SOUTHERN BOOBOOK OWL
We rarely see owls and now I have had three sightings in the last two weeks, in different areas.
On Sunday these two young Boobooks were sitting in a camphor laurel tree outside our bedroom window.
They sat there all day, eyes shut, or one eye shut, for most of the time.
I assume they are a young pair, recently out of the nest
Another creature coming out after the warm summer weather.
This ring-tailed possum was sound asleep on a branch, enjoying the early morning sun after a cool night.
Notice the prehensile tail, free of hair at the tip, to enable a good strong grip as he os she moves around the trees.
It is quite unusual to see them about during the day. This fellow, must have had a big night!
There were also plenty of kangaroos about. They have become very cheeky of late, and will simpley move a few paces out of the way when they meet an early morning walker.
Unfortunately they are not so good at moving out of the way of motor cars on the road.
Kangaroos, friends of motor repairers/.
TREE CREEPER WHITE THROATED
I have spoken about the drought of birds in this area over the last few months.
The weather has been very hot on some days, 40+ degrees but cooler and damp on other days. It is hard to explain the lack of birds on weather.
Others from the area have made the same comments. There have been similar experiences from bird watchers in areas a hundred kilometres away.
But things change. Whilst sightings are still not what they have been, there has been a significant rise in numbers since February began.
'The birds are back!' Dianne said he other day.
I watched a number of these White-throated Treecreepers. I saw six and more feeding, climbing tree trunks as they went.
They are a small greyish bird, sometimes difficult to see on the greyish tree trunks. But as they climb, pecking at the bark as they go, they slip in and out of the sunshine.
They are quite beautiful, with a brown chest streaked with white. The small rufous spot below the ears is an easily recognizable sign of who they are.
This final photograph, poorly focused as it is, shows this bird climbing a tree trunk, as fast as a sprinter, all feet off the tree.
SOUTHERN BOOBOOK OWL
It has been very quiet time for birds in the district. The weather has been very hot high 30s and low 40s.
A number of people have commented on the lack of bird sightings for about the last twelve weeks. The bush is very dry although there is plenty of water in the dams and still some in the small creeks.
Today is cool, 18 degrees with patch cloud cover, a little rain has fallen after a very hot week with lots of smoke in the air from bush-fires in Gippsland, Tasmania and towards Daylesford.
This morning still quiet, few birds, nothing close enough to photograph.
I was just about to come home when a movement in a tree above my head showed three young boobook owls. Two moved off quickly and silently, this one remained long enough for some pictures.
These are quite common around Kilmore, more often heard than seen. Their calls can be heard on still nights, 'Boobook, boobook' or as some people hear it,'Mopoke, mopoke' Hence the name.
JACKY WINTER Microeca fascinans
Seeing the Jacky Winters busily collecting insects in their beaks, was a giveaway for a nest with young nearby. Still nesting in the early weeks of January.
It did not take long to find the nest, very small nest of grass and bark, perched precariously in the fork of long, dead branch. Still nesting in the early weeks of January.
Not wanting to approach too closely, I watched for quite while. There were five or six unfledged young, loudly calling for food each time a parent bird approached.
I was watching at about 5.00 in the evening and the sun was beginning to drop to the west. One of the parent birds, how does one know if it is the male or female, then settled itself onto the nest. If it could talk I am sure it would be saying, "time to settle down you lot, bed time."
SACRED KINGFISHERS Todiramphus sanctus
I have been watching a pair of kingfishers for about a week now.
They have been busy feeding young in a tiny hole in a gum tree growing where the Dry Creek crosses Jeffrey's Lane, a little south of Broadford. I have not seen the young yet, the knot in the tree trunk is about three metres from the ground and it is not possible to see what is happening.
I am also very wary of getting too close at such a critical time.
The adults sit in the branches of nearby trees watching and waiting. Baby sitting?
After hunting, one will approach the nest tree but will land on a twig of a nearby tree. With it's mouth full with a small lizard, it will call to the young, 'kik, kik, kik. It is such a loud sound from such a small bird.
I can then here the young cheep in response to the adult's call.
The adult then flies to the mouth of the hole, grasping the edge tightly with claws, it's tail pushed hard against the trunk to hold it tight. There doesn't seem to be room for the adult birds to enter.
The adult then flies off, back to the nearby twig, with the now slightly desiccated lizard still in it's mouth.
It makes about five trips to the nest, each time returning to a nearby branch, where it rests and calls before returning. After each trip the lizard becomes more and more dismembered until there is just a final small final morsel left.
I visit this site often, waiting for the young to emerge. I am interested to see how they will get out safely from such a tiny hole. Where will they perch whilst gaining strength and balance?
I will wait and see.