Category Archives: Migrants

What the eye cannot see

Fairy Martins are partial migrants with most birds leaving central Victoria in autumn, returning again to breed each Spring.

Culverts and bridges are favourite sites and a small colony nests most years at the Newstead cemetery. Watching and endeavouring to capture their aerial antics is challenging and rewarding, especially when you see one in the act of successfully snaring a flying insect.

Fairy Martin, Newstead Cemetery, 22nd September 2017

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Night calling

For the past week a Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo has been calling regularly throughout the night – its familiar descending whistle is not exactly a lullaby!

There have been quite a few dashing about the garden during daylight hours, either chasing each other or being ‘evicted’ by wary wattlebirds and honeyeaters. Meanwhile there is much to see only metres from the front door every day.

Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo, Wyndham Street Newstead, 9th September 2017

Eastern Rosella

New Holland Honeyeater feeding on Eucalyptus caesia

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Red Wattlebirds are feeding young in nests at the moment …. hence they are seen often at ground level chasing insects

Female Spotted Pardalote

The hunter and the hunted

Yellow-rumped Thornbills and Superb Fairy-wrens are fixtures in our garden. Yesterday I observed the thornbills gathering nest lining and the wrens checking out potential nest sites in the saltbush. Overhead, Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoos were calling and chasing each other through the canopy. Both thornbills and fairy-wrens are favoured hosts for this parasitic cuckoo and the wrens especially got quite upset at one stage. That’s life in bush and garden with the arrival of spring.

Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Wyndham Street Newstead, 31st August 2017

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Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo

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Female Superb Fairy-wren

Colour and movement

It’s been difficult to get out this week – here are some shots from earlier in the month.

The Flame Robins are most likely on the move south now so we won’t see them again until next autumn.

There will be lots of colourful migrants to enjoy over coming weeks. I’ve heard Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo and Fan-tailed Cuckoo in recent days. Listen out for their calls!

Male Flame Robin, Mia Mia Track, 12th August 2017

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Female Superb Fairy-wren, Wyndham Street Newstead, 12th August 2017

Welcome Swallow preening, Mia Mia Road, 12th August 2017

Pallid arrival

Our first Pallid Cuckoos arrived earlier in the week – two birds chasing each other down Wyndham Street.

I was alerted to their presence by the typically mournful calls. You’ll note the difference in plumage between the bird in the first image and the second bird in the subsequent photographs. This mottled individual is a female while the first bird is a male.

Pallid Cuckoo (male), Wyndham Street Newstead, 14th August 2017

Pallid Cuckoo (female)

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The wing shape and barred tail are distinctive features

Currawong portraits

A group of Pied Currawongs has made the yard their domain over recent days. It’s provided an opportunity to capture some nice close-up portraits.

Pied Currawong, Wyndham Street Newstead, 9th July 2017

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The wary pied

I’ve been enjoying regular appearances of both Grey and Pied Currawongs over the past few weeks. Pied Currawongs are in good numbers around town, their ringing cries a symbol of winter in Newstead.

Pied Currawong, Wyndham Street Newstead, 25th June 2017

The curved and slightly protruding upper mandible is evident in this shot

The touch of yellow on the gape (the fleshy part on the inside base of the bill) and brown plumage on the neck suggests an immature bird

That piercing yellow eye is always on the lookout!