Plains song

Bulokes are affectionately known as the ‘wind harps of the plains’ … the sound of the breeze passing through their foliage defies a suitable description.

This remarkable tree is home to a myriad of other species, from the Buloke Mistletoe to spiders, beetles, butterflies and wasps. Birds also, are drawn to this abundance – I’ve often encountered a party of Yellow Thornbills, Weebills or Brown-headed Honeyeaters foraging through the foliage of an isolated Buloke in search of insects.

Yesterday afternoon I stopped, as I often do, to have closer look at a small patch of Buloke at Baringhup West … three trees in the corner of a wind-swept paddock. Immediately I heard a distinctive call … pirtt pirtt, from high up in one of the Bulokes. A Singing Honeyeater Gavicalis virescens, one of a small party of four as it turned out.

I’ve seen this species before on the plains, but rarely. Its stronghold is the dry inland, extending to coastal regions in Victoria. These birds are, I suspect, part of a remnant population that was once widespread across the volcanic woodlands of central Victoria.


Buloke stand, Moolort Plains, 5th February 2022


Ripening seed capsules


Buloke Mistletoe


A buloke tree is a diverse and complex ecosystem


Singing Honeyeater







4 responses to “Plains song

  1. Fascinating Geoff – I live 500 meters from the coast on the Fleurieu Peninsula in SA and the singing honey eaters dominate the narrow dune system. As the native vegetation improves they have begun to come up the creek line feeding on salt bush and visiting the bird bath – I didn’t realize they were an inland species.

  2. Geoff, this is an amazing post filled with information that was new to me, all written because you bothered to stop and look at three trees. Thank you.

  3. John Carruthers

    A post rich with information. Beautifully observed. Perhaps my favorite tree.

  4. Natasha Mullings

    Hi Geoff that looks more like polyphony to me!! 😁

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