Saturday, 7 June 2014

Chiltern - Mt Pilot National Park

Our first stop on a seven-week winter trip to outback NSW was Chiltern in Victoria to spend two days in the Chiltern - Mt Pilot National Park. This park covers mainly box - ironbark woodland habitat and when the box or ironbark are in flower this attracts large numbers of honeyeaters including the endangered Regent Honeyeater. As part of a recovery program captive bred Regent Honeyeaters have been released in the Chiltern - Mt Pilot NP.
While there were some ironbark in flower and plenty of honeyeaters about - and two recent reports of Regent Honeyeaters in the park, finding a Regent during our two days in the park would be a little like finding a needle in a hay stack and so it proved – no Regents found. We did see White-plumed, Fuscous, Yellow-tufted, White-naped and Black-chinned Honeyeaters plus Eastern Spinebill, Red Wattlebird (large numbers) and Little Friarbird. Many other bird species were found with some highlights including Crested Shrike-tit, Olive-backed Oriole, White-browed Babbler, Varied Sittella and good numbers of Robins including Rose, Red-capped, Scarlet and Flame, but no endangered Hooded Robins.
The following photos were taken over the two days and include some shots of a very cute Yellow-footed Antechinus found mid morning foraging on the forest floor (this is the only antechinus species likely to be found out during the day). Many of the shots show a low sun angle even though they were not taken early or late in the day – winter is here and the shortest day is not far away!
Ironbark and White Box are the dominant eucalypt species in the Chiltern - Mt Pilot National Park.
The very common and widespread White-plumed Honeyeater.
Achieving photos of the very active honeyeaters foraging high in the ironbark
canopies was close to impossible. This bird stopped briefly on a low perch in a patch of sun.
A Red-capped Robin hunting ground dwelling prey as most robins do from low
perches - the stump and light made for an attractive composition.
The male Red-capped Robin from above - it flew down towards me to grab a food item from
the ground - note the long shadow cast by the bird even though it is nearly 10am.
It was a pleasant surprise to find this nocturnal Yellow-footed Antechinus
out and about mid morning. It seemed to enjoy the winter sun.
Playing "hide and seek" as I move in for a closer shot.
Soon after this shot I lost track of this cute little animal.
Varied Sittellas specialise in gleaning food from the bark of tree trunks and tend to operate
above the level where the unrelated Treecreepers finish their ascent of tree trunks.
Caught in the act - the white object is a dropping.
Prizing off a piece of bark - a tasty grub was hiding under the bark.


  1. Nice stuff John, looking forward to lots more!

    1. Thanks Duncan. Hope to publish posts for most of the National Parks we plan on visiting in outback NSW so stay tuned.

      Cheers, Avithera

  2. This park is on my bucket list. Nice photos. Have a great trip.
    We're heading up through the red centre in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping to get cracking with my blogging again..

    1. Thanks Boobook. Chiltern - Mt Pilot highly recommended. Have a great trip yourself and I look forward to seeing your posts.

      Cheers, Avithera