Quietly, by the river bank

The Rainbow Bee-eaters have come to earth.

Watching a couple of pairs along the river the evening before last, I observed one female descend to the area in front of its nest site. A bout of digging in loose sand below the nest was followed by a rapid entry into the tunnel. Both pairs were seen huddling close together on nearby perches. I suspect egg-laying has commenced.

Rainbow Bee-eaters (female at left), Loddon River @ Newstead, 20th November 2017

Rainbow Bee-eater (male)

Female Rainbow Bee-eater at the nest site

Masked Lapwing

Nankeen Night-heron

Weight of numbers

This tiny bush pool in the Rise and Shine is the domain of Fuscous Honeyeaters at present. Even the larger and more aggressive Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters are well and truly outnumbered, while other species, such as the Red-rumped Parrots and Dusky Woodswallows (pictured yesterday) just have to queue up and hope for an opportunity.

Fuscous Honeyeater on Yellow Gum sapling, Rise and Shine, 19th November 2017

Fuscous Honeyeaters at the pool

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater

II

100 Fuscous Honeyeaters, then …

… patience was rewarded.

Dusky Woodswallow, Rise and Shine, 19th November 2017

II

Red-rumped Parrot (male)

II

III

All creatures …

… great and small can be found along the Loddon River.

As I lowered my gaze from this Great Egret soaring above the river, the sight of these tiny Willie Wagtail nestlings provided a nice juxtaposition.

Great Egret, Loddon River @ Newstead, 15th November 2017

II

III

Willie Wagtail nest with three fluffy occupants

Possum magic

I don’t do much night photography but it’s always fun. Last night, a brief visit to Rotunda Park produced a suite of opportunities to observe and photograph some of the resident Brush-tailed Possums.

The abundance of ‘brushies’, along with Ring-tailed Possums, Sugar Gliders and rabbits is a good reason for the Barking Owls to stay around over the summer.

Brush-tailed Possum, Rotunda Park Newstead, 17th November 2017

II

Barking Owl, Rotunda Park Newstead, 17th November 2017

Have you seen this bird … in Newstead?

I’m conscious that I’m skating on thin ice with this post.

Natural Newstead has a strict 15 km ‘rule’ which means that natural history events that fall outside this range, no matter how fascinating, are essentially ‘out of bounds’. The interpretation of the ‘rule’ is of course at the discretion of the editor!

This spring has seen an influx of Scarlet Honeyeaters into parts of Victoria where this beautiful bird is rarely seen, even prompting a recent article in the Melbourne Age. Locally, at least to my knowledge, they have been reported in Maldon, Campbells Creek, Fryerstown and Castlemaine. Last weekend I heard one singing magnificently in the centre of Castlemaine outside the IGA!

The bird pictured below was photographed late this afternoon in a wonderful native garden in Castlemaine. Frustratingly, and somewhat surprisingly, they don’t seem to have made it to Newstead yet … I’d love to hear if anyone has seen one inside the ‘circle’.

Male Scarlet Honeyeater, Castlemaine, 16th November 2017

II

III

IV

No birds today …

… but there was 10 mm of beautiful, drenching rain!

You could hear the bush sighing with relief.

A brief visit to Demo Track found Red-anther Wallaby-grass Rytidosperma pallidum in great shape. Also known as Silver-top Wallaby-grass and revised from Chionochloa pallida and Joycea pallida this local native species is great habitat for Painted Button-quail.

Red-anther Wallaby-grass, Demo Track, 15th November 2017

II

III

IV

V