Mutawintji

28 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture
Mutawintji

Hi Peoples,

This is a belated intro as I have already made a few posts. Mea Culpa.

My name is Greg and I am 58.

I am new to birdwatching. But I have moved from Brisbane to the Bunya Mountains, altho I still work in Brisbane. I live inside a National Park ... and bird watching is no longer an option but is mandatory, I mean that I get no choice ... Haa.

Its a whole new world to me and it has forced upon me the recognition of just how many species of birds there are .. and that each species behaves and is dependent upon a select part of the bio-system. They all dovetail together in their predator-prey relationships

From the Black (and neon orange) Cockatoos that quietly squabble (unlike the whites which are noisy) and feed apparently on the she-oak nuts to the incredibly tiny wrens that, in flight, resemble the flight of moths.

My mountain, and it ridges and spurs, is ruled over by two wedgetails, quite often accompanied by an offspring.  Never moving a wing but eternally gliding on thermals in their search for prey. These birds are so big that I am scared to let my grandkids (1-3yrs) wander off the house pad for fear that these birds could take them. Maybe crazy, but better crazy and safe. They take wallabies larger than my grandkids.

Below the wedge tails comes the mighty host representing so many different species that I doubt I will ever label them all.

One that stood out above all, and left me breathless on first sight, was the Regent's Bower Bird. This is a very very impressive bird. No photo I have seen captures the brilliance of this bird in its own habitat. I have made a vow that I will film this bird while it is displaying .. an impossible feat I know .. but ... hitch your wagon to a star, keep your seat and there you are ... haahaa

In any case, it appears that I have a new hobby and it should last me the rest of my life. From the moment I get up in the morning and make my first coffee until my last coffee at night the show is on and running. And even in the depths of night, and sometimes I go into the forest at midnight, there are huge silent winged things that you can 'feel' as they drift silently around you. No doubt owls, and large ones.

Well ... I could go on and on but thats enough bullshit from me ...

cool bananas .... Greg

soakes
soakes's picture

That's great.  I wish I had a national park to roam in.

Be careful driving that thing through scrub; there could be birds' nests in there!  If possible make tracks and always stick to them.

- soakes

soakes
Olinda, Victoria, Australia

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

Thanks for the welcome Soakes.

Yes .. the first thing I noticed was that the little 'bush pig' polaris left tracks. So I planned out my fire tracks, escape routes, and the places where I wished to go. I pushed the tracks thru with the 'pig', and stuck to lantana-desecration whereever I could. I have never veered of the tracks since, despite temptation.

The tracks have become part of the landscape now, as far as all the birdies and critters are concerned. I have seen wallabies using them in preference to their own when climbing steep sides. And now, within minutes of parking the bird life returns to normal .. so I am guessing they have become somewhat used to me.

Whenever I need to go off the tracks, I walk. I have unconsciously become a 'tree-hugger' and 'greenie'. Living amongst all this 'life' seems to do it to you, no matter your own self-centred inclinations.

Thanks again for the welcome ... Greg

Woko
Woko's picture

Greg, love your descriptions of what's happening to you as well as the wildlife.

Ms Woko & I have had a somewhat similar journey. I became besotted with birds following a trip to Queensland where I saw a sunbird through binoculars. From that moment I was hooked, especially after I saw the sunbird's nest hanging from a hook under a verandah. After about 10 years of bird watching with Birds SA we were fortunate enough to buy 17 ha of land which had been partly revegetated by the previous owners after being totally cleared & used for horse grazing. We revegetated for 8 years flat out & are now involved in minimum disturbance bush care & watching the understorey plants return. Over 130 bird species have been observed since we arrived 25 years ago, a number of them migratory but many now permanent residents. Living among nature like this, even tho' much of ours has been human-recreated, is an experience I count myself so fortunate to have had & will never regret.

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

Woko wrote:
Greg, love your descriptions of what's happening to you as well as the wildlife.

Ms Woko & I have had a somewhat similar journey. I became besotted with birds following a trip to Queensland where I saw a sunbird through binoculars. From that moment I was hooked, especially after I saw the sunbird's nest hanging from a hook under a verandah.

Woko & Ms Woko .. thank you for a very warm welcome. I know that feeling when you saw the Sunbird. It was the same with me when I saw the Regents Bower Bird.  I had never heard of it or saw anything like it before. I was sure that I had discovered something that new no one else had ever seen before. I was soon bought down to size when I was told it's name. Such a piss-poor name for such a bird.

Well ... On the one hand I am so glad that I have not had to revegetate. But on the other hand I also had my problems. I bought the mountain inside the park .10.2 hectares. Never realising that it would be subject to so many rules, regulations, and local, state, and federal depts ... everybody, every official, even the Fire Brigade, had a finger in my pie.

There were so many masters to please I despaired. It was a nightmare getting the permissions to build. I lived in a ships container for 18mths while I tried to push, shove, wedge, plead, cajole paperwork thru the council chambers .. eventually all was thru and the shack went up at last.

My land is unusable by anything except wildlife ... and thats how its gunna stay. It is so steep, so rugged, that no one else would ever want it ..haahaa

Thanks again for the welcome ... greg

timmo
timmo's picture

You lucky bloke!

As I said in a previous post, the Bunya Mountains are one of my favourite places in the world.

I first got captivated when I went up there with Greening Australia on a seed collecting trip about 3 years ago. We arrived early evening around 5ish and I remember standing in the open near the lodges at Dandabah, looking West into the rainforest below the little shops. It felt as if the entire forest was one giant living thing - you could hear all the mass of different bird calls coming out of the forest, while the wallabies hopped around by your feet and the currawongs, magpies, kookaburras, king parrots and crimson rosellas ventured out of the rainforest to feast or roost in the Bunya pines.

As plant nuts, 3 of us couldn't wait to go explore and raced off for a "quick walk" in the forest before it got dark. Unfortunately we stopped to look at so many plants along the 2km walk that it got dark and took us about an hour and a half to complete.

I went back there last Easter with friends and family for my 40th birthday, and it was just a lovely weekend. So much so, that I think we are going back for this Easter.

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

timmo wrote:
You lucky bloke!

As I said in a previous post, the Bunya Mountains are one of my favourite places in the world.

I first got captivated when I went up there with Greening Australia on a seed collecting trip about 3 years ago. We arrived early evening around 5ish and I remember standing in the open near the lodges at Dandabah, looking West into the rainforest below the little shops. It felt as if the entire forest was one giant living thing - you could hear all the mass of different bird calls coming out of the forest, while the wallabies hopped around by your feet and the currawongs, magpies, kookaburras, king parrots and crimson rosellas ventured out of the rainforest to feast or roost in the Bunya pines.

As plant nuts, 3 of us couldn't wait to go explore and raced off for a "quick walk" in the forest before it got dark. Unfortunately we stopped to look at so many plants along the 2km walk that it got dark and took us about an hour and a half to complete.

I went back there last Easter with friends and family for my 40th birthday, and it was just a lovely weekend. So much so, that I think we are going back for this Easter.

Hi Timmo .... Yes ... Sometimes we sit in 'Cafe Zac' just on twilight and we think we are the luckiest people in the world as well. Cafe Zac is a part of my deck that we have designated. I have included a pikky of Cafe Zac. haa.

I have also included a map of the local region .. Dandebah is the red dot and my mountain is the yellow dot. Its about 2klm between as the crow flies. But about 10 klms by road.  The ridge that runs between the two was once the Aboriginal track that led into the Bunyas from the Maidenwell area. White people used it in the early days before roads were built. My mountain is right on the 'dog leg' of this no-longer-existing-track. I often sit up there and try to 'feel' the people feasting on the Bunya nuts 1000s and 1000s of years ago. One day I plan to do a 'Time-Team' on the top of my mountain ... haa

I am not a 'plant-nut' yet ... but up on that ridge it is over 820metres above sea level and I have noticed delicate little orchids gripping on to the eucalypts. Quite often this ridge, even my shack, is covered in cloud. No doubt there are rare plants there but I would not recognise, also I am loth to disturb anything up there. The wild pigs do enough of that.

However you can contact me on 0429 505 111 or should you be up that way and should you wish. I will gladly make you a coffee and maybe even bikkies & cakes .. haaa

cool bananas ... an tanks for nice remarks ... greg

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Your post made wonderful reading Mutawintji. I love the Cafe Zac photo. The restaurant is obviously an open plan design and so spacious!

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

Hi Night Parrot ... Actually there is no restaurant, its my shack, however I am a good self taught cook.  I prep my meals in the afternoons. with the meal all prepped around 5 in the evening me and the missus usually sit on that part of the deck, in the photo, we have nicknamed Cafe Zac. And watch the night approach, a gin and tonic, or a red, in hand.

Its a tough life at times .. Haa.

thank you for nice remarks ..

cool bananas ... Greg

darinnightowl
darinnightowl's picture

Hi Greg, love to sit back and read your tales with a touch of b.s. ha ha, as you said you have seen a white hawk type bird hovering - the question I would like ask - was it over a grassed area?  If so, it may be a Black shouldered  kite.   I have never seen a grey goshawk hover.
I have been watching and taking it all in with raptors and anything that moves  or sways for many years now and collared sparrow hawks are a falcon type of hunter and would rather take prey in the air as you said, the wren was perched on the side of a tree that's why I thought  it might be a brown or grey  gossie,  but then again you were there! I was sitting back with a beer in hand enjoying your story.  It's good to have a new birder join the flock that has a eye and pen in hand to describe nature as you see it.  Anyway good luck with looking for that regent's bower.  It will make a great story.

See it!  Hear it!

Mid-North Coast NSW

darinnightowl
darinnightowl's picture

Just double up anyway happy Australia day!

See it!  Hear it!

Mid-North Coast NSW

Araminta
Araminta's picture

I was thinking the same as darinnightowl.

Did it look like the bird in my photo? A Black-shouldered Kite?

M-L

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

DarinNightOwl ... This is prescient, incredible.

Yes .. The Bunyas Mountains, once a single huge shield volcano, consist of two types of forest, as a general rule of thumb.. The southern slopes of each ridge and mountain, heavy, dense, mostly impenetrable rain forest, deep, dark and almost without light. But the northern slopes are narrow leafed ironbark and eucalypt.

But, dotted throughout both forests are strange areas known as 'balds'. They range in size, a large bald being about a hectare. On the balds only native grass grows. The bird was hovering and hunting the bald I was sitting on at the time of observation. It then moved across to another bald.

Further, somewhere on it, despite its glowing white, I think I saw black. But I only saw the bird from underneath. Man ... You know your stuff. Araminta's photo could easily be that bird.

I can see that each time I see a new bird and tick it off in my bird book, from now on I will have to use a pencil. Haahaa

My camera, a DSLR, I refuse ever to switch to auto, it is always in manual, and so focusing, setting speed and aperture, selecting ISO, is somewhat of an effort. Much easier to lay back and 'watch the birds go by' ... I tink dats a line from a song ?

But from now on I will make a supreme effort, overcome sloth, and get a photo of all these new birds. This is a spectacular identification as there was not even a picture. Very impressive ... Thank you !

Cool bananas ... Greg

darinnightowl
darinnightowl's picture

Hi Greg  having different vegetation zones can only mean more birds to enjoy. A junction of two or more habitats is a greater diversity of plants. I can see a picture of iron barks  covered in small leaf orchids,  hear the sound of she oaks as the wind blows and the grassy balds changing colour as the sun sets .
Anyway if you have any room left in storage - A book you might like is tracks , scats and other traces by Barbara Triggs.
It's easy a book to read and you can learn more about what is there when you're not.

See it!  Hear it!

Mid-North Coast NSW

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

Just checked out the reviews on this book. Appears to be EXACTLY what I need. Even to the poop being left on the deck of the shack when I am not there. Quite often a giant 'grassy-fibrous' poop being left in my birdbath ... How does whatever-it-is even get up into the bird bath ?

cool bananas ... Greg

Woko
Woko's picture

Are you sure it's grassy poop, Greg? If it's hairy it could be an owl or raptor pellet.

Was it you who wrote on another thread about the finches eating native grass seeds? I imagine this would have been on one or more of the balds.

Darinnightowl, you make an excellent point about the increase in bird life diversity at the junction of two or more habitats. This may well apply where people live next to nature reserves.

kathiemt
kathiemt's picture

Hi Greg, and welcome. I can see you've been bitten by the bug, like many of us. I loved reading what you have written. It was so succinct and almost like poetry. And so clearly shares what so many of us feel about watching the beautiful birdlife of our country.  Thanks for sharing.

Kathiemt
Selby, Victoria
 

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

Woko wrote:
Are you sure it's grassy poop, Greg? If it's hairy it could be an owl or raptor pellet

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~.

You may be right ... I am definitely going to have to make better observations and take photos.

Woko wrote:
Was it you who wrote on another thread about the finches eating native grass seeds? I imagine this would have been on one or more of the balds

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~.

Yes .. that was me ... It was not on a bald. After months of negotiations with DERM (dept of environmental resources) Local Council, State and Federal Govts (I never realised when I bought inside the park what it meant).. I was allowed to clear a small area of Lantana dominated scrub on my land, it had to be more than 500 metres from my neighbour, the National Park, and that 500 metres was my sacrifice not theirs. . It was the only flattish spot on land that is steep, rugged and crossed by ravines. (useless land to all but me ... Haa) it is over a kilometre long. On the flat spot I built my shack to all specifications and laws that they required. After the bulldozer finished it became overrun with weeds, but strangely, the native grasses that dominate the balds also started to grow. I kept clearing the weeds and the grasses thrived. It is here on my 'Shack Pad' that the little wrens perform their pirouttes just on sunset usually. But this may also be because this is where I sit at sunset after a hard day doing sweet bugger all ... HaaHaa.

cool bananas ... Greg

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

kathiemt wrote:

Hi Greg, and welcome. I can see you've been bitten by the bug, like many of us. I loved reading what you have written. It was so succinct and almost like poetry. And so clearly shares what so many of us feel about watching the beautiful birdlife of our country.  Thanks for sharing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you Kath ... I am truly humbled at the amount of responses, and so kindly, that I have received on this forum since joining a short time ago. I think I have discovered a new Law of Nature ... People who like birds are polite and kindly people to their own species as well.

(Believe me, this is not so on other forums. I was a moderator on a Science forum for many many years where you would expect posts to be objective and full of logical reasoning .. not subjective to personal venom and vitriol. But slowly, the forum became overrun by the latter. At the end there was very little science and a great deal of bigotry and animosity mostly of a spiritual/religious nature... sigh)

Thank you very much for those warm words.

cool bananas ... Greg

kathiemt
kathiemt's picture

lol Greg. I'm afraid all forums fall foul of that type of thing. I am also a moderator of forums to do with my industry (not photography) and it happens there and saddens me greatly. But then, I guess the world is made up of many different types of personalities and that's what makes it so interesting. wink

Birding and bird photography allows me to relax and retreat into the world of nature for periods of time and gives me the release I need from every day things.

Kathiemt
Selby, Victoria
 

darinnightowl
darinnightowl's picture

If you could take a photo of the grass- fibrous pellet or scat with a coin place next to it , maybe we could all try to ID. It.
Yes , Woko , nature reserves and urban development were two zones collide, there will always be winners and losers . Sadly more weeds.

See it!  Hear it!

Mid-North Coast NSW

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

kathiemt wrote:
lol Greg. I'm afraid all forums fall foul of that type of thing. I am also a moderator of forums to do with my industry (not photography) and it happens there and saddens me greatly. But then, I guess the world is made up of many different types of personalities and that's what makes it so interesting. wink

Birding and bird photography allows me to relax and retreat into the world of nature for periods of time and gives me the release I need from every day things.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Kath ... At first I did not get the reference to 'photography'. But then I visited one of your sites/blogs ... wow .. how do you find the time for all the things you do. I suspect we live in similar 'eco-environments'.

My place ranges from 600m to 820m. The last time I went to Melbourne, I decided to approach from a different direction. I can't now remember where we came in but we crossed the range/border at a height of 825m and came down to 'Yarra Dam' from memory ?

Possibly the major difference is that my part of the range is isolated and has retained its 'Jurassic' forest for the most part. The Bunya tree being the star of the show around here. It 'nuts' about every 3 years I am told. I have been here 3 years and it has 'nutted' twice. The nuts are enormous and obviously meant to be swallowed by huge dinosaurs ... haa. However it seems to be thriving without their help.

When it is nutting it becomes dangerous and you can hear the nuts crashing down thru the forest, breaking off branches along the way.

A picture of a nut that I found .... and I made a 'fusion' dish .. Haahaa .. I called it 'Bunya-Thai Coconut Curry'. I think it is a world first. It was surprisingly very successful and I have been asked to make it many times since. The nuts keep for ages and can be used where ever you would use potatoes or rice.

cool bananas ... Greg

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

darinnightowl wrote:

If you could take a photo of the grass- fibrous pellet or scat with a coin place next to it , maybe we could all try to ID.

Next time it appears i will do it.


darinnightowl wrote:
Yes , Woko , nature reserves and urban development were two zones collide, there will always be winners and losers . Sadly more weeds.

There is no urban development , there are 23 blocks here, ranging from 2 to 11 hectares. These were cut out  of the National Park in exchange for another 'private' block that the national Park wished to own (Now ranger headquarters). The 23 blocks are around the base of a single mountain, and one, (mine .. haa) includes the mountain apex/crown. Once a 'dwelling' has been built on one of these blocks and approved, no further dwellings, subdivisions, etc are allowed.

It was the bulldozer that bought the weeds in, but to be truthful the native grasses appear to be easily able to overtake them. A very few of the smaller (2 hectare) blocks have been cleared for hobby farms, but most, nearly all are unoccupied and still in natural state. Most of them are so rugged that it is not possible nor practical to change anything on them apart from a dwelling site.

cool bananas ... greg

kathiemt
kathiemt's picture

Mutawintji wrote:

Hi Kath ... At first I did not get the reference to 'photography'. But then I visited one of your sites/blogs ... wow .. how do you find the time for all the things you do. I suspect we live in similar 'eco-environments'.

My place ranges from 600m to 820m. The last time I went to Melbourne, I decided to approach from a different direction. I can't now remember where we came in but we crossed the range/border at a height of 825m and came down to 'Yarra Dam' from memory ?

A picture of a nut that I found .... and I made a 'fusion' dish .. Haahaa .. I called it 'Bunya-Thai Coconut Curry'. I think it is a world first. It was surprisingly very successful and I have been asked to make it many times since. The nuts keep for ages and can be used where ever you would use potatoes or rice.

cool bananas ... Greg

Yes, that's why I enjoy birding and photography. It's a real outlet from my very busy lifestyle. We had 5 children and I thought once they had grown up and left home life would be slower and more relaxed. Not so!  I've gotten caught up in my own industry (Virtual Assistants) and am President of their NFP here in Australia. I'm also a writer and web designer.  And running a conference in March in Sydney. So life is crazy.  Fridays are my day of relaxation where I do little work and go and have lunch with our eldest daughter and our grandson (#2 grandchild due in 3 weeks). And weekends I garden, go for walks and do photography.

That nut you showed looks like a piece of artwork with painting on it. Pretty amazing looking.

And I have no idea about the height sorry.  I know we live 200mtrs above sea level in Selby and that Ferny Creek is about 400m.  That's all I'm afraid smiley  We're at the foot of the Dandenong Ranges so I love to walk around there but also down at Lystefield Lake which is about 10kms away from us, and lower down.

How did you find my websites?  I can't see that the footer is working at the moment and couldn't see a link to my username. 

Kathiemt
Selby, Victoria
 

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

kathiemt wrote:

How did you find my websites?  I can't see that the footer is working at the moment and couldn't see a link to my username. 

Wow ... question without notice. I'm not sure now .. as I can't find any post where you mentioned it. However looking thru my history log shows that I first visited this site yesterday  CLICK  and from there I just surfed.

But I can't remember where I got the link from... but you must have mentioned your blog in a post somewhere.

cool bananas ... greg

kathiemt
kathiemt's picture

Mutawintji wrote:
kathiemt wrote:

How did you find my websites?  I can't see that the footer is working at the moment and couldn't see a link to my username. 

Wow ... question without notice. I'm not sure now .. as I can't find any post where you mentioned it. However looking thru my history log shows that I first visited this site yesterday  CLICK  and from there I just surfed.

But I can't remember where I got the link from... but you must have mentioned your blog in a post somewhere.

cool bananas ... greg

Yep, I must have done.  So glad you found it.  So that's just one part of my life smiley

Cheers,

Kathiemt
Selby, Victoria
 

Mutawintji
Mutawintji's picture

kathiemt wrote:
So glad you found it.  So that's just one part of my life smiley

Cheers,

Its my conceit to carry a 5DII and a bag of lenses to pretend to the ignorant that I am a serious photographer (please get out of my way). Bullshit of course ... the camera on auto takes better photos than me ..haahaa. But your photos are beautiful and for you there is no need to pretend. I enjoyed.

cool bananas ... Greg

kathiemt
kathiemt's picture

Mutawintji wrote:

Its my conceit to carry a 5DII and a bag of lenses to pretend to the ignorant that I am a serious photographer (please get out of my way). Bullshit of course ... the camera on auto takes better photos than me ..haahaa. But your photos are beautiful and for you there is no need to pretend. I enjoyed.

cool bananas ... Greg

Gee thanks Greg.  It's a passion and I continue to improve because I do the same thing you do. Carry a camera with me everywhere I go... all the time!

Kathiemt
Selby, Victoria
 

Subscribe to me on YouTube