets. The trees near the main store/post office were choc-a-block full of Musk Lorikeets and Rainbow Lorikeets, many more of the former. They are not so hard to photograph when their minds are full of food so I was able to get to within 5 or 6 metres of them, taking into consideration the main road between them and me! As it was only 8am, the sun was straight over my right shoulder so the lighting couldn't get much better.

Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna

Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus moluccanus

As an aside, we have a ficifolia at home in Sale. It has the electricity wire above it and has had some severe pruning since planting a few years ago (yes, silly place to put it) but has never flowered. Until this year. There is one decent cluster of flowers on it, several single flowers totalling less than the cluster. Found by one Red Wattlebird!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Wairewa _ Regent Honeyeater

The Regent Honeyeater Anthochaera phrygia is a critically endangered species. A Regent Honeyeater Recovery Program is in place. See here and a FB page here. The main aims are habitat regeneration and captive breeding and release. The bird is a nectar nomad favouring ironbark so will be irregularly seen although the environs of Chiltern in central Victoria are a relatively reliable place to see them.

Looking at both eBird and Birdata, the species has been seen in Gippsland before but not that recently. The last time was by Len and Jacquie Axen in their garden at Marlo in Feb 2015. Prior to that was by Steve Wright near Buchan in April 2013 and the most famous this century were a pair that bred at the Mitchell River Silt Jetties at Eaglepoint over Christmas 2009. The parents and a youngster were mist netted and banded.

Before Christmas, a small party of BLEGgers checked a report of a pair of Regent Honeyeaters at Wairewa about 7 kms east of Nowa Nowa. We were not expecting success as the report was not that recent but, as it turned out, the site is a pretty nice birding spot anyway so it would be a great day out if nothing else.

The place at Hall Road was swarming with Musk Lorikeets and other honeyeaters species. Box trees were heavily in flower as was the Manuka. Muskies were observed at head height hanging in manuka unconcerned with photographers just two metres away. Yellow-tufted, Little and Red Wattlebirds, Eastern Spinebills, New Hollands and White-naped were all over the place.

Dusky Woodswallow Artamus cyanopterus

Jacky Winter Microeca fascinans

Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna

Our party of four quietly and slowly walked the fence line track playing the call on occasion but no dice. We made our way back along the fence. And then ..... A bird in a tree, right against the bright sky ... yes ... a Regent Honeyeater. Probably a juvenile!! Breeding has occurred!!! High excitement. The whirr of motor drives. Change the exposure to over expose by two, no three stops. More images. YES. Just how exciting is this. Pant pant.

We adjourned back to the cars and a cuppa to assess the situation. Dean Ingwersen, the Regent Honeyeater Recovery Program man, was rung immediately. The images were excellent silhouettes. Computer work at home showed that the juvenile was in fact an adult.

We then went back for a more detailed search in an area within 100 metres of our sighting where Roger had heard some calls that could be our target. We went into the bush a short way, set up a songster, then played the call one more time. Within 10 seconds a pair of Regent Honeyeaters coming winging in to see who we were. More photos then we called it quits for the day. Mission accomplished.

Regent Honeyeater Anthochaera phrygia

Those three images were mine. Ken Russell took these last two which were the best. Nikon beats Canon.