The Loddon River upstream of Cairn Curran is a sad sight at present – it has retreated to a series of disconnected pools and these are disappearing rapidly as autumn continues to be dry and unusually warm.
I’m looking forward … hoping for a restorative flow!
Loddon River @ Newstead, just upstream of the highway bridge, 13th April 2019
A Whistling Kite patrolling the river corridor
This juvenile Wedge-tailed Eagle provided a thrilling sight, right on dusk, at Cairn Curran last evening.
Its parents had earlier left the same perch … Tarrengower-bound.
Wedge-tailed Eagle, Cairn Curran @ Joyce’s Creek, 13th April. 2019
Powerful Owl, Loddon River @ Newstead, 13th April 2019
The remain of an unfortunate Galah dangling below a satisfied owl
Powerful Owl close-up
These Red-rumped Parrots stole the show during a visit to the bush dam on South German Track at the weekend.
As the list below indicates there is more to see and hear around this shrinking pool as summer marches on.
Red-rumped Parrot (male in moult), South German Track, 17th February 2019
List: Crested Bellbird, Rainbow Bee-eater, Sacred Kingfisher, Crested Shrike-tit, Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Collared Sparrowhawk, Diamond Firetail, Peaceful Dove, Common Bronzewing, White-naped Honeyeater, Grey Currawong, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Striated Pardalote, Spotted Pardalote, Dusky Woodswallow, Eastern Rosella.
I’m not sure that all apiarists would agree, but the Rainbow Bee-eater is an extraordinary bird. Its colours are something to behold, as is its aerial ability – turning on a pin to snatch a bee (or some other unlucky insect) in mid-flight.
Following breeding, Rainbow Bee-eaters are now beginning to congregate in small mixed flocks of adult and immature birds, prior to a later summer departure to northerly climes. They can often be found at this time of year around water, especially in the vicinity of flowering eucalypts that attract their favourite prey.
Rainbow Bee-eater, Green Gully, 9th February 2019
Wedge-tailed Eagle – one of a pair circling high above
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
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