About fifteen years ago I had the great fortune to become a trustee of the Norman Wettenhall Foundation, a environmental philanthropic organisation dedicated to supporting projects that enhance and maintaining the vitality and diversity of the Australian natural living environment.
The foundation was established by Norman Wettenhall in 1997 as the culmination of his lifelong love affair with the Australian bush and the birds and plants that inhabit it. For me personally its been a great privilege to be involved with a group of like minded people to continue the work of the NWF.
We like to fund small groups where our grants can make a big difference.
On 5th June, World Environment Day, we are holding a special supporter evening (5.30pm – 8pm) at Donkey Wheel House (details below), entitled ‘The Evolving Nature of Nature Journals’. Please consider coming along to learn more about the work of the Foundation – it would be terrific to have your support.
You can book online at http://www.trybooking.com/133292 or by contacting Beth Mellick, Executive Director, The Norman Wettenhall Foundation (details in the invitation above).
What started out looking like a pretty lean flowering season isn’t going too badly. While the local Grey Box was less than prolific, Yellow Gum (White Ironbark) Eucalyptus leucoxylon is flowering well now and attracting the usual hordes of nectar-dependent species. This roadside tree near Strangways, was dripping with Musk Lorikeets yesterday, accompanied by Noisy Miners and White-plumed Honeyeaters. Interestingly the miners weren’t harassing the lorikeets – outnumbered I reckon.
Yellow Gums in flower, Newstead – Guildford Road @ Strangways, 24th May 2015.
Musk Lorikeet @ Strangways, 24th May 2015.
There were lots of birds in the garden today – Musk and Little Lorikeets, Crimson and Eastern Rosellas, Red Wattlebird, Eastern Spinebill, New Holland and White-naped Honeyeaters, Silvereyes and Yellow, Yellow-rumped and Brown Thornbills (pictured below).
Brown Thornbill, Wyndham Street Newstead, 24th May 2015.
Australian Magpies are busy picking worms along our street … nest-building is not far off.
Australian Magpie (female), Wyndham Street Newstead, 24th May 2015.
There was plenty of action from the Eastern Spinebills in the garden today. At least three individuals are cruising around the local neighbourhood, feeding on Grevillea, Correa and a variety of winter-flowering eucalypts. This species is a real treat as the winter days close in.
Eastern Spinebill, Wyndham Street Newstead, 23rd May 2015.
For Newstead locals and visitors alike, the Rotunda Park on the eastern edge of town, is a special place. Framed by magnificent Yellow Box, River Red Gum, Grey Box and White Ironbarks it attracts an array of birds, especially honeyeaters.
Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Rotunda Park Newstead, 17th May 2015.
Yellow-faced Honeyeater feeding on White Ironbark flowers.
Brown-headed Honeyeater on one of the Drooping Sheoaks planted by the Newstead Landcare Group.
Sadly, the park’s much-loved band rotunda has become badly damaged by white ants and is about to be removed. Wouldn’t it be great to see it resurrected and returned to its former glory?
The decaying rotunda … watch this space!
‘Merry Making in the old Band Rotunda Park’ – with kind permission of the artist, Karen Pierce.
Raptors are respected by most other birds – even when they don’t present a real danger.
These Crested Pigeons were photographed sitting calmly in a dead Black Wattle when the sudden appearance of a Black-shouldered Kite led to a sudden change in posture. Both species are of similar size and I’m not aware of any evidence to suggest the raptor would take on a pigeon. A Peregrine Falcon might be a different story altogether!
Crested Pigeons, Moolort Plains, 16th May 2015.
Black-shouldered Kite, Moolort Plains, 16th May 2015.
Crested Pigeons – II
Black-shouldered Kite – II
Horsfield’s Bushlark Mirafra javanica are plains dwellers, seemingly more common locally during the cooler months. Unlike some of their companion species they will often perch to low a close-up view before dropping to the ground where they feed. The stubble of last seasons crops are a favoured feeding place. Superficially like sparrows, they occur in small, loose parties at this time of year. The individual pictured below showed itself off nicely in yesterday’s welcome sunshine.
Horsfield’s Bushlark, Moolort Plains, 17th May 2015.
Click here for some other observations of Horsfield’s Bushlark.