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
Here are six of our most common and ubiquitous local honeyeaters.
The White-eared Honeyeater and Yellow-faced Honeyeater tend to be more common over autumn and winter, especially the former which spreads out into drier woodlands over the cooler months. The remaining four species are apparently resident although their numbers can fluctuate considerably with changes in resource availability. All six species were photographed yesterday afternoon coming into water along Golf Links Track.
Brown-headed Honeyeater, Golf Links Track, 20th April 2019
Chris Tzaros and I have just completed another set of bird photography workshops (#29 & #30), with a great group of participants – some local, others from as far afield as Canberra, Adelaide and Newcastle. It was terrific to spend time with keen and experienced folks … birders and photographers, in the bush around Newstead.
A highlight for all was this active Yellow-tufted Honeyeater nest in the Rise and Shine. Two well-grown nestlings were being fed with lerp and insects at regular intervals by the adults.
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater with lerp, Rise and Shine, 6th April 2019
One of the nestlings
Adult at the nest – both nestlings visible
In recent months I’ve been observing Blue-faced Honeyeaters more and more often around town. The calls of this recently arrived species are now part of the local soundscape. Earlier in the week I arrived home to see two sitting above the bird bath in the front yard. It was interesting to watch a Red Wattlebird swoop in and join the honeyeaters. In normal circumstances the wattlebird would have caused any smaller birds, even rosellas and galahs, to quickly disperse. The Blue-faced Honeyeater is a similar size to a Red Wattlebird and just as aggressive – they didn’t even blink upon the arrival of the wattlebird.
Blue-faced Honeyeater, Wyndham Street Newstead, 4th April 2019
If last evening in the Mia Mia is any indication bird numbers are rebounding after a harsh summer. Dozens of young Dusky Woodswallows were gliding low under the canopy in search of insects, while a suite of honeyeaters foraged all around. Golden Whistlers have arrived back from the highlands, their sweet melodies adding an extra dimension to the pre-dusk chatter.
White-browed Babbler, South German Track, 2nd April 2019
Immature Dusky Woodswallow
Adult Dusky Woodswallow
Male Golden Whistler
List: Black-chinned Honeyeater, Brown-headed Honeyeater, White-eared Honeyeater, Fuscous Honeyeater, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Golden Whistler, Eastern Rosella, Musk Lorikeet, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Crested Shrike-tit.
I spotted my first Eastern Spinebills for the season yesterday, at Providence Gully, a number of juveniles and a couple of adults. This morning I heard one in the garden at home. Watch out for them in the bush and home garden over coming weeks.
Eastern Spinebill (juvenile), Providence Gully, 24th March 2019
… moulting into adult male plumage?