Friday, 9 January 2015

Summer nestings

A recent trip up the Licola road produced a couple of interesting sights. The Hickey Creek track often produces a nice mix of birds and this time it included a couple of interesting nest sightings.
Olive-backed Oriole on its intricately woven and suspended nest, one of two within a few metres of each other.
An unoccupied White-winged Chough's nest, looking like an upturned cow pat up a tree.
In our own backyard: an anxious Leaden Flycatcher keeps a close eye on the photographer.
Nankeen Kestrels are fairly common around here and sighting more than one or two at a time is unusual. Thus, you can imagine our surprise at seeing eleven in one location above Glenfalloch station near Licola. There were two groups on adjacent steep grassy ridges, taking advantage of the strong breeze to just hang in space before diving down to collect something in the grass. Despite the large number of slow-moving targets, it was quite difficult to get a decent focused shot.
Back on the nesting theme; a large box tree in our back-yard offers a number of holes for nests which get shared around over the years.
This female Australian Wood-duck checks out one big hole for a possible nest. A few days later, someone else has designs on the contents so she did well to reject this location.
Mr Goanna takes a moment to have a rest in the sunshine after discovering the hole has no eggs or chicks for breakfast.
A full-body shot as he climbs further up the tree. This one is about 1.5m (5 feet) long and beautifully coloured.
An outing yesterday with the Heyfield birdwatchers in and around Sale produced nearly 50 species, including two sightings of Scarlet Honeyeaters (alas, no photos). A couple of favourites though...
An Azure Kingfisher searching for snacks in the swamp
A male Golden Whistler
Its been a lean few weeks for astronomy with humid, cloudy nights and now the full moon. Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy must wait for better weather. In the meantime, a couple of my favourites.
Messier 42 in the sword in Orion's belt is a spectacular object. Down here in the Southern hemisphere, it appears upside down and is more commonly known as the Saucepan. Further info here.
Eta Carinae: 20 minutes of exposures, showing more than 7,000 stars. More info here.

1 comment:

  1. G’day JG,
    Nice series of nests. Always amazes me the intricate work that birds can achieve.
    Boy, that Eta Carinae binary is beautiful - and scary! Could become a supernova that might affect earth within our lifetime?