A feast for the eyes

Raptor numbers have dropped to low levels across the plains it seems. My last few excursions have shown up largely Brown Falcons and Nankeen Kestrels, while Black-shouldered Kites appear to have moved off to more fertile hunting grounds. Nonetheless there is always something to tempt the eyes. This juvenile Little Eagle has been hanging around at Joyce’s Creek for a few weeks now. It’s a very handsome bird. The Nankeen Kestrel was one of a family party of three at Rodborough.

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Juvenile Little Eagle, Joyce’s Creek, 9th February 2016

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Nankeen Kestrel, Rodborough, 9th February 2016

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Seen on the perch

It’s been a long while since a dragonfly featured on Natural Newstead. On Sunday evening I was captivated by these Wandering Perchers Diplacodes bipunctata buzzing around a small dam along Spring Hill Track.

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Wandering Percher, Spring Hill Track, 8th February 2016

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To build on the perching theme this male Red-capped Robin gave the birds a look in as well. The colours are there in the drab, dry bush – you just have to search for them!

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Red-capped Robin, Mia Mia Track, 8th February 2016

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Aerial mastery

I’ve been frequenting the area along Mia Mia Track in recent days – the recent rain has brought this area to life and I’ve been treated to a succession of nice observations – Crested Bellbird, Red-capped Robin, Chestnut-rumped Hylacola, Speckled Warbler and Owlet Nightjar. On all visits the unmistakable calls of Rainbow Bee-eaters have provided a constant background soundtrack. Yesterday evening I enjoyed watching a small flock hawking for insects above the firewood coupe between Mia Mia Track and Bell’s Lane Track.

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Recently harvested firewood coupe, Mia Mia Track, Muckleford State Forest, 7th February 2016

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Rainbow Bee-eater in level flight

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That’s how they got their name!

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Arriving at the perch

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One of this season’s breeding adults

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In pursuit of a Cabbage White

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A sigh of relief and a gentle flow

Last week’s downpour has generated a modest flow in the Loddon, gradually filling all the pools in the section between the Muckleford Creek confluence and downstream of the highway bridge. I suspect it hasn’t made it all the way to Cairn Curran as yet. You can almost hear the land sighing with relief!

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The Loddon River at Punt Road Newstead, 6th February 2016

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Downstream at the weir pool

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Wedge-tailed Eagles compared

These images are a little dated – I took them near Picnic Point (Moolort Plains) on the last day of January this year.

They are a follow up to a story of an encounter with a juvenile ‘Wedgie’ at Yandoit around the same time. If you compare the birds in the two posts the contrast between adult and young birds is obvious. Adult Wedge-tailed Eagles are very dark, almost black – while juveniles, immatures and sub-adults sport lighter, golden plumage for up to 5 years.

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Wedge-tailed Eagle (adult), Moolort Plains, 31st January 2016

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Finding some specials #2

My rich vein of form in the Mia Mia continues unabated.

This immature Red-capped Robin was a nice observation – an indication of successful local breeding from a species that is thinly spread throughout the Muckleford bush.

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Red-capped Robin (immature), Mia Mia Track, 3rd February 2016

Australian Owlet-nightjars are supposed to be nocturnal – this one may have been disturbed as I passed nearby. They often sit at hollow openings throughout the day and I’ve frequently disturbed individuals of this species on my wanderings. This one was very cooperative, albeit a bit higher up than I would have preferred. Owlet nightjars are extremely common, but most of them see us I’m sure from their cryptic vantage points without being observed.

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Australian Owlet-nightjar, Mia Mia track, 3rd February 2016

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Finding some specials #1

While birding is almost the complete antithesis to shopping, there is one similarity – from time to time you come across some irresistible specials. When you spot one it makes the whole exercise seem like an absolute bargain.

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Chestnut-Rumped Hylacola, Mia Mia Track, 2nd February 2016

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Male Speckled Warbler, Mia Mia Track, 3rd February 2016

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