Category Archives: Moolort Plains

Happy New Year and 2018 reprised

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

A lean year?

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

II

III

IV

Not quite a deluge

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

Dinner is served

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

II

III

IV

V

Back in business

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

II

III

Duckling time

While winter has been lingering on, Australian Shelducks have been busy.

These images are of a small brood of seven ducklings (I’ve seen at least a dozen previously), accompanied by their parents, seen on the Moolort Plains at the weekend. The ducklings were well advanced, I’d say at least a fortnight old, indicating that laying would have occurred in early August.

Australian Shelduck duckling, Moolort Plains, 23rd September 2018

II

III

IV

The female keeping a watchful eye on proceedings

White-necked Heron on the prowl

Enjoyed a short few moments with a White-necked Heron earlier this week on the plains.

Roadside drains are great micro-habitats over winter for foraging herons – frogs and invertebrates beware!

White-necked Heron (Adult, non-breeding), Moolort Plain (Cotswold area), 31st July 2018

II

III

IV