Thursday, 20 August 2015


After Pettman's Beach we drove through the rain and along wet, gravel roads to Glasshouse. Highlight birds there were an Eastern Whipbird fully out in the open after an hour's calling in the bushes all around us, an overflying White-bellied Sea-eagle and a pair of Australian Pied Oystercatchers.

The whipbird flew out onto a branch towards the end of our visit and, once again, my camera settings were wrong on all accounts. I had just been taking pictures of the WBSE using a custom function setting on the Canon 5D allowing lots of overexposure for a dark bird against a cloudy/blue background. Forgot to change it back to my usual shutter priority mode. The images were grossly underexposed [work that out if you can] and the pic below is a big effort in Photoshop. A good advert for taking images in raw.
Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus
Over the morning we saw either the same WBSE several times OR several WBSEs. Either way, it is always a thrill to see them. Gippsland seems to be a bit of a hot-spot for this bird which is becoming scarcer.
White-bellied Sea-eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
A pair of Australian Pied Oystercatchers were spotted quietly feeding on the mudflats of the very recently drained Lake Tyers. Just 10 days ago, the barrier succumbed to the very high level of water in the lake and burst through to the ocean leaving behind lots of mud flats. And the migratory waders will be arriving soon. Propitious! Chris Healey used the scope to observe that each APO had a leg flag with a unique ID which was recorded and the relevant database will be informed allowing us to know when and where these birds were tagged. POs are usually fairly wary birds so I snuck up on them using all available cover but I was still a bit too far away so just started quietly walking towards them across the mud flats which were firm enough to support me.

I got to within 20 metres of them. I also spotted a "baby Oystercatcher" with them. See the third image.
Australian Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris -- 3D
62 at the back
Not a young one of course but a Magpie-lark sharing a food source.
Magic. Correct settings and be there!

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