Over the past decade we’ve had occasional, but increasing sightings of Rainbow Lorikeets in the Newstead district – observations coinciding with the flowering of Yellow Gums along roadsides and in town. Late last week I noted a flock of ~ 20 birds flying noisily over the town, the largest congregation I can recall. This species, the largest of all the Australian lorikeets has become well-established in urban areas of Castlemaine, Bendigo and Maryborough in recent times and large flocks can be seen (and heard!) in all the capital cities of eastern Australia monopolising planted street trees such as Spotted and Lemon-scented Gums.
Yesterday a flock of about 20 arrived at one of our bird baths in the front yard. Intent on bathing and drinking they were decidedly tame and allowed me to approach within a few metres. They are a spectacularly beautiful bird, but I feel some ambivalence about their arrival in Newstead as they are aggressive to other nectar-feeders, such as the Musk, Purple-crowned and Little Lorikeets we currently share our local area with.