A journey around the Moolort Plains yesterday threatened to be dominated by Brown Falcons. They are a nice raptor, but not in the same league as a number of rarer plains inhabitatnts.
The first four images below are all Brown Falcons – all different individuals seen as I did a long loop from Cairn Curran, through Baringhup West and then back to Joyce’s Creek via Cotswold.
It was only on the final leg that I got some welcome variety – a pair of White-bellied Sea-eagles over Long Swamp (perhaps shuttling from Cairn Curran to Tullaroop Reservoir), a few Nankeen Kestrels and single Black-shouldered Kite. Finally, just west of Joyce’s Creek a scatter of Crested Pigeons drew my gaze to a Peregrine Falcon hunting along the basalt escarpment above the waterway. The camera just managed to capture a distant image as the bird departed north at ‘peregrine velocity’!
Brown Falcon near Picnic Point, 15th June 2019
Brown Falcon #2 @ Baringhup West
Brown Falcon #3 @ Boundary Gully
Brown Falcon #4 @ Moolort
Peregrine Falcon @ Joyce’s Creek
I’ve had a smattering of local reports over recent days of Flame Robins arriving for the cool-season sojourn in the lowlands.
My first sightings were this afternoon on the Moolort Plains, an adult male accompanied by three ‘brown birds’.
Flame Robin, Moolort Plains, 5th May 2019
PS: Four Swift Parrots in Newstead this evening … my first for the season. Please let me know of any local observations.
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
Posted in Bird breeding, Bird observations, Cairn Curran, Migrants, Moolort Plains, Newstead Cemetery/Gr. Gully, Raptors, Rise and Shine, Sandon bush, Spring Hill and the Mia Mia, The Home Garden
In a good year Nankeen Kestrels can easily raise three young. This year conditions have not been favourable, with food scarce on the plains. As a result only a single youngster has emerged in 2018 – at least two nestlings were seen earlier in December. Normally three eggs will be laid but nestlings will weaken and die if there is not sufficient food to go around.
Juvenile Nankeen Kestrel, Moolort Plains, 30th December 2018
What a welcome drop … 13mm of rain yesterday afternoon was blessed relief after the heatwave.
As the last showers drifted east I took a quick circuit of the plains. Galahs feeding on thistles and stubble clearly enjoyed the cool change.
Buloke landscape, Moolort Plains, 9th December 2018
Galah feeding on thistles …
… and stubble
The following sequence was captured last week, with my favourite raptors on the plains.
The female Nankeen Kestrel, pictured here with a spider, was making repeated visits to the nest in the late afternoon. The chicks are still quite small and fluffy (you may be able to just make out one in two of the images), but will develop rapidly over the next few weeks.
Nankeen Kestrel, Moolort Plains, 5th December 2018
My favourite Nankeen Kestrels are nesting again on the plains. To my knowledge this site has been used for a decade and while nesting seems to have started a little later this year, the behaviour of the parents – the female making regular visits (without food) and the male on sentinel duty – suggests the eggs are about to hatch.
Nankeen Kestrel, Moolort Plains, 31st October 2018