Australasian Grebes are wary birds.
I often come across them on both small farm/bush dams and on larger wetlands.
This one, a non-breeding adult, was observed yesterday on a small farm dam beside Cairn Curran Reservoir. Approaching close and watching quietly from the car the grebe eventually became comfortable with my presence as it alternated between feeding and preening. This sequence captures a brief bout of wing-stretching – a behaviour that I’ve seen but not photographed previously.
Australasian Grebe, Cairn Curran Reservoir, 27th May 2017
Great Egrets are a common sighting at Cairn Curran – I’ve seen individual birds regularly over the past few months.
Great Egret, Cairn Curran Reservoir, 26th May 2017
Their smaller relative, the Little Egret Egretta garzetta, is an entirely different story. Over the past ten years I can only recall seeing it once, and adult fishing near the dam wall at Tullaroop Reservoir. Yesterday afternoon after photographing the Great Egret (above) I spotted a small, white ‘heron’ feeding in the shallows – sure enough it was a juvenile Little Egret. This species is renowned for its quick, dashing movements when feeding – I was fortunate to capture few images before it flew off across the lake. I certainly hope to spend some time with it soon in better light.
Little Egret … only the second I’ve seen locally in the last ten years!
A fortnight ago I went searching for Autumn Greenhoods Pterostylis revoluta along Mia Mia track … without success. By late May I had expected their season to have finished so it was lovely to find a few on a walk in the same area earlier in the week. This magnificent orchid is common in the Newstead bush.
Autumn Greenhood, Mia Mia Track, 22nd May 2017
It was a marvellous morning for birds – Buff-rumped Thornbills, Weebill, Varied Sitella, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped Hylacola (calling) and the highlight – a party of Speckled Warblers! The arrival of a male Collared Sparrowhawk triggered a pause in proceedings as a mixed feeding flock shifted from foraging to ‘freezing’ in an instant.
Male Collared Sparrowhawk
Speckled Warbler … looking slightly nervous!
In recent days a few adult Eastern Spinebills have been visiting the front garden attracted by the bird bath and the flowering grevilleas. It is my ambition to capture an image of a hovering spinebill sipping nectar from one of the flowers … stay tuned!
Adult Eastern Spinebill, Wyndham Street Newstead, 20th May 2017
Two of the common species of thornbills to be found locally are the Brown Thornbill and the Buff-rumped Thornbill. Both can be fund in the same location, but they tend to utilise different habitat strata.
The Buff-rumped Thornbill generally feeds on or close to the ground while the Brown Thornbill favors the shrub layer – especially areas with Gorse Bitter-pea and Rough Wattle. Both are inquisitive and engaging little birds.
Buff-rumped Thornbill, Bruce Track, 22nd May 2017
This set is from an interlude on Mia Mia Road at the weekend.
Despite the grey, overcast conditions the birds were especially active around a patch of Blackberries and Sweet Briar … common woodland birds don’t read the script about the importance of habitat quality I’m afraid!
Also spotted but not photographed were: Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Red-browed Firetail, Grey Currawong and Grey Fantail.
New Holland Honeyeater, Mia Mia Road, 20th May 2017
This set is from a visit to the lake a week ago … what the camera didn’t capture was a pair of Great Crested Grebes and a White-breasted Sea-eagle. You’ll have to take my word on the more exotic sightings!
Black Swan, Cairn Curran, 13th May 2017