Whilst birds numbers remain low in the local bush there is ample variety to keep me entertained as the summer rolls on.
Immature Dusky Woodswallow, South German Track, 22nd February 2019
Immature Rainbow Bee-eater
Two for the price of one!
It’s been a tough summer for birds, so any evidence of successful breeding is to be celebrated … especially so when it involves Powerful Owls.
This juvenile is growing fast, but it still has a few months to enjoy with its parents. They’ll start nesting again in the depths of winter – in the meantime a steady diet off rabbits, possums and birds will hopefully see it through to adulthood.
The second image in this set shows clearly why this species is classified as one of the hawk-owls, genus Ninox.
Juvenile Powerful Owl, Baringhup area, 16th February 2019
… on South German Track is now proving to be a true oasis for birds in this baking summer. As I write this, however, it’s raining and the thermometer is hovering around 15C, a welcome contrast to the past month.
A pair of Black-fronted Dotterels foraged along the shoreline of the pool and a party of Rainbow Bee-eaters arrived to bathe and hawk for insects above the water.
A Sacred Kingfisher perched nearby and Eastern Rosellas came in to drink, while Black-chinned Honeyeaters called nearby. It was a magic hour.
Black-fronted Dotterel, South German Track, 8th February 2019
Rainbow Bee-eater (immature)
Rainbow Bee-eater (adult)
What a revelation to finally get out for a late afternoon ramble in the Mia Mia.
I spent some time last evening at one of the bush dams along South German Track and was well rewarded. At around 7pm the birds started to arrive at the shrinking puddle in the centre of the dam.
First a family of Magpie-larks, a Peaceful Dove and the usual suite of honeyeaters – Brown-headed, Yellow-tufted, Fuscous and a family of Black-chinned Honeyeaters all arriving within minutes of each other.
The highlight was a single Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, a rarity in the district but seen last year at the Rise and Shine. I wonder if it might be a youngster that has dispersed out of the mallee country to the north and west of Bendigo?
Brown-headed Honeyeater, South German Track, 4th February 2019
The birds kept coming – Rainbow Bee-eaters and Dusky Woodswallows overhead, Rufous Whistler, Diamond Firetail, Willie Wagtail, Eastern Rosellas and a pair of Little Lorikeets perched above my head and contemplating a drink.
A quiet morning stroll along Wyndham Street was interrupted by a recognisable harsh screeching from the amongst the elms.
The noise, often heard at this tine of year, was coming from an adult Collared Sparrowhawk. At least two birds were seen, one was an adult and the other I’m unsure. Typically the call is heard when an adult is feeding a juvenile – I’ll keep a lookout over coming days as they tend to hang around the same location at this stage of the breeding cycle.
Collared Sparrowhawk (adult), Wyndham Street Newstead, 3rd February 2019
Note the delicately barred underparts and spindly legs
That sparrowhawk stare
Collared Sparrowhawk in profile
The Mulberry tree in our yard is a boon for various species of birds at this time of year.
Frustratingly it draws Blackbirds from far and wide, but Silvereyes are a more welcome sight as they arrive in small groups to feast on the ripening fruit.
A pair of Silvereyes is nesting at present under the canopy of a grapevine next door. Many birds will synchronise their breeding with food availability and the Silvereyes have adapted well to the summer treats on offer in local gardens. While the grapevine shaded nest site is a good option the sitting bird still needed to cool itself during short bursts of incubation.
Silvereye raiding the Mulberry, Wyndham Street Newstead, 20th January 2019
Silvereye incubating … and keeping cool!
A cooler day … only high ‘twenties’, drew me out to the Rise and Shine.
The highlight was a trio of breeding observations – juvenile Brown Treecreepers, Eastern Yellow Robins and Varied Sittellas.
The latter is the first time I can recall photographing this engaging woodland favourite as a youngster.
Juvenile Brown Treecreeper, Rise and Shine, 19th January 2019
Eastern Yellow Robin (adult)
Varied Sittella (adult male)
Juvenile Varied Sittella
Varied Sittella (adult male)