Category Archives: Newstead Cemetery/Gr. Gully

A holiday break

This pair of White-faced Herons are nest-building near the Newstead Cemetery.

I’ll be keen to see how they’ve progressed in a few weeks when I’m back from an extended break.

White-faced Heron, Newstead Cemetery, 22nd September 2017

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What the eye cannot see

Fairy Martins are partial migrants with most birds leaving central Victoria in autumn, returning again to breed each Spring.

Culverts and bridges are favourite sites and a small colony nests most years at the Newstead cemetery. Watching and endeavouring to capture their aerial antics is challenging and rewarding, especially when you see one in the act of successfully snaring a flying insect.

Fairy Martin, Newstead Cemetery, 22nd September 2017

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Long time, no see!

I was delighted yesterday to come an absent friend … the Southern Whiteface – a pair at the Newstead Cemetery in the company of Superb Fairy-wrens and Yellow-rumped Thornbills.

A charming woodland species, the Southern Whiteface has declined in the Newstead district and it’s two years since I last observed one – near where Muckleford Creek joins the Loddon River. It often mingles with thornbills and wrens, feeding almost exclusively on the ground. The white tufts either side of the bill are a distinguishing feature. I’m hoping for a comeback!

Male Superb Fairy-wren, Newstead Cemetery, 9th September 2017

Southern Whiteface

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Colour and movement

A small bush dam in Green Gully has yielded some treasures over the past week – not pictured here are the Rainbow Bee-eaters hawking insects overhead, or the juvenile Olive-backed Oriole passing through on its northern migration.

Not to disappoint though – this Restless Flycatcher perched helpfully on stranded stick at the edge of the water, displaying its iridescent plumage in lovely shimmers. The Red-rumped Parrots arrived in two and threes, adults with this seasons young and the Welcome Swallows gathered where the flycatcher had left – resting for short moments before further aerial pursuits.

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Restless Flycatcher, Green Gully, 25th February 2017

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Male Red-rumped Parrot – possibly an immature

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A gathering of ‘red rumps’

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Welcome Swallow

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Welcome Swallows and a lone Fairy Martin (with chestnut cap)

The Rainbowbirds have fledged!

After time away I’d lost track of what was happening with our local Rainbow Bee-eaters.

I was thrilled then to learn of a moderate-sized congregation near the Newstead Cemetery – at least three juveniles being attended and fed by a flock of adults, perhaps a dozen birds in all.

The adults were spending some of their aerial foraging close to the eucalyptus canopies where they were catching cicadas, possibly the Red-eyes mentioned in one of Andrew’s recent posts.

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Adult Rainbow Bee-eater, Plunkett’s Lane Newstead, 24th January 2017

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A resplendent male

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Juvenile Rainbow Bee-eater

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Aerial sequence I

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Thanks JB for the tip!

Any day now?

My hunch is that the Rainbow Bee-eaters are on the cusp of hatching their eggs. There are lots of comings and going around the tunnels but no food being delivered just yet. I’ve just noticed that the male, featured in the shots below, has a slightly deformed bill. I suspect it has no effect on its ability to snare insects in flight!

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Rainbow Bee-eater (male), Newstead Cemetery, 21st December 2016

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The sights and sounds of summer

Summer is … listening to the insect-like trills of Rainbow Bee-eaters as they hunt in the skies around their nesting tunnels … and watching Sacred Kingfishers ferrying all manner of prey to hungry nestlings.

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The Loddon River @ Newstead, 14th December 2016

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Sacred Kingfisher with cicada prey, Loddon River 14th December 2016

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Female Rainbow Bee-eater at the Newstead Cemetery

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About to emerge from the nesting tunnel