Category Archives: Landscape

At the ‘hotspot’ #2

When you’re on to a good thing … ‘stick to it’!

How many places are there where you can sit quietly and have Diamond Firetail drop in and virtually land on the end of your lens?

Bush dam, South German Track, 19th March 2018

Brown-headed Honeyeaters at the dam

Diamond Firetail



Fuscous and Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater … such a ‘show-off’

Under my feet

Occasionally, when my attention wanders from a skyward gaze, I reflect on what lies under my feet.

Sadly my understanding of our local geological landscape is scant, but I’ve always had a fascination for rocks. This road cutting, just to the east of Joyce’s Creek, is notable as it lies very close to the Campbelltown fault. I’ve often stopped to photograph the exposed face of the cutting on trips home from the Moolort Plains. The rocks were apparently formed from deep marine sediments between 490 and 460 million years ago … that’s about where my knowledge starts to peter out!

You can view larger versions of these images here.


Section of the 1:50000 Geological Map Series – Campbelltown sheet







You can download a high-resolution version of the 1:50000 Campbelltown map sheet here.

PS: I would welcome any offers of occasional ‘geological’ contributions to Natural Newstead.

Colour in the summer landscape

There is no way to describe the landscape at present other than it’s brown … various shades of!

Therefore it’s wonderful to see the occasional splash of colour, amplified more than ever against the contrasting shades of summer.

Immature Crimson Rosella, Wyndham Street Newstead, 24th January 2018

Galahs @ Cairn Curran

White-faced Heron @ Joyce’s Creek

Historical marker

Calm evenings are a wonderful time to visit Cairn Curran. This set was observed as I sat above the reservoir at Joyce’s Creek earlier in the week. The site is traced by a ragged line of dead River Red-gums that mark the original course of the creek – a reminder of a past landscape.

Looking north-east along the original course of Joyce’s Creek, 10th January 2018.

Australasian Darter (female), Joyce’s Creek @ Cairn Curran, 10th January 2018

Australasian Darter (male)

Female Australasian Darter in level flight

Great Cormorant

Whistling Kite

‘Perfect’ habitat

Over the years I’ve often driven past this small patch of bush on the Newstead-Daylesford Road – it’s just east of one of my favourite birding spots, the Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve.

What is most striking about the spot is the damage done to the area from gold mining, with metres of topsoil eroded and straggly Grey Box and Yellow Gum rooted into the subsoil. I’m glad I stopped the other day as I was rewarded with a good election of birds. In addition to those picture here there was: Brown Treecreeper, Mistletoebird, Yellow-faced Honeyeater and Grey Shrike-thrush.

Brown Thornbill, Clydesdale, 9th September 2017

The legacy of gold mining hasn’t completely diminished the habitat value of this patch

Jacky Winter

Little Eagle

The path to our door

There was quite a variety of treats in store for me on a trip back from Newstead to our place at Strangways last Saturday. First up was a beautiful foggy scene on the flats of the Jim Crow Creek.

Morning on the floodplain of the Jim Crow Creek at Strangways

Morning fog on Jim Crow Creek

As I drove up our lane, I was delighted to see a pair of Restless Flycatchers Myiagra inquieta hovering and catching insects. They have been a bit shy of the cameraman until this day when they let me get to within 5 metres whilst they hunted in the winter sun.

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta)

Restless Flycatcher I

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta)

Restless Flycatcher II

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta)

Catching spiders as well as flies

A pair of Jacky Winters Microeca fascinans was also hunting along the fence line.

Jacky Winter (Microeca fascinans)

Jacky Winter

When I got home after quite some time rolling on the ground getting shots of the birds, for some unknown macrophotographic reason I put on my reading glasses and had good close look at the stone path to our door. I was impressed to find numerous tiny mites with white-spotted black bodies and orange legs. They were from 0.5-1mm long. And with them were some velvety looking grey grubs with six legs and again only 0.5-1mm long. They were quite challenging photographic subjects and I will keep working to try to get some good photos of them. At first I thought the grey ones might be tiny Velvet Worms, but from my reading they would need more legs to qualify. The people at have identified it as a springtail, hexapods once classed as insects, but with internal mouths. The reading I’ve done says that they live on fungi, microbes  and other material in the leaf litter. I wonder if the mites could be Trombidiformes, but would really appreciate any help with identification of either. The grains in the sandstone path give an indication of their size, or lack thereof.





Mite and friend


Looking up and down

From time to time to time I look down – usually to avoid a clumsy fall, or in search of orchids. On a short walk along Fence Track last weekend I paused to admire the exposed rock exposed by recent rain. This material was originally laid down deep under the sea in the Ordovician period, between 420 and 500 million years ago.

The juxtaposition of these rocks, seeing the light of day for the first time in eons, with woodland birds watching overhead, is quite compelling.

Buff-rumped Thornbill, Fence Track, 22nd April 2017


Sedimentary rock along Fence Track


Female Scarlet Robin