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.|