The things you see….

when you haven’t got a gun, as my uncle used to joke, or when you haven’t got a camera. I just got back yesterday after three days in Geelong helping our son, didn’t take a camera with me, unfortunately as it turned out. We took one morning off from our work and drove down to Ocean Grove to have a look at the nature reserve, the last significant area of native bushland left on the Bellarine Peninsula. First though, we went to the estuary where a good sighting was two Eastern Curlews out on a mud flat, either over-wintering birds, or early returns. There was a good selection of other birds too, including Yellow-billed Spoonbills, Caspian Terns, White-faced Herons, a Great Egret, and White Ibis, all taking advantage of the low tide to get a feed.
The dominant vegetation in the reserve consists of she-oaks, Black, and Drooping, and as we walked along the track it became obvious to me that the area was affected by Phytophthora cinnamomi, or dieback. This was confirmed when we reached the grass tree area, these wonderful plants, Xanthorrhoea species, are very susceptible, and sadly, we walked past many that were dead or dying.
But back to my opening remark, we hadn’t gone far when Matt pointed up to our right, there was a Wood Duck, perched on top of a low dead tree with a brilliant blue sky behind it, quite a spectacular sight, and not a camera between us. Later on we had a second sighting that made me regret not taking the camera, just a few yards off the track two Galahs were in a nice healthy looking eucalypt, and one was working busily enlarging a nest hollow. I’ll probably never have chances like that again.
Back at home again I had occasion to go to Sale this morning, this time I made sure to put the camera in the car, and went via Marlay Point to check out the terns. Out on the concrete breakwater were new arrivals, about 8 or 9 Little Terns, and with the Cresteds on the piles were three of the smaller terns that we’ve been looking at. To my eye these three had a different appearance to the ones we’d seen previously, hopefully Mike will educate us all soon.
The Crested Terns seem to get along well with each other despite being close together on the piles, but this morning there was a bit of interplay between two and I managed to get a few photos of them locking bills. Here’s one of the shots, and the second is of one of the smaller terns. Click to enlarge.

crested terns


10 Responses to “The things you see….”

  1. I love reading your blog Duncan…certainly a bad mistake leaving the camera behind. Can I please use your expression “About terns” at work? Very clever indeed!

  2. Duncan says:

    Be my guest Cathy. :-)

  3. bev says:

    Great shot of the Crested Terns, Duncan! For some reason, I’ve been having a bit of trouble navigating to your blog for the past while. I’m not quite sure why, but if I try a couple of times over 2 or 3 days, I eventually get a connection. No problem, but just mentioning this in case anyone else has been experiencing the same thing.

  4. bev says:

    Oh, and I meant to comment on seeing things when you don’t have your camera handy. That happens to me quite regularly too!

  5. Duncan says:

    Bev, haven’t noticed a problem from this end, and I’ve had no reports of trouble from anyone else. Could just be a bandwidth problem somewhere between North America and Australia. I occasionally have trouble connecting to the odd site over your way.
    Re cameras, just goes to show you should always have one about your person, even if it’s just a little point and shoot tucked away in a pocket. Brings to mind the Amex jingle, “Don’t leave home without it”!

  6. Snail says:

    Oh yes, never, ever go anywhere without the camera. A few days ago, I went to Limeburners Bay and the shore was covered in stranded jellyfish, all of them no smaller than a dinner plate. There were dozens more in the shallows. Fascinating sight. And did I have my camera? Noooo …

  7. The Ridger says:

    Yes, the one time the oriole posed for me this summer was the one day I’d forgotten my camera!

  8. Duncan says:

    Isn’t it always the way, Ridger.

  9. Corey says:

    When I leave the house on a birding trip I sometimes debate leaving my camera home, knowing that this will cause some kind of rarity to show up, or for some beautiful bird to perch within 6 feet! And Wood Ducks in Australia? Are they introduced?

  10. Duncan says:

    I’ve mentioned Murphy’s law on this blog before Corey, seems to work world wide. The Australian Wood Duck is a native species, occasionally vagrant to new Zealand.