Whilst Australian birds are celebrated for their vibrant colours, many species are much more subdued … making the detail wet worth appreciating. The Brown Treecreeper below has a small smudge of brick-red feathers on the breast, indicating that it’s a female.
Brown Treecreeper (female), Sandon, 14th April 2019
The Golden Whistler is clearly not a male – most likely a female – you may be able to just discern some yellow around the vent. The bill is quite dark – it’s typically paler in immature birds that also show rufous feathers panels in the wing feathers.
The Jacky Winter can be a confounding bird for some observers. This one was dropping to the ground in search of insects from a nearby perch on a fence-post.
The Loddon River upstream of Cairn Curran is a sad sight at present – it has retreated to a series of disconnected pools and these are disappearing rapidly as autumn continues to be dry and unusually warm.
I’m looking forward … hoping for a restorative flow!
Loddon River @ Newstead, just upstream of the highway bridge, 13th April 2019
A Whistling Kite patrolling the river corridor
Cairn Curran Reservoir has shrunk to 34% of capacity … creating some large expanses of mudflats at the south-eastern portion near Joyce’s Creek.
The areas of exposed mud are providing excellent, albeit temporary, feeding habitat for small waders, Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints in particular. Last Friday evening I observed ~ 25 Red-capped Plovers and a small number of stints. The plovers will remain through winter, shifting their location as new areas of mudflat and suitable shoreline appear on the drying lake. The Red-necked Stints are more complicated. Small numbers of immature birds remain in southern Australia over winter, while the adults make their extraordinary journey to breeding grounds above the arctic circle, typically departing from southern Australia in April. I can’t recall seeing Red-necked Stints over-wintering at Cairn Curran … the bird pictured below appears to be moulting into breeding plumage before tackling another epic journey.
Red-capped Plover (adult male), Cairn Curran, 12th April 2019
Red-capped Plover (immature)
Red-necked Stint … moulting into breeding plumage
Red-necked Stint foraging in the shallows
Red-capped Plover (foreground) with foraging Red-necked Stint
This juvenile Wedge-tailed Eagle provided a thrilling sight, right on dusk, at Cairn Curran last evening.
Its parents had earlier left the same perch … Tarrengower-bound.
Wedge-tailed Eagle, Cairn Curran @ Joyce’s Creek, 13th April. 2019
Powerful Owl, Loddon River @ Newstead, 13th April 2019
The remain of an unfortunate Galah dangling below a satisfied owl
Powerful Owl close-up
While in some ways autumn in a quiet time of the year in the local bush, the appearance of some familiar spring migrants, in this case Golden Whistlers and White-eared Honeyeaters, joining the resident species such as Brown Treecreepers and Dusky Woodswallows, adds a nice touch. I’ve been on the look-out for Swift Parrots and while they have been observed further east towards Castlemaine I’ve yet to sight any so far in 2019.
Brown Treecreeper, Mia Mia Track, 9th April 2019
Golden Whistler (female)
Golden Whistlers are starting to venture into our box-ironbark woodlands after their summer sojourn in the hills. Meanwhile, Eastern Yellow Robins appear to be moving from summer refuges along local rivers and creeks back into the ‘bush’. Both species are wonderful additions to the golden light of autumn.
Eastern yellow Robin, Rise and Shine, 6th April 2019
Male Golden Whistler