Category Archives: Rise and Shine

Autumn’s golden light

Golden Whistlers are starting to venture into our box-ironbark woodlands after their summer sojourn in the hills. Meanwhile, Eastern Yellow Robins appear to be moving from summer refuges along local rivers and creeks back into the ‘bush’. Both species are wonderful additions to the golden light of autumn.

Eastern yellow Robin, Rise and Shine, 6th April 2019

Male Golden Whistler


Near and far

Chris Tzaros and I have just completed another set of bird photography workshops (#29 & #30), with a great group of participants – some local, others from as far afield as Canberra, Adelaide and Newcastle. It was terrific to spend time with keen and experienced folks … birders and photographers, in the bush around Newstead.

A highlight for all was this active Yellow-tufted Honeyeater nest in the Rise and Shine. Two well-grown nestlings were being fed with lerp and insects at regular intervals by the adults.

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater with lerp, Rise and Shine, 6th April 2019


One of the nestlings

Adult at the nest – both nestlings visible

Easter Heath Check

from Ivan Carter @ Connecting Country

BirdLife International has designated hundreds of areas of conservation importance around the world known as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA).  In the Mount Alexander Shire, we are part of one of these KBA’s – the Bendigo Box Ironbark area.  Our part of the KBA has been designated especially for the Diamond Firetail and Swift Parrot, and covers both public and private land.

Spotted late yesterday in the Clydesdale KBA … a Diamond Firetail

BirdLife Australia is looking for people in each of the Key Biodiversity Areas to complete an “Easter health check” for their local area. Connecting Country will be holding a workshop at the Newstead Community Centre Mechanics Hall on Friday 12 April 2019.  We’ve invited Greg Turner from BirdLife Victoria to take us through the process for our part of the Bendigo Box Ironbark area. Geoff Nevill from the Muckleford Forest Friends Group will also talk about their groups work in the region.

This annual check is about assessing habitat and its threats so anyone with an interest in landscape restoration would be most welcome.

For those who may not know, our regions three ‘Key Biodiversity Areas’ (KBAs) in Mt Alexander Shire are: Clydesdale-Strangways : Sandon-Strathlea : Muckleford-Newstead. For more information on the KBA and the Easter Health check process click here.

Volunteers Eleanor and Jenny surveying the Muckleford KBA. Source: Connecting Country

Please come along to this workshop to learn how you can participate in the Easter Health Check for our KBAs:
1. Learn about the KBA’s in the Mount Alexander Shire
2. Find out about KBA Easter Health Check – what it is and how to do it
3. Meet other people working with KBAs
Where: Newstead Community Centre Mechanics Hall, 9 Lyons St, Newstead
When: Friday 12 April 2019: 9.00 to 11.30 am
This is a free event, with morning tea and refreshments provided. To book for this event, please click here.

Perfect timing?

Perhaps the birds have some advance notice of a bountiful autumn?

I found this Yellow-tufted Honeyeater putting the finishing touches on a nest in a sapling Long-leaved Box, yesterday in the Rise and Shine.

Apart from flowering Grey Box there is not much on offer in the bush at present, but clearly the honeyeaters think the prospects are good.

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater nest in Long-leaved Box

One of the adults ‘shaping’ the nest

Blessed relief #2

A few extra images from yesterday morning’s stroll at ‘The Shine’ – the Spotted Pardalote seemed especially pleased about the cool change.

Weebill, Rise and Shine, 27th January 2019


Spotted Pardalote (male)


Blessed relief

In recent days a ‘walk in the bush’, usually a non-negotiable part of my daily routine, has just not been that attractive.

For the record it was 45C under the verandah on Friday – if not the hottest day Newstead has ever had then please tell me when it was hotter.

This morning, however, the conditions were ideal for a pre-breakfast stroll in the Rise and Shine.

Birds were few and far between, although we did compile a reasonable list before heading home – Weebill, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Sacred Kingfisher, Scarlet Robin, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, Fuscous and Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters. This pair of Jacky Winters were relishing the cool conditions.

Jacky Winter, Rise and Shine, 27th January 2019




What’s happening at ‘The Shine’

A cooler day … only high ‘twenties’, drew me out to the Rise and Shine.

The highlight was a trio of breeding observations – juvenile Brown Treecreepers, Eastern Yellow Robins and Varied Sittellas.

The latter is the first time I can recall photographing this engaging woodland favourite as a youngster.

Juvenile Brown Treecreeper, Rise and Shine, 19th January 2019

Eastern Yellow Robin (adult)

Varied Sittella (adult male)

Juvenile Varied Sittella


Varied Sittella (adult male)