Back from a break

After a brilliant trip away it was nice to head out to familiar haunts yesterday afternoon. A Great Crested Grebe at Picnic Point was the highlight along with a cooperative Australian Pelican.

Great Cormorant with Little Black Cormorants, Cairn Curran, 19th October 2017

Great Crested Grebe @ Picnic Point

Australian Pelican #1

Australian Pelican #2

Tuan Talk

This Thursday evening 19th October Newstead Landcare Group is hosting a presentation by Jess Lawton. Jess is studying the Tuan or Brush-tailed Phascogale, a threatened and declining species of the Box-Ironbark country. Jess will describe her research for a Ph.D. which aims is to see if the occurrence of the Brush-tailed Phascogale in a modified landscape relates to patch size and patch connectedness.

 

Tuan in nest box at Welshmans Reef photo by Jess LawtonTuan in nest box at Welshmans Reef, photo by Jess Lawton.

Jess’ talk will start at 8pm at Newstead Community Centre and go til 9pm with plenty of time for your questions. All are welcome to attend! Gold coin donations would be appreciated.

The presentation will be followed by brief AGM and supper.

 

Greenhouse as habitat

Sometimes in my native nursery at Newstead the plants provide habitat before they even leave the greenhouse! This morning I found a 4cm long, smooth frog. Looking in Chris Tzaros’ ‘Wildlife of the Box-Ironbark Country’ I think it is Southern Brown Tree Frog, but am happy to be corrected.  The inner thighs are orangey in colour and eyes have slits not a crosses. I am more certain of the plant id: Montia australasica (White Purslane).little frog in pot of Montia australasica - White Purslane, 11 Oct 2017

Holding the fort

Subscribers to Natural Newstead blog must be wondering what’s happening in the bird world while Geoff Park is away. Well at my place in Palmerston Street I’m thrilled to be watching a Red Wattlebird sitting on the nest only 2m off the ground, in a Feathery Hop-bush. The nesting bird flies up to the Yellow Box tree above when I get too close, so here is a quick shot of the nest and now I will leave it in peace. Red Wattlebirds have been a constant presence in my garden, but this is the first time in my 22 years in Newstead that I’ve had the privilege of seeing them build a nest, line it, and sit in it.Red Wattlebird eggs in nest in Dodonaea sinuolata 9 Oct 2017

A holiday break

This pair of White-faced Herons are nest-building near the Newstead Cemetery.

I’ll be keen to see how they’ve progressed in a few weeks when I’m back from an extended break.

White-faced Heron, Newstead Cemetery, 22nd September 2017

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What the eye cannot see

Fairy Martins are partial migrants with most birds leaving central Victoria in autumn, returning again to breed each Spring.

Culverts and bridges are favourite sites and a small colony nests most years at the Newstead cemetery. Watching and endeavouring to capture their aerial antics is challenging and rewarding, especially when you see one in the act of successfully snaring a flying insect.

Fairy Martin, Newstead Cemetery, 22nd September 2017

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‘Perfect’ habitat

Over the years I’ve often driven past this small patch of bush on the Newstead-Daylesford Road – it’s just east of one of my favourite birding spots, the Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve.

What is most striking about the spot is the damage done to the area from gold mining, with metres of topsoil eroded and straggly Grey Box and Yellow Gum rooted into the subsoil. I’m glad I stopped the other day as I was rewarded with a good election of birds. In addition to those picture here there was: Brown Treecreeper, Mistletoebird, Yellow-faced Honeyeater and Grey Shrike-thrush.

Brown Thornbill, Clydesdale, 9th September 2017

The legacy of gold mining hasn’t completely diminished the habitat value of this patch

Jacky Winter

Little Eagle