It seems one of my favourite local pairs of Wedge-tailed Eagles has raised one youngster this season.
The offspring was seen perched with its parents in a distant dead tree to the north of Cemetery Road during the week. The pale head, shawl and upper parts of juvenile and immature birds sets them apart from the adults which become much darker with age. Click here for a more expansive image of the juvenile coming in to land.
Wedge-tailed Eagles, Cemetery Road Newstead, 15th February 2018
Juvenile Wedge-tailed Eagle
It’s not often that I turn for home without a single avian image in the camera.
It happened this evening … until this handsome Brown Falcon Falco berigora rescued the situation.
Brown Falcon, Newstead Cemetery, 15th February 2018
I’ve mentioned this previously … it’s my understanding that the Brown Falcon is one of only three Australian birds where the scientific name honours one of the languages of our first people. There is a terrific article about the origins of berigora here.
Rainbow Bee-eaters certainly eat bees, but, as shown in the sequence below, they are also very fond of cicadas.
This party at Green Gully, comprised approximately ten birds, including a number of recently fledged juveniles. The birds were perched up high but a close look shows that the bird second from the right in the bottom two images is a youngster.
I think the cicadas might be Pauropsalta rubristrigata, the Great Montane Sqeaker … happy to be advised otherwise!
Rainbow Bee-eaters, Green Gully, 1st February 2018
Every birder has a bogey-bird and for me it’s the Magpie-lark.
They are common and widespread around Newstead and not many outings go by without seeing one or at least hearing its distinctive pee-wee pee-wee call, often performed as a duet. Magpie-larks are neither magpies or larks but ‘evolved’ monarch flycatchers. In my experience they are a frustratingly difficult species to photograph … unless you see them in a suburban car park!
I cam across a pair with two begging youngsters at Green Gully earlier in the week. I’m certainly not bragging but these are perhaps my best images of this familiar bird. A job for 2018!
Juvenile Magpie-lark, Green Gully, 16th January 2018
Begging for a feed
Note that juvenile has a grey-black bill compared with that of the adults which is ivory coloured
The Magpie-larks were a temporary distraction from the flock of Rainbow Bee-eaters hawking for insects overhead. It appears breeding is complete and we can now enjoy the birds in surrounding woodland areas prior to their northerly migration in late summer.
Rainbow Bee-eater – post breeding flight
II … look, no hands!
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
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
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