The phone rang … it was ‘Dook’ – like myself an aficionado of the local birdlife.
He was ringing to report a raptor feeding on a sheep carcass in a paddock west of the Loddon River. I duly ‘popped over’ to confirm the identity – a Whistling Kite. This species has flexible and varied dietary habits – feeding on rabbits, birds, rodents and carrion. Thanks again Dook!
Whistling Kite, Newstead, 17th July 2016
Along with the Loddon River, Joyce’s and Middle Creeks are the main tributaries that drain into Cairn Curran Reservoir. These latter two small streams converge just before entering the storage near Plaistow. In recent years they have barely flowed, apart from the big wet of 2010-11, so it great to witness a steady flow this winter.
Joyce’s Creek near Plaistow, 17th July 2016
A few ‘commoners’ were sighted during a visit at the weekend, and while they don’t quite match the Golden-headed Cisticolas they a worthy of a quick glance!
Australasian Grebe in winter garb
A visit to Joyce’s Creek yesterday turned up an unexpected delight. While watching Brown Falcons and Whistling Kites upstream from the highway bridge I heard the unmistakable ‘bhzzt … lek’ calls of a Golden-headed Cisticola – at least two birds were calling along the margins of the creek.
Golden-headed Cisticola habitat, Joyce’s Creek, 16th July 2016
Until yesterday I’ve never managed any half-decent photographs of this species. They are widespread in the district and can be seen, or more often heard, in rank roadside grassy areas, on the margins of wetlands, crops and as in this case along waterways. They are especially fond of open sites with tall grasses, thistles and rushes.
Golden-headed Cisticola @ Joyce’s Creek
Males develop a golden cap during the breeding season – I suspect the bird pictured is a male as it was calling from exposed perches, but then again males have shorter tails than females and this bird has quite a long tail! If it is a male the boldly streaked crown will be transformed to gold in coming weeks. These birds will almost certainly breed along Joyce’s Creek – the nest is an intricately woven dome of grass, spiders web, plant down and leaves with a side entrance. What a delightful bird!
Classic cisticola pose – unfortunately a distant shot!
by Patrick Kavanagh
The rain as enlivened the miniature world of the forest floor at our place as the fungi fruit and the mosses and lichens come to life. A macro lens is a great tool for discovering the hidden delights of our bush. These photos were all taken within a space of a few metres. Any help with identifying the mosses or fungi would be greatly appreciated.
… were the highlight of a late afternoon stroll today.
A pair of Brown Thornbills were frolicking amongst the Gorse Bitter-pea east of Demo Track.
Brown Thornbill, east of demo Track, 13th July 2016
Underfoot the first Scented Sundew flowers of the season were stirring.
Scented Sundew colony
Scented Sundew flower about to burst
A wet winter … great to see that such a phenomenon is still possible!
As the rain tumbles down, the river rises and the bush is gearing up for spring – nature going about her business.
Earthstars Geastrum sp., Mia Mia Track, 10th July 2016
Greenwood orchid rosettes
Powerful Owls are in the breeding business …
… while Tawny Frogmouths are contemplating nest building sites
What a great sight, the Loddon River almost ‘running a banker’. With Cairn Curran at less than 12%, good rain over the next month should see a decent reversal in fortunes.
The Loddon River at Punt Road, 8th July 2016
The sunshine yesterday afternoon brought some nice birds out by the river too – Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, White-browed Scrub-wrens (chasing courtship behaviour), Golden Whistler and Red-browed Firetails.
Male Spotted Pardalote
Female Spotted Pardalote
The Loddon flows