One species that has been conspicuously absent during a wet winter and spring has been the Great Egret. During our last wet period (2010-11) individuals could be seen reliably on larger wetlands and around the shores of Cairn Curran, but not so until recently.
It was no surprise though to finally observe one at Cairn Curran last week, a lone bird fishing in the shallows near the highway bridge at Joyce’s Creek. On Sunday evening I spent a glorious half-hour with one (possibly the same individual) at Picnic Point.
Great Egret, Picnic Point, 26th February 2017
Brown-headed Honeyeater, Pound Lane Newstead, 22nd February 2017
Diamond Firetail (female)
White-plumed Honeyeater (imm.)
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (imm.)
Australian Black Duck, Pound Lane, 22nd February 2017
Diamond Firetails – adult (in moult) and juvenile
Male Red-rumped Parrot
As mentioned in an earlier post this small dam on Pound Lane has proved a nice spot to while away an hour during the week. A procession of woodland birds visit the pool in the late afternoon – what has been especially pleasing is the number of juvenile birds – Diamond Firetail, Dusky Woodswallow, Yellow-tufted and White-plumed Honeyeaters in good numbers and evidence of a successful breeding season just gone.
White-browed Babbler, Pound Lane, 19th February 2017
Juvenile Dusky Woodswallow
Diamond Firetail (adult female)
Juvenile Diamond Firetail
For as long as we’ve lived in town Red Wattlebirds have pretty much ruled the roost in our garden. They will guard areas of flowering trees, such as the large Yellow Gums and Red Ironbarks in our yard and surrounding streets. Smaller nectarivorous birds, such as various honeyeaters and lorikeets are repeatedly harassed and chased away from blossoms by the large and aggressive wattlebirds. That has been the way things operate in town.
With the recent arrival of some moderate sized flocks of Rainbow Lorikeets it appears the ‘natural order’ of things may be shifting.
A heavy flowering of Drooping Mistletoe in the Yellow Gums is attracting the Rainbow Lorikeets in numbers and they seem to be winning the battle with the resident wattlebirds. Even though the wattlebirds can successfully chase off a lorikeet the sheer weight of numbers is enabling the small groups of lorikeets to successfully guard the clumps of mistletoe, much to the annoyance of the wattlebirds.
Rainbow Lorikeet feeding in Drooping Mistletoe, Newstead, 21st February 2017
The Red Wattlebird’s lament
Over the past few evenings I’ve been visiting a small dam along Pound Lane, on the outskirts of Newstead.
It’s proved to be an absolute hot spot, with a bevy of woodland birds streaming in to drink in the late afternoon – Diamond Firetail, White-browed Babbler, Sacred Kingfisher and Dusky Woodswallows have been some highlights, along with the usual honeyeaters (Yellow-tufted, White-pumed, Brown-headed and the odd Black-chinned and Fuscous).
Waterbirds have also been a pleasure to observe – an immature Rufous Night-heron, White-faced Heron and this majestic White-necked (Pacific) Heron performing a balancing act on a dead stag. Click here for some larger images.
White-necked Heron, Pound Lane Newstead, 21st February 2017
This young Sacred Kingfisher is looking north … about to follow the migratory path of its ancestors along the Great Dividing Range, perhaps as far as New Guinea or even the Solomon Islands. I’ve seen quite a number of immature birds over recent weeks but no adults. Perhaps they have already left. How the young kingfishers know what path to take is another of nature’s great mysteries.
Sacred Kingfisher (immature), Pound Lane Newstead, 20th February 2017