Canberra Day Two

12th September, 2016

Whatever else happened today, the photo of the day HAD to be of the weather! A fresh morning of 7 degrees with blue skies and gorgeous sunshine. The temperature climbing gradually to 17 degrees! Ahhh! I just loved being outside today, warm air stroking the skin then a cooler breeze then the cool and warm air mixing but never joining. If you were warm you could move to the shade and the breeze would be enough to soothe you; if you were cool you could step into the sunshine and be warmed up – my perfect kind of day!

The day started with tagging along to hubby’s work at 8.30am so that I could take the car for the day. I pulled out into traffic from his office and saw a sign for the information centre so I headed there for yes, more brochures. I do love brochures! I’m going to be the most cultured and knowledgeable Canberran there is! The info centre is on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin which was looking stunning in the sunlight. I heard the sound of a creaking door as I left the centre which can only be from a Gang Gang Cockatoo, so I tracked it to a pine tree and got a photo right there at the info centre! Definitely a highlight – we don’t often get them close around Melbourne. I could see where they’re setting up the flower festival right there as well, gorgeous beds of tulips! I’m looking forward to checking that out once its open.

I should mention that I was trying to find my way around without using a map or GPS. I do that; I don’t know why. It’s silly, you can’t intuitively find your way. I did okay for some of it but there may have been a couple of laps around the city having missed my turn! Ultimately I resorted to GPS!

I do love the days when I get up early. I feel so much more productive, and even if I spend a couple of hours on one thing, I turn round and still have hours to go. So at 11am, the day was still wide open. I wanted to get my bird watching off to a start so I headed to Black Mountain which is where the Telstra Tower is and went on a 2 hour walking loop. The signs being not all they should be, that turned into a 3.5 hour hike steeply up and down the mountain! I was pretty exhausted by the end, not to mention blisters on my heels and arches and chafed thighs. It’s amazing to me that I wouldn’t have considered that the path would be steep, the name of the place being Black Mountain. Another of my classic disconnects.

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So here’s my photo for Day Two. A perfect combination of the day: blue skies, sunshine, beautiful bush and birds, a stunning Crimson Rosella.

I’ve decided to put whatever photos don’t make the cut for photo of the day onto a new website that I’ve just been setting up these last couple of weeks. Bear with me while I do so, it’s very much a work in progress but you can see my other photos from today (and yesterday, forgot to say so) at my site. Click on Black Mountain Views or Black Mountain Birds to check out today’s photos.

Birds birds birds birds birds

Are you surprised? More birds. What a shock!

This holiday has been one of the best I’ve ever had for bird watching. Considering that I only took up bird watching late last year this isn’t a massive statement.

But I’ve found so many great birds here, those that you come across every day, those that are specific to the area and some I’ve ever seen before.

On Friday 4th July I had a slow morning in bed and didn’t get outside til lunch time. It was super windy so I didn’t really want to go out, but turns out once I got out there it was beautifully sunny and quite a nice day, if you could avoid the wind.

All I did once I got out of the house was take a slow stroll around town but there were still some beautiful parrots around that I had the chance to stop, sit down and watch while taking photos. As always, just being able to find the birds by recognising their song or glimpsing their colours is exhilarating. Getting the chance to get up close and take pictures without them flying away is super exciting. Having some oblivious people or an aggressive Magpie chase my birds away is annoying!! But I still got some great pics!

I love this shot of the four Galahs making a perfect square!!

I love this shot of the four Galahs making a perfect square!!

Pretty Galah ruffled by the wind

Pretty Galah ruffled by the wind

Stunning pair of Eastern Rosellas, looks like an adult and baby

Stunning pair of Eastern Rosellas, looks like an adult and baby

Adult Eastern Rosella feeding in the grass

Adult Eastern Rosella feeding in the grass

Cute juvenile Eastern Rosella feeding with its parent in the grass

Cute juvenile Eastern Rosella feeding with its parent in the grass

Queenscliff pier - beautiful in the sun but the wind is brisk!

Queenscliff pier – beautiful in the sun but the wind is brisk!

Silver gull in the sun

Silver gull in the sun

Juvenile Crimson Rosella blending into an olive tree

Juvenile Crimson Rosella blending into an olive tree

Juvenile Crimson Rosella blending into an olive tree

Juvenile Crimson Rosella blending into an olive tree

Juvenile Crimson Rosella eating berries with its claws

Juvenile Crimson Rosella eating berries with its claws

On Saturday I went to visit a friend and found a beautiful parkland near her house. As luck would have it, as I parked and got out of the car I heard the screech of a cockatoo and as I looked up there were a flock of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos!! I have never seen these before in my life and had the best time watching them break open and eat pine cones high up in the trees as the wind almost blew them off! As I got out of the car it started raining! Taking photos while holding an umbrella under my arm and scrambling up a very soft incline was not easy! My umbrella got blown away and I got wet! My photos were a bit blurry as well. So once the shower passed I crossed the road to get a better shot, and would you believe there was a set of stairs that took me all the way up to within a couple of metres of the tree?! Bad luck and good luck so close together; interesting!

Flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos eating pine cones on top of a tree

Flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos eating pine cones on top of a tree. You can see how strong the wind is!

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo perched precariously at the top of a tree

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo perched precariously at the top of a tree

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo crunching on pine cones

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo crunching on pine cones

The fortuitous staircase to nowhere that let me get up close and personal with Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos!

The fortuitous staircase to nowhere that let me get up close and personal with Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos!

After spending half an hour with the black cockatoos, I finally made it to where I was headed in the first place: Fyansford Common. Such a beautiful park alongside the river and teeming with birds!!

Here’s another first for me, I’ve never seen this bird before. I think it’s a Grey Strike-thrush, as far as I can tell from my bird guide, but I’d love an expert opinion 🙂

Grey Strike-thrush singing its beautiful song on the rails

Grey Strike-thrush singing its beautiful song on the rails

Another Grey Strike-Thrush? Probably too far to tell, tree

Another Grey Strike-Thrush? Probably too far to tell

Cute fluffy little pair of New Holland Honeyeaters, sadly out of focus, dead bushes

Cute fluffy little pair of New Holland Honeyeaters, sadly out of focus but still awesome! I’ve never seen so many of these!

A Willy Wagtail mid-dance with its tail feathers fanned out and side wings pointing down about to flit away

A Willy Wagtail mid-dance with its tail feathers fanned out and side wings pointing down about to flit away

I thought I was catching a snap of a swallow resting, but on reflection it looks more like a Willy Wagtail

I thought I was catching a snap of a swallow resting, but on reflection it looks more like a Willy Wagtail from the front

I finally got a face-on photo of the Red-Browed Finch!! Earlier in the year I got a snap of the back of this pretty little bird in the Yea Wetlands, and by chance I stumbled upon this little firetail while looking at wrens and other birds in Fyanford Common. Score!!

Red-browed Finch flitting around with the many wrens and other tiny birds

Red-browed Finch flitting around with the many wrens and other tiny birds

Female Superb Fairy-Wren with vivid blue tail, gum tree

Female Superb Fairy-Wren with vivid blue tail

Baby Australasian Grebes ducking and diving under water when they notice me looking at them!, river, reeds

Baby Australasian Grebes ducking and diving under water when they notice me looking at them!

Then in the early evening we went for a delightful walk along part of the Bellarine Rail Trail near Swan Bay and saw some lovely birds.

Male and female Chestnut Teal on a pond

Male Chestnut Teal duck on a windy pond

A beautiful time of night and a beautiful White-faced Heron on the railway signal

A beautiful time of night and a beautiful White-faced Heron on the railway signal

A bonus sighting of a heritage diesel engine and train carriages near Lakers Siding, sunset

A bonus sighting of a heritage diesel engine and train carriages near Lakers Siding

And for the grand finale, an amazing Eastern Great Egret! I saw one from the train on Thursday and wished that I could get a shot. So I was very excited to see this Egret fly over as we were walking back to the car. They are really shy so we took shots from far away and then tried to creep up. Unfortunately we were losing the light by the time we saw the Egret so most of the shots come to nothing but I like this shot anyway. Then the train blew its whistle and it took off, ever so gracefully!

I’m so excited about these holidays. I’ve seen Egrets, Herons, Spoonbills and Ibis that I haven’t seen in years since I left our small farm out of town to live in the city and study. Seeing them all again gets me reminiscing and remembering the good parts of my childhood when we would watch the birds in the channel or out in the wet paddocks

Beautiful and graceful Eastern Great Egret stalking fish in the backwater, reeds, lake

Beautiful and graceful Eastern Great Egret stalking fish in the backwater

And so we come to the last day of our holiday! It really has been perfect and I’ve enjoyed myself so much! And the weather has behaved beautifully; on our last day it rained and rained! So we were happy to leave and head for home. Isn’t that the dream?

We had plans for walks but it was a bit wet early on so we drove on and ate breakfast out. Luckily the rain cleared out over breakfast so we headed out to the Edwards Point State Faunal Reserve on the point just out of St Leonards. It really was beautiful, if chilly, and the rain held off for a couple of hours while we wondered around.

I love herons for their grace and elegance. I love shots of birds flying and I accidentally got them both together! Not well focused but okay.

Focusing on the standing White-faced Heron and another flew right into my photo!, lake, reeds

Focusing on the standing White-faced Heron and another flew right into my photo!

This one I am proud of, not well focused but I got the heron landing!, lake, reeds

This one I am proud of, not well focused but I got the heron landing!

Black Swans in the water, lake reeds

Black Swans in the water

Edwards Point State Faunal Reserve on an overcast July day

Edwards Point State Faunal Reserve on an overcast July day

Edwards Point State Faunal Reserve on an overcast July day

Edwards Point State Faunal Reserve on an overcast July day

Another Eastern Great Heron - two in two days!

Another Eastern Great Heron – two in two days!

Edwards Point State Faunal Reserve boardwalk across the water

Edwards Point State Faunal Reserve boardwalk across the water

And the lovely beach, stunning as always! sand, clouds, waves

And the lovely beach, stunning as always!

Majestic Australian Pelican swimming on the calm seas

Majestic Australian Pelican swimming on the calm seas with Mornington Peninsula in the background

And here we are, down to the last bird for the holiday! The freeways from Geelong to Melbourne and Ballarat to Melbourne are hotspots for birds of prey and we stopped to take a picture of this one. It was interesting to see chickens in the yard of the house over which the bird was hovering, running for cover; smart!

Not sure what bird of prey but looks impressive soaring overhead

Not sure what bird of prey but looks impressive soaring overhead

Some kind of bird of prey threatening the local chickens! blue sky

Some kind of bird of prey threatening the local chickens!

Thank you holiday! You have energised and refreshed me and I’ll always remember the wonderful bird finding, watching and photographing that I have so enjoyed!

I highly recommend Swan Bay, Lake Lorne and Queenscliff in general for bird watchers. There are so many different types and such an abundance of birds! A fabulous area and one I’ll be happy to return to in the return. But for now, onward and upward 🙂

Queenscliff sunrise

All the benefits of this morning are due to a great suggestion from my hubby.

I’m away at the beach with my family for a few days and my poor hubby is left home alone working. When we were chatting on the phone last night I was telling him how I went for an evening walk last night and took photographs of the sunset. His suggestion: wouldn’t it be cool if I also got up and photographed the sunrise?

Why yes it would be cool. However there’s the fact that I haven’t got up for the sunrise in months! But then I looked it up and the sunrise for today wasn’t until 7.40am. Well that’s not too bad. However there is the point that I have to be awake, up out of bed, dressed and down at the sunset by 7.40am. Where would be the best spot to watch the sunset around here…I’m thinking from the Queenscliff pier. So I set my alarm for 7.10am and decided I would just see what happened.

In the end I got up just in time to get dressed and get down to the pier for the sunrise. Although it wasn’t a true sunrise; there was a lot of cloud cover blocking the view but the sun did peek through for some cool photos.

Additional bonus: there were quite a few cool birds around too!

Queenscliff pier, sunrise

The beautiful Queenscliff pier at sunrise

pacific gulls, dawn, seaside

Pair of Pacific Gulls bobbing in the dawn seaside

immature pacific gull, lamp post

Immature Pacific Gull roosting on a lamp post

silver gull, walking

Beautiful Silver Gull walking the ledge

queenscliff pier, sunrise, bay

Cloudy sunrise beaming over the Queenscliff pier and bay

swimmer crab, cooked, pier

Swimmer crab on the pier – is it just me, or does it look cooked?

granary, queenscliff pier

Granary on the Queenscliff pier in the morning

little pied cormorant, shed roof

Little Pied Cormorant roosting on a shed roof

common starling, autumn winter spots, nesting, eaves

Common starling with autumn/winter spots nesting under the eaves

pier, lighthouse

Looking over to the other pier and lighthouse

female, superb fairy-wren, beach

Gorgeous female Superb Fairy-wren hopping about on the beach

Brilliant male Superb Fairy-wren hopping in the sea grass on the beach

Brilliant male Superb Fairy-wren hopping in the sea grass on the beach

SIlver Gull frenzy over a school of fish

Seagull frenzy over a school of fish at sunrise

new holland honeyeater, bushes, chirping, jumping

Gorgeous shot of a New Holland Honeyeater chirping and jumping in the bushes

Juvenile Crimson Rosella blending into a bush while eating breakfast

Juvenile Crimson Rosella blending into a bush while eating breakfast

willy wagtail, prancing

Prancing little Willy Wagtail fanning it’s tail

wattlebird

A loud Wattlebird, just not sure which one, not fast enough to shoot its face

Pretty cloudy sunrise from the pier

Pretty cloudy sunrise from the pier