Category Archives: Migrants


Rainbow Bee-eaters are renowned for their varied diet of ‘flying things’. This set is from the last day of 2018.

Rainbow Bee-eater with ‘March fly’, Sandon State Forest, 31st December 2018

This time with a cicada

… and lastly with what I think is a bee

Worth the wait

I try to get out with the camera most days. It’s rare to return home without at least one ‘story’.

Late yesterday afternoon I ventured out to the Rise and Shine with the dashboard thermometer showing 35C … not ideal conditions for birding.

I sat for nearly two hours beside a small pond in the reserve, expecting at least a few visitors to drop by for a drink. Alas, the bush was disturbingly quiet. The only birds heard were Weebill, Striated Pardalote, Fuscous Honeyeater and Rufous Whistler, with not one bird arriving at the pool. As I turned to head home I spotted a raptor about 100 metres off, high above the canopy. It was a Square-tailed Kite, not actively hunting at canopy height as is its usual method, instead circling lazily on a late afternoon thermal. This made my visit well and truly worthwhile.

Square-tailed Kite, Rise and Shine, 1st January 2019




Happy New Year and 2018 reprised

Best wishes for 2019 to all readers of Natural Newstead. Thank you for the kind comments over the past year. Here is a selection of some of my favourite images – one for each month of 2018.

Southern Boobook, Wyndham Street Newstead, 23rd January 2018

Red-capped Robin (female), Rise and Shine, 18th February 2018

Great Egret @ Cairn Curran, 14th March 2018

Male Flame Robin, Mia Mia Track, 25th April 2018 … first of the season

Silvereye feeding on Ruby Saltbush in the home garden, 25th May 2018

Yellow-footed Antechinus, Rise and Shine, 23rd June 2018

Hooded Robins, Newstead Cemetery, 28th July 2018

Eastern Spinebill, Wyndham Street Newstead, 12th August 2019

Blue-winged Parrot, South German Track, 8th September 2018

Sacred Kingfishers, Mia Mia Track area, 20th October 2018

Nankeen Kestrel, Moolort Plains, 1st November 2018

Rainbow Bee-eater, Sandon State Forest, 31st December 2018

Just in time!

I was concerned that in my absence over Xmas the 2018/19 crop of Rainbow Bee-eaters may have fledged and left their nesting tunnels.

Not so. The adults are still busily bringing prey to the youngsters and I think it will be a few days before they take flight.

Rainbow Bee-eater with dragonfly, Sandon State Forest, 29th December 2018

Male at top with Dragonfly



Male with Robberfly

One small gully

This one small gully on the edge of the Sandon bush yielded a rich bounty of birds, and other creatures on Friday evening.

Brown Treecreeper with food for youngster, Sandon State Forest, 14th December 2018

Immature Diamond Firetail … evidence of 2018 breeding success

Male Mistletoebird … caught in the act!

Male Rainbow Bee-eater

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater preening

Eastern Yellow Robin arriving to drink

Yellow-footed Antechinus

At both ends of the day

Birds generally look their best during the ‘bookends’ of the day.

This male Rainbow Bee-eater is perched above its nesting tunnel in the Sandon State Forest, stitching and preening as it contemplates the day ahead.

The White-browed Woodswallows are part of a small company that has set up camp along Mia Mia Road – this pair paused briefly during a burst of pre-dusk insect hawking.

Rainbow Bee-eater, Sandon State Forest, 3rd December 2018



Male White-browed Woodswallow, Mia Mia Road, 3rd December 2018

Female White-browed Woodswallow

Going underground

As summer commences two of our migratory species tend to fall a little silent. The Sacred Kingfisher and Rainbow Bee-eater are both tunnel nesting species, the former using both earthen tunnels as well as tree hollows. At present the birds will be incubating and they tend to be less vocal than will be the case in a few weeks when feeding young.

In Rainbow Bee-eaters both sexes excavate the nesting tunnel – you can see some  evidence of activity on the bill of the male below. In both the Sacred Kingfisher and the Rainbow Bee-eater both sexes incubate, although my observations suggest the female bee-eaters do the majority of sitting.

Rainbow Bee-eater (male), Loddon River @ Newstead, 2nd December 2018


Sacred Kingfisher with prey

Grey Teal

Australian Wood Duck (female)