I try to get out with the camera most days. It’s rare to return home without at least one ‘story’.
Late yesterday afternoon I ventured out to the Rise and Shine with the dashboard thermometer showing 35C … not ideal conditions for birding.
I sat for nearly two hours beside a small pond in the reserve, expecting at least a few visitors to drop by for a drink. Alas, the bush was disturbingly quiet. The only birds heard were Weebill, Striated Pardalote, Fuscous Honeyeater and Rufous Whistler, with not one bird arriving at the pool. As I turned to head home I spotted a raptor about 100 metres off, high above the canopy. It was a Square-tailed Kite, not actively hunting at canopy height as is its usual method, instead circling lazily on a late afternoon thermal. This made my visit well and truly worthwhile.
Square-tailed Kite, Rise and Shine, 1st January 2019
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
Today, 23rd December 2018, marks a decade of Natural Newstead.
The first post recorded some observations that I made with Joe in the Rise and Shine on the 23rd December 2008.
I guess it’s apt that today’s note, post number 2767, should also feature ‘The Shine’ … one of my favourite local places, that is also enjoyed by lovers of nature far and wide.
Dusky Woodswallow, Rise and Shine, 16th December 2018
… in the life of this Dusky Woodswallow.
I observed it last weekend, one of three juveniles almost ready to fledge from a nest in the Rise and Shine. While its two siblings remained in the nest this youngster was determined to test its pin-feathered wings. At one point, perched about a foot above the nest the sight of an incoming parent with food prompted it to flutter excitedly into space whereby it grabbed a dangling piece of loose bark. After clinging skilfully for a few minutes it flew back to its original perch.
With this sort of determination its chances of reaching adulthood are probably better than average!
Juvenile Dusky Woodswallow, Rise and Shine, 16th December 2018
One of the parents looking on with perhaps admiration or amusement!
Male and female Dusky Woodswallows are impossible to tell apart from their appearance alone. Their behaviour during the breeding season however, often provides a clue. This pair was perched atop a dead tree in the Rise and Shine. The male departed at regular intervals, returning with a beak full of insects for the waiting female each time. They have probably commenced nest-building nearby and this ritualistic courtship feeding is a sign that egg-laying is imminent.
Dusky Woodswallows (male at front), Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, 25th November 2018
Note: Read more about courtship feeding here in a classic paper by British ornithologist David Lack.
Chris Tzaros and I have just spent the weekend with two terrific groups of passionate bird photographers.
We learnt some new things and trust our participants did so too. They certainly appeared to enjoy the workshops. Oh, and we did see a few critters … this Yellow-tufted Honeyeater was spotted visiting a favourite spot – a small pool high up in the fork of a Yellow Box at the Rise and Shine. Black-chinned Honeyeaters were the highlight, along with a cooperative Yellow-footed Antechinus.
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater @ the Infinity Pool, Rise and Shine, 24th November 2018
Yellow-footed Antechinus nicely backlit!
The Rise and Shine is bustling with life this Spring.
A stroll late on Thursday this week produced a number of nice observations. White-winged Choughs have young just leaving the nest and Yellow-footed Antechinus are ubiquitous as usual.
White-winged Chough nest, Rise and Shine, 8th November 2018
Juvenile White-winged Chough
Other birds recorded: Striated Pardalote, Spotted Pardalote, White-browed Babbler, Scarlet Robin, Olive-backed Oriole, Peaceful Dove, Dusky Woodswallow, Fuscous Honeyeater, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, White-naped Honeyeater, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Eastern Yellow Robin.