Visiting the secret pool

The following sequence shows a succession of honeyeaters, four different species, visiting a wonderful watering hole at the Rise and Shine.


White-naped Honeyeater, Rise and Shine, 28th July 2014.


One of two Yellow-faced Honeyeaters that dropped by during my short visit.


Small flock of Fuscous Honeyeaters visiting the pool.


A yellow-tufted Honeyeater – striking in the late afternoon sunshine.

Unusually, the waterhole is situated about 8 metres from the ground, in the fork of a beautiful Yellow Box Eucalyptus melliodora. I’ve known about the site since we discovered it on one of last years bird photography workshops. It’s a magnet for honeyeaters and rosellas especially, after rain.


Yellow Box at Rise and Shine – the secret pool is in the fork of the largest tree – about 8 metres above the ground.

Coracina papuensis

The White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina papuensis is a handsome and moderately common woodland resident around Newstead. The Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve at Clydesdale is a place where it can be see reliably, breeding there each year.


White-bellied-Cuckoo-shrike, Rise and Shine, 27th July 2014.

I spotted this pair earlier in the week, fluttering and calling in a pre-nuptial display, amongst the Long-leaf Box trees at Zumpe’s Lane. They have lovely, lyrical calls – more melodic than their larger relative, the Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, which can be found in the same habitat.


I’m always in intrigued to learn about the derivation of scientific names. The genus Coracina, which includes the cuckoo-shrikes and cicada-birds, contains more than 40 species found from Africa, through to its stronghold in Australasia and the Pacific Islands. Coracina is Latin for raven-black – many of the species in this genus are dark coloured. Papuensis, like many species epithets provides a geographical descriptor – the White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike has a number of races, or sub-species, extending north from our continent to Indonesia, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. It was first described in 1788 from a specimen collected in the Papuan region.

There you go!


White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes are quite similar to the larger Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, however the black markings don’t extend behind the eye in Coracina papuensis.


One of my absolute favourite woodland birds.

The kite story continued …

Following on from yesterdays story regarding Black-shouldered Kites at Glengower, here is what happened next.

Both immature kites perched at the top of a dead pine, calling loudly to the adults, one of which still had the unfortunate mouse.


Immature Black-shouldered Kites, Glengower, 27th July 2014.

One of the immatures flew up behind the circling adult, which passed the prey over … I was too slow to capture the actual transfer!

Just prior to the pass over.

Just prior to the pass over.


Adult Black-shouldered Kite, Glengower, 27th July 2014.

The youngster then appeared to try and swallow the mouse, eventually returning to the perch, rejoining its sibling.








The immature kites back at the perch.

What a privilege to witness another of nature’s little cameos!

Right place … right time!

I went tree-planting today and decided to throw the camera in … just in case. It proved to be a good move!

The sky above the planting site at Glengower was a playground for a family of Black-shouldered Kites. Here is a selection of images showing the parents apparently helping the youngsters learn how to deal with a mouse.


Black-shouldered Kites, Glengower, 27th July 2014.


The two youngsters at left shrieking at the adult with the mouse.


Immature Black-shouldered Kites have distinctive rufous plumage around the neck and breast.


The next instalment shows what happened next …

For the record …

Crimson Rosellas are checking out potential nesting sites – the chimney of the Uniting Church next door is looking promising.


Crimson Rosella, Newstead, 25th July 2014.


Both individuals were in part-immature plumage

The Loddon River has been flowing steadily for the past few weeks. It hasn’t been a wet winter, but a succession of gentle falls have maintained a healthy flow. Cairn Curran Reservoir is now up to 61.3%, down 6.4% on the same time last year.


The Loddon River @ Punt Road, 26th July 2014.


Further downstream, just above the weir.

Because it’s Friday …

Opportunities to get out with the camera this week have been pretty limited.

This Brown Falcon was spotted on a trip back from a work appointment at Creswick – perched in the same spot where I encountered it last weekend. Clearly it loves technology!


Brown Falcon, Moolort Plains, 23rd July 2014.

This Eastern Yellow Robin was one of a party of three, seen near the intersection of Sullivan’s and Spring Hill Tracks (Google Maps reference) in the Muckleford State Forest. This is a top spot for robins – Hooded, Red-capped and Scarlet Robins can all been found in this area.


Eastern Yellow Robin, Spring Hill Track Muckleford State Forest, 20th July 2014.


A delightful bird … in a classic pose.

Grevilleas are great

We planted a bunch of different Grevilleas last winter in the hope of attracting more honeyeaters to the front garden. They are working a treat, especially for Eastern Spinebills, which suffer constant chasing from larger nectar feeders such as Red Wattlebirds and New Holland Honeyeaters. The spinebills dash in for a quick feed, hiding amongst the foliage and escaping attention as they sip happily on nectar … at least for a short while. Eventually they are discovered and zip off to find another quiet spot to fuel up.


Eastern Spinebill and Grevillea, Newstead, 22nd July 2014.


The Grevilleas provide good camouflage for the tiny spinebills.


This New Holland Honeyeater moved in and chased off the spinebill.


New Holland Honeyeater on ‘Tucker Time Fruit Box’ a Grevillea lanigera x rosmarinifolia hybrid.