A short galah story

I meant to post this a while back … better late than never.

This snippet started on the 9th September when I spotted a Galah carrying a spray of eucalypt leaves – out on the plains west of Picnic Point. Galahs line their nests with gum leaves – this one, a female, was on a mission it seems.

Galahwithspray1

Galah with spray of Grey Box leaves, Moolort Plains, 9th August 2014.

Galahwithspray2

Heading to the hollow.

A couple of weeks later I encountered the pair, this time visiting their nest site in the same dead tree made ‘famous’ by my favourite Nankeen Kestrels. While I didn’t actually see them enter the hollow it was evident from their behaviour that they were tending an active nest.

Galah

At the nest site, 23rd August 2014.

Galah3

Female Galahs have a pink eye ring.

Galah2

Happy landings ahead!

A constant source of amusement

NHHE2

New Holland Honeyeater, Wyndham St Newstead, 31st August 2014.

NHHE3

The headless honeyeater …

NHHE1

… revealed!

The end of winter

It feels like it’s been a cold winter – the warmth of early spring is just around the corner. I’m looking forward to the arrival of woodswallows, rainbow birds and a kingfisher or two along the Loddon.

In the meantime, here is a selection of images from yesterday, to mark the change of season.

Lapwing

Masked Lapwing, Codrington Street Newstead, 30th August 2014.

CrestedP1

Crested Pigeon – an aerial view.

CrimsonRosella

Crimson Rosellas are nesting in hollows in our local elms at the moment.

HBCgarden

Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoos have been calling enthusiastically over the past week … even in the middle of the night.

‘Tis the season

At least for these magpies it appears the season isn’t over just yet.

Maggie1

Australian Magpie on the nest, Wyndham St Newstead, 30th August 2014.

However, I do detect a slight hint of disappointment …

Maggie2

Handsome but forlorn!

Cuckoos, caterpillars and thornbills

It’s been an interesting few days in the garden – Red Wattlebirds nesting, Common Bronzewings have returned and some nice spring migrants showing up.

This Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo announced its presence with repeated plaintive calls from a series of high points around the house.

HBC1

Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo, Newstead, 27th August 2014.

This species often parasitises fairy-wrens and thornbills, so downtown Newstead offers good opportunities. Cuckoos love eating caterpillars – these images of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill dispatching one while the bronze-cuckoo called above seemed apt.

YRT1

Yellow-rumped Thornbill with caterpillar, Newstead, 27th August 2014.

YRT2

Dispatched in a blur!

YRT3

Finishing off the job.

Wattlebird family

A planted Wirilda Acacia retinodes in the yard beside the house is home to a duo of newly hatched Red Wattlebirds. I was alerted to the nest by the parents, disappearing into the top of the dense shrub on a regular basis as I sat outside having lunch.

RWBN1

Adult Red Wattlebird with a bill full of insects, Newstead, 27th August 2014.

Both adults paid visits every five minutes or so, sometimes with a meal of insects, with nectar on other occasions. Red Wattlebirds dominate our yard – they were a bit jumpy yesterday when a lone Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo appeared searching for hosts. The combined efforts of the wattlebirds and New Holland Honeyeaters eventually evicted the cuckoo.

RWBN2

The brush-tipped tongue is visible in this shot.

RWBN3

One of the nestlings squawking for another meal.

RWBN4

One of the parents sitting later in the afternoon – sheltering the youngsters from the sun.

Spring bird photography workshops with Chris Tzaros

STOP PRESS: Spring workshops now fully booked. Contact geoff.park@naturaldecisions.com.au to book for Autumn 2015.

Chris Tzaros and I are hosting two bird photography workshops this Spring, in Newstead. Both workshops will be held on Saturday 11th October, the first for early birds (7.30am – 12.30pm), with the afternoon session commencing at 1.30pm and concluding at 6.30pm.

Each workshop is limited to 10 participants at a cost of $100. You can email me, geoff.park@naturaldecisions.com.au  to book a place in one of these highly regarded workshops – please indicate your preferred time slot.

Swift Parrot, Mia Mia Track Muckleford State Forest. Image by Chris Tzaros.

Swift Parrot, Mia Mia Track Muckleford State Forest. Image by Chris Tzaros.

Each session will include a 90 minute illustrated talk, ‘Bird Photography: Tips & Techniques’, together with a field session in the local bush. The workshops cater for a range of participants, from budding photographers to those with more experience wishing to improve their techniques and field craft. As they say … book early to avoid disappointment!

Click here for more information.

Red-capped Robin - Chris Tzaros

Red-capped Robin. Image by Chris Tzaros.

Striated Pardalotes. Image by Chris Tzaros.

Striated Pardalotes. Image by Chris Tzaros.