Category Archives: Identify it

A wagtail at the water

On most visits to the ‘pool’ at the Rise and Shine a Willie Wagtail will turn up at some stage to drink and bathe.

Largely unconcerned by my intrusion each visit is enjoyed, by myself and the wagtail!

Willie Wagtails are in the same genus, Rhipidura, as the fantails, but are a significantly larger bird. Grey Fantails weigh between 7 and 10 grams, while Willie Wagtails come in around 20 grams on average.

Willie Wagtail, Rise and Shine, 7th February 2020






A follow up to yesterday’s less than definitive post regarding a ‘mystery’ honeyeater. The considered opinion of a number of experts is that it was most likely a Fuscous Honeyeater, not a Yellow-plumed Honeyeater (which does appear in small numbers locally at this time of year). A ‘true’ Fuscous Honeyeater is pictured below, a non-breeding adult that arrived to drink just after the Willie Wagtail departed.

Fuscous Honeyeater


What am I?

This gorgeous, tiny bat was discovered yesterday amongst some stacked timbers.

I’ve no real idea of what species it is – any suggestions gratefully considered!

After a few quick images it was placed gently behind a flap of bark on one of the Yellow Gums in the backyard.

What am I?




Greenhouse as habitat

Sometimes in my native nursery at Newstead the plants provide habitat before they even leave the greenhouse! This morning I found a 4cm long, smooth frog. Looking in Chris Tzaros’ ‘Wildlife of the Box-Ironbark Country’ I think it is Southern Brown Tree Frog, but am happy to be corrected.  The inner thighs are orangey in colour and eyes have slits not a crosses. I am more certain of the plant id: Montia australasica (White Purslane).little frog in pot of Montia australasica - White Purslane, 11 Oct 2017

Natural puzzle #22 … Eggs for breakfast?

by Chris Johnston

Discovered these egg shells out in the paddock this week. Small, thin and fragile, apparently dug out of a shallow hole, eaten and the shells left behind. Whose eggs and who is the culprit?

A cluster of eggshells

A cluster of eggshells

Small, thin fragile eggshells (hand as scale)

Small, thin fragile eggshells (hand as scale)

A shallow hole nearby

A shallow hole nearby

A dark scat and a white shell - related?

A dark scat and a white shell – related?

Natural puzzle # 21

Two delicate structures … your thoughts?


Suspended in a Golden Wattle


Only just begun …


#1 is the beginnings of a Mistletorbird nest

#2 is the partially built nest of a Grey Fantail

Stay tuned for updates on progress.

Natural puzzle #20

Spotted yesterday in the garden – a cool season migrant from the hills.

A small prize for the first correct answer.


A subtly marked …


… forest songster

The Solution:

  1. Firstly it’s a whistler – the robust head and bill are definitive.
  2. That means there are three possibilities: Olive, Rufous and Golden.
  3. Olive Whistler is well out of range, but one was seen recently along Forest Creek Castlemaine – this one can be ruled out though as Olive Whistlers are dark buff overall, apart from a pale throat.
  4. Rufous Whistlers, apart from adult males which this one clearly isn’t, have prominent streaking on the throat and breast in both immatures and adult females.
  5. This leaves the Golden Whistler – it’s obviously not an adult male. This one looks to be an immature – the pale rufous on the upper parts in the bottom photograph, while not that obvious, leave this as the most likely ID – the females can be very similar to immatures, which also tend to have a pale base to the bill. One further note – you may be just be able to make out the pale yellow wash on the vent and under tail coverts – this is a useful diagnostic feature for ‘grey’ Golden Whistlers.

I’m going to award two prizes, first to Alison Rowe for proposing a Golden Whistler and secondly to Anne Brophy for suggesting it was a juvenile. Thanks to you all for the interest in this post and for the great suggestions regarding the bird’s identity.

In the heathy dry

Rain – what a nice surprise!

With 14mm over the past few days doing little but settling the dust I was interested to see if there had been any impact in the bush. This spot along Demo Track has an excellent stand of Heathy Dry Forest – it’s a terrific spring wildflower location.


Heathy Dry Forest along Demo Track, 18th April 2015.

Alas, no orchids, but the mosses and lichens have benefited from some moisture.


Which lichen?


Which moss?


Ditto … clearly not my strong suit!

I was surprised by the number of Golden Orb-weavers Nephila edulis – they were the only real sign of animal life.


Golden Orb-weaver with a collection of prey.