Here are the results of some armchair birdwatching at my latest hotspot. It is always a thrill to catch a glimpse of a Chestnut-rumped Hylacola … and that is usually all you get. This area is one of the few reliable spots for this species in the Muckleford bush and this inquisitive male posed momentarily before running off ‘mouse-like’ as is its habit.
The Rainbow Bee-eater was photographed the previous evening, one of a small flock of six hawking round the dam. I heard them again in the distance last night. Also of note was Diamond Firetail, Black-chinned Honeyeater and Tree Martins chasing insects above the water.
Eastern Yellow Robin, South German Track, 22nd March 2018
Chestnut-rumped Hylacola (male)
Rainbow Bee-eater, 21st March 2018
It’s always good to stumble upon another ‘hot spot’.
In this instance a bush dam on South German Track in the Muckleford bush came up with the goods. While I’ve made a number of visits to this spot over the years I’ve never before seen it so alive with birds – it is one of the few places to offer a safe drinking site for bush birds at present. Honeyeaters (including a wary Black-chinned Honeyeater) were dominant as usual, but the highlight was a party of Diamond Firetails – including the encouraging sight of a juvenile bird, evidence of local breeding success.
Rainbow Bee-eaters hawked for insects overhead – it won’t be long before they depart for northern climes.
Fuscous Honeyeater, South German Track, 18th March 2018
Diamond Firetail (adult)
Juvenile Diamond Firetail
I have a habit of returning to the same places in the local landscape, often over successive days. One of the narrow tracks running west off Mia Mia Track is a personal favourite that I tend to visit at least once every fortnight. Two excursions this week, the first on Thursday and again last night produced a very different set of birds.
Brown Thornbills were ‘hiding’ during my first visit, but were the highlight under dull skies last night. Also of note were Buff-rumped Thornbill, White-eared Honeyeater, Scarlet Robin and a small flock of Rainbow Bee-eaters, none of which I’d observed the day before. The diverse understorey of wattles (especially the Rough Wattle), peas and heath are a key reason for this sites avian richness.
Brown Thornbill, Mia Mia Track, 16th March 2018
… and that leaf again!
I dragged myself away from the water last evening and ventured into the bush along Mia Mia Track.
It’s very, very dry!
There was reasonable numbers and variety of birds. Along with those shown below I also observed: Grey Shrike-thrush, Yellow-tufted and Fuscous Honeyeater, Yellow Thornbill, Spotted and Striated Pardalote, Rufous Whistler and Little Eagle. Not too bad for a 30 minute walk.
Weebill, Mia Mia Track, 15th March 2018
This gall-ridden leaf caught my eye
White-throated Treecreeper (male)
With no prospect of an early autumn break in sight the birds are converging on a series of drying water sources in the Mia Mia. While some of the bush dams are still holding up well, many birds prefer small, shallow pools for drinking and bathing. Their options are quickly diminishing.
Fuscous Honeyeater, Mia Mia Track, 7th March 2018
As I’ve noted previously the Grey Currawong is a shy and furtive species, difficult to photograph.
This juvenile, distinguished by the yellow gape, was lured to water at a small pool along Mia Mia Track. While still wary like the adults it at least perched for a few moments before heading off to an alternative watering point nearby. Bird numbers remain low but I was pleased to hear the following as I sat and enjoyed the day merging into dusk – Australian Owlet-nightjar, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Diamond Firetail and Crested Bellbird.
Grey Currawong, Mia Mia Track, 21st February 2018
Like people, birds have favourite places too.
On Friday evening I visited the western side of Spring Hill that has been a wonderful place for birds over the years. It’s here that I captured my best ever photograph of a male Crested Bellbird, where White-backed Swallows have congregated atop a prominent dead tree and where I glimpsed a Black Honeyeater the year the drought broke.
I was not disappointed on my recent visit – Rainbow Bee-eaters were gathering on that same dead tree as a flock of Varied Sittellas foraged along the bare trunk. I must return again soon.
Super Fairy-wren, Spring Hill, 17th February. 2018