As always there are interesting matters ‘afoot’ in the local bush. Flame Robins have graced us with their presence over the past few months – over coming weeks they’ll head south to their spring breeding grounds. Enjoy the last few sightings of this glorious species while you can. As recently noted, Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters are nest-building. This species is pretty adaptable when it comes to nesting sites – the location shown in the images below, a cleft between a bark strip and trunk, contrasts with the recent nest secreted amongst Cassinia and Hedge Wattle at the Rise and Shine.
Flame Robin, Mia Mia Road, 3rd August 2019
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater – nest-building in the Mia Mia, 3rd August 2019
White Box Eucalyptus albens is a local eucalypt that is often overlooked.
A magnificent tall tree when mature, veteran specimens can flower profusely to provide a rich winter resource for nectar-feeding birds, especially honeyeaters and lorikeets. The best stand that I’m aware of close to Newstead is along Bell’s Lane Track in the Mia Mia. Yesterday afternoon it was being visited by small numbers of Musk, Little and Purple-crowned Lorikeets. They were showing interest in a number of hollows – with some competition evident between the larger Musk Lorikeets and the dainty ‘purple-crowns’. Purple-crowned Lorikeets are uncommon locally, trailing both Musk and Little Lorikeets in numbers. Hopefully the retention of large trees in both the forest and adjoining private land will improve their future prospects.
Little Lorikeet feeding on White Box flowers, Bell’s Lane Track, 3rd August 2019
Purple-crowned Lorikeet feeding on White Box
Purple-crowned Lorikeet inspecting a potential nest site
As were Musk Lorikeets
Pre-nuptial behaviour in Purple-crowned Lorikeets
Also observed: Blue-winged Parrot (flying through), White-browed Babbler, Crested Shrike-tit, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (nest-building). Numerous Fan-tailed Cuckoos and Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoos.
I went searching for gold today … and found it at the Rise and Shine.
Golden Wattle commenced flowering a week ago locally (at least that’s when I first noticed it) and I was keen to capture its early blooms. I was a little surprised to find Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters making nests.
Does this bird ever rest?
The species was nesting in April this year – at the peak of a dry spell in the local bush. Now wonder they are so abundant!
Golden Wattle, Rise and Shine, 27th July 2019
Yellow Tufted Honeyeater nest-building amongst Hedge Wattle and Drooping Cassinia
Species observed: Fan-tailed Cuckoo (heard calling – first for the season), White-browed Babbler, Brown Treecreeper, Fuscous Honeyeater, White-naped Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-thrush, Crimson Rosella.
It’s been something of a lean week with photographic opportunities limited.
Clear winter days and nights would have been ideal if other duties hadn’t got in the way. Here’s a selection of what I did manage to capture earlier in the week.
New Holland Honeyeaters, Wyndham Street Newstead, 24th June 2019
Superb Fairy-wren … looking superb!
Starlight over Newstead
Every winter the gardens around Newstead are home to a familiar array of resident and migrant species. Red Wattlebirds and White-browed Scrubwrens are resident year round, while Eastern Spinebills are only with us for the cooler months. Yellow-faced Honeyeaters tend to come and go – they are certainly more common over winter but can turn up at any time of year.
Red Wattlebird feeding on ornamental Yellow Gum, Wyndham Street Newstead, 8th June 2019
Welcome rain over the past fortnight has created some lovely pools of standing water throughout the local bush.
These images were taken last weekend at a favourite spot in the Rise and Shine. Even in the cooler months many species of birds, especially honeyeaters, will be drawn to water.
Fuscous Honeyeater, Rise and Shine, 18th May 2019
Yellow Gum Eucalyptus leucoxylon has really started flowering well over the past month across the district. Unlike Grey Box, which has also enjoyed a good spell of flowering, Yellow Gum attracts a lot more birds. In the backyard at home Eastern Spinebills, White-naped Honeyeaters and even a Black-chinned Honeyeater have joined the other honeyeaters on the nectar flow. Out at Strangways Musk Lorikeets are using the veteran roadside trees … I also caught distant views of a Noisy Friarbird, an irregular visitor from areas further north.
Red Wattlebird feeding on Yellow Gum flowers, Wyndham Street Newstead, 18th May 2019
New Holland Honeyeater in the same tree
Musk Lorikeet in Yellow Gum @ Strangways, 19th May 2019