In anticipation of migrants …

As the cooler autumn weather encroaches bird activity in the garden is waning a little – some of our usual residents are pictured below.

Over coming weeks I’ll be on the lookout for some of the altitudinal migrants to grace the garden – Eastern Spinebills, Golden Whistlers, Pied Currawongs and White-eared Honeyeaters can all be anticipated.

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Weebill, Newstead, 25th April 2015.

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Weebill amongst the rose thorns.

Fairywren

Male Superb Fairy-wren, Newstead, 25th April 2015.

NHHE

New Holland Honeyeater feeding on Yellow Gum blossom.

Cairn Curran and Tullaroop

A few more shots from visits to both Tullaroop and Cairn Curran Reservoirs last Friday. Both presently offer excellent birding opportunities.

Coots

Eurasian Coots @ Tullaroop Reservoir, 14th April 2015. Part of the raft of ~ 1000 coots takes flight.

Swans

Black Swans @ Tullaroop.

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A few of the flock, including the bird at centre, were making their beautiful ‘musical bugle’ call.

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Great Egret @ Picnic Point, Cairn Curran, 24th April 2015.

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The egret called as it took flight.

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Whiter than white – overexposed as usual!

Gotcha!

The Restless Flycatcher featured in a recent post about the Mia Mia. Proof of their versatility and wide habitat preferences is exemplified by this note about an encounter yesterday at Picnic Point on the shores of Cairn Curran. A pair was spotted feeding in a copse of deciduous trees, the insect-like buzz call announcing their presence. I watched on as one of the pair quietly searched for insects among the bare, pale branches of a small tree. Over the course of a few minutes a number of insects, including a moth, were plucked from the bark.

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Restless Flycatcher, Picnic Point, 24th April 2015.

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Gotcha!

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Capture was followed by some vigorous shaking before the body was consumed – then the wings were discarded.

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A nice close up!

PS: Any ideas on the identity of the moth gratefully accepted!

The moth has been identified as a Red-Lined Geometrid Crypsiphona ocultaria – many thanks to Jenny Mortlock.

Spoonbill studies

The Yellow-billed Spoonbill is rather unremarkable when seen from a distance. Up close however is a different story.

They possess a number of striking features, including neck and back plumes, together with distinctive patterning on the bill and around the face. This series highlights the beauty of this common local water bird.

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Detail of the face and bill.

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Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Cairn Curran Reservoir, 24th April 2015.

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Black tips visible on some of the primaries.

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The dark feather vanes are noticeable when back-lit.

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Black plumes emerging from the back with straw-coloured neck plumes visible in this study.

Ducks and more galore at Tullaroop

Just a little further west of Newstead than Cairn Curran, Tullaroop Reservoir is not a regular haunt of mine. Late this afternoon I found time to pay a visit and was well rewarded. A huge raft of Eurasian Coots, close to 1000, was sheltering near the northern wall, together with a large number of Black Swans, perhaps 80 in total. Small groups of Australian Shelducks were arriving back from the plains to join Grey Teal and Black Ducks on the water. It was a great sight.

This pair of Pacific Black Ducks caught my eye as they wheeled overhead.

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Pacific Black Ducks, Tullaroop Reservoir, 24th April 2015.

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The deep, resonant quack … quack, announced their arrival.

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Putting the brakes on!

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A beautiful bird is the Pacific Black Duck.

Weekend left-overs

It’s been slim pickings with a change in the weather. Here are some left-overs from last weekend around Newstead.

BlackSwans

Black Swans, Cairn Curran Reservoir, 18th April 2015.

CrimsonRosella

Immature Crimson Rosella visiting our Wyndham Street garden.

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Little Raven flight silhouette

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II

LR3

III

 

In the heathy dry

Rain – what a nice surprise!

With 14mm over the past few days doing little but settling the dust I was interested to see if there had been any impact in the bush. This spot along Demo Track has an excellent stand of Heathy Dry Forest – it’s a terrific spring wildflower location.

HDF

Heathy Dry Forest along Demo Track, 18th April 2015.

Alas, no orchids, but the mosses and lichens have benefited from some moisture.

Lichen

Which lichen?

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Which moss?

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Ditto … clearly not my strong suit!

I was surprised by the number of Golden Orb-weavers Nephila edulis – they were the only real sign of animal life.

OrbWeaver

Golden Orb-weaver with a collection of prey.