In common with most bushland areas in central Victoria the Muckleford ‘bush’ is a maze of winding tracks.
Often on my walks I just pick a path and follow it randomly until it winds back to my starting place. Such was the case yesterday when I headed west into the bush off Mia Mia Track. The highlight was a company of Flame Robins, at least a dozen individuals, including a number of brightly coloured males. A female Speckled Warbler, peeking warily from within a small Red Box was also pretty neat!
Male Flame Robin, Mia Mia Track area, 17th June 2017
Female Speckled Warbler
Female Spotted Pardalote
… and a female Scarlet Robin!
Autumn and early winter sees a lot of birds on the move around Newstead. In recent days I’ve noticed a number of ‘bush birds’ around the garden.
For instance we’ve had both Golden Whistlers and Fuscous Honeyeaters around home and I’ve been seeing them as well in their usual woodland haunts at the Rise and Shine and the Mia Mia. White-plumed Honeyeaters are most common along the Loddon River, or wherever you find River Red-gums. They too have been visiting the flowering shrubs in the garden over recent weeks.
Eastern Spinebill, Wyndham Street Newstead, 3rd June, 2017
Fuscous Honeyeater, Rise and Shine, 1st June 2017
Male Golden Whistler, Mia Mia Track, 2nd June 2017
Fuscous Honeyeater @ the bird bath
White-plumed Honeyeaters getting a little feisty
A fortnight ago I went searching for Autumn Greenhoods Pterostylis revoluta along Mia Mia track … without success. By late May I had expected their season to have finished so it was lovely to find a few on a walk in the same area earlier in the week. This magnificent orchid is common in the Newstead bush.
Autumn Greenhood, Mia Mia Track, 22nd May 2017
It was a marvellous morning for birds – Buff-rumped Thornbills, Weebill, Varied Sitella, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped Hylacola (calling) and the highlight – a party of Speckled Warblers! The arrival of a male Collared Sparrowhawk triggered a pause in proceedings as a mixed feeding flock shifted from foraging to ‘freezing’ in an instant.
Male Collared Sparrowhawk
Speckled Warbler … looking slightly nervous!
This set is from an interlude on Mia Mia Road at the weekend.
Despite the grey, overcast conditions the birds were especially active around a patch of Blackberries and Sweet Briar … common woodland birds don’t read the script about the importance of habitat quality I’m afraid!
Also spotted but not photographed were: Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Red-browed Firetail, Grey Currawong and Grey Fantail.
New Holland Honeyeater, Mia Mia Road, 20th May 2017
Perhaps a little earlier than in recent years, a few Flame Robins have arrived in the Mia Mia.
I was surprised to see three different individuals come in to drink at a small dam along Mia Mia Track. I’d never photographed an orange-washed youngster before, so this was a highlight. The birds love this spot in the Muckleford bush, areas of open country adjacent to the more heavily wooded ridge-line provides ideal foraging habitat. I’ll look forward to seeing some adult males in coming weeks.
Flame Robin (immature male), Mia Mia Track, 15th April 2017
Flame Robin (immature)
Flame Robin (immature or female?)
Enjoyed a few magic moments beside one of my favourite waterholes along Mia Mia Track. This Eastern Yellow Robin posed beautifully for the camera, the lure of a drink and bath proving irresistible.
Its companions included the seasons first Flame Robins, the usual honeyeaters (White-naped, Fuscous, Yellow-tufted and Yellow-faced) and an aggressive Red Wattlebird. With Diamond Firetails ‘mewing’ in the background it was a wonderful interlude indeed.
Eastern Yellow Robin, Mia Mia Track, 15th April 2017
Not much to report this week as bush outings have been minimal. This White-throated Treecreeper, a male, was seen last weekend along Mia Mia Track. The male lacks the small ochre neck marking of the female.
This one was incredibly confiding, foraging within a couple of metres in a copse of sapling Grey Box.
Male White-throated Treecreeper, Mia Mia Track, 8th April 2017