Secrets at Butterfield Reserve

Butterfield Reserve is a gem of a place in the Dandenong Ranges that I have driven past numerous times without knowing it existed. Luckily I heard about it, found a single car park at the end of a muddy track and went walking with my Blundstone boots earning their keep with every step.

I was surrounded by tall eucalypts, a dense mid-storey, plenty of ground-cover and enough birdsong to keep me smiling. Two of the birds I photographed are described as ‘secretive’.


Eastern Whipbird (Psophodes olivaceus)


The male Eastern Whipbird has an amazing call. His long drawn-out whistle seemed to be coming from ground level but the following loud whip-crack echoed through the canopy. His bill is wide open during the entire call. The female often answers with an immediate “choo choo”.


Eastern Whipbird


The above image was taken during the whip-crack and I like the way his chest and throat seem to show the effort of the call. The tip of his long tail can just be seen on the other side of the curl of bark. White cheek patches are absent in fledgling Eastern Whipbirds and gradually grow larger as they mature.


Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata)


If you are lucky enough to spot a Bassian Thrush they are likely to stay quite still and rely on camouflage to keep them safe. They have heavily scalloped feathering and a white eye-ring and prefer densely vegetated, damp gullies where they scratch about in the leaf litter for invertebrates. The dampness of this area is obvious with beads of water on the grass stems.

Happy birding, Kim



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