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
It’s been some time since I’ve wandered across to Rotunda Park – one of the best birding spots in the district.
A flock of White-browed Babblers allowed me to enjoy extremely close-up views, while the Common Bronzewings were taking advantage of some scattered seed.
White-browed babbler, Rotunda Park, 10th September 2017
Male Common Bronzewing
Female Common Bronzewing
Late yesterday afternoon I took a stroll at Cairn Curran in search of sea-eagles.
Alas, not an eagle in sight but a party of four Whistling Kites were patrolling the shores on a gathering wind.
Whistling Kite, Cairn Curran @ Welshmans reef, 11th September 2016
For the past week a Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo has been calling regularly throughout the night – its familiar descending whistle is not exactly a lullaby!
There have been quite a few dashing about the garden during daylight hours, either chasing each other or being ‘evicted’ by wary wattlebirds and honeyeaters. Meanwhile there is much to see only metres from the front door every day.
Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo, Wyndham Street Newstead, 9th September 2017
New Holland Honeyeater feeding on Eucalyptus caesia
Red Wattlebirds are feeding young in nests at the moment …. hence they are seen often at ground level chasing insects
Female Spotted Pardalote
I was delighted yesterday to come an absent friend … the Southern Whiteface – a pair at the Newstead Cemetery in the company of Superb Fairy-wrens and Yellow-rumped Thornbills.
A charming woodland species, the Southern Whiteface has declined in the Newstead district and it’s two years since I last observed one – near where Muckleford Creek joins the Loddon River. It often mingles with thornbills and wrens, feeding almost exclusively on the ground. The white tufts either side of the bill are a distinguishing feature. I’m hoping for a comeback!
Male Superb Fairy-wren, Newstead Cemetery, 9th September 2017
Along with most of our other local residents, Galahs have commenced their spring breeding.
This female and its partner have secured a nest site high up in an old dead eucalypt on the Moolort Plains – a favoured site that has been used regularly over the years.
Female Galah at the nest hollow, Moolort Plains, 1st September 2017
The nest tree – looking north-east towards Tarrengower
The female arriving back at the nest
Watching Australian Pelicans is always rewarding. When the birds are relaxed and roosting they will regularly perform a series of stretching exercises with their bill that are designed to maintain the gular pouch in supple and flexible condition. This behaviour is shared by all of the different species of pelicans, of which there are eight worldwide.
Australian Pelicans, Cairn Curran, 1st September 2017