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.

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

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

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Small flock of Fuscous Honeyeaters visiting the pool.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I

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II

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III

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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Crimson Rosella, Newstead, 25th July 2014.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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

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The Grevilleas provide good camouflage for the tiny spinebills.

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

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