Melbourne is a city that is rapidly growing, with booming property prices and suburbs expanding in every direction. I am lucky to live in an older suburb, created in the late 1950s, when city councils truly cared about green spaces.
Within a kilometre of my house there are four well established parks, which is great for dog walking and for wild life. Our suburb remains crowded with possums and many native birds, such as this Wattle bird who loves to harvest nectar from our bottle brushes
Take a look at the back of my garden, can you spot the two nesting Ringtail Possums? They are roughly in the centre of the picture.
Look closer… there they are. Can you can see the ring tail poking out?
You can spot some fur from the second one up to the right of the tail.
The great news is that this year we started spotting something unusual in the gum trees of a nearby park: a pair of Tawny Frogmouths. The Tawny Frogmouth is often confused with an owl (which it is not). It is a nocturnal hunter who uses local foliage to hide in plain sight. They spend their days sleeping and keeping an eye on these who manage to spot them. We try to spot them every day, but don’t always succeed. We can never be sure if they are sleeping somewhere else or hiding on a better matching branch or tree!
Here is one literally nestling up to some bark for extra camouflage.
Their orange eyes really are quite piercing…
Clearly there must be enough food in the neighbourhood to sustain two because a mating pair have established a nest and are currently brooding. They love to nest in the hook
of a gum tree branch as you can clearly see. The nest is about 12 meters up.
Grooming is vital for a nesting Tawny.
You can clearly see both the depth of the nest and the way they have used a curved branch to help secure it.
We are now waiting for the happy day when some Tawny chicks make their arrival.
Sadly the trend to clear an older block and build two townhouses with no space for large native trees does not bode well for the future of this urban wildlife. Lets hope they continue to prosper and that councils and local governments fight to defend our green spaces and corridors.
Clearly the one thing you should never do when photographing a nesting bird is disturb the nest or the bird.
These very cropped photos were taken while standing firmly on the ground using a Nikon D5000 with an 18-300mm lens and then processed in Adobe Lightroom.