A call from Dook

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!

WKS2

Whistling Kite, Newstead, 17th July 2016

WKS1

II

WKS3

III

Along Joyce’s Creek

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

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!

BlackDucks

Black Ducks

AG

Australasian Grebe in winter garb

EC

Eurasian Coot

LBC

Long-billed Corellas

A golden surprise

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.

GHC7

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.

GHC2

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!

GHC3

II

GHC5

III

GHC6

IV

GHC4

V

GHC1

Classic cisticola pose – unfortunately a distant shot!

Miniworlds with macro

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.

Fungus gills stack 1

I

moss and feather stack 1

II

Moss stack 1 crop

III

moss and seed pod stack 1

IV

Fungus landscape stack 1

V

Fungus gills stack 2 crop

VI

Sundews and thornbills …

… 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.

BT1

Brown Thornbill, east of demo Track, 13th July 2016

BT2

II

BT3

III

Underfoot the first Scented Sundew flowers of the season were stirring.

Sundew2

Scented Sundew colony

Sundew1

Scented Sundew flower about to burst

The natural order of things

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

Earthstars Geastrum sp., Mia Mia Track, 10th July 2016

Greenhoods

Greenwood orchid rosettes

PO

Powerful Owls are in the breeding business …

TF

… while Tawny Frogmouths are contemplating nest building sites

Going with the flow

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.

LoddonRiver

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.

SP1

Male Spotted Pardalote

SP2

Female Spotted Pardalote

WBSR1

White-browed Scrub-wren

WBSR2

II

Loddonflow2

The Loddon flows