Category Archives: The Home Garden

Meet the patron saint of birds … in a heat wave

The old saying goes that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your neighbours … I guess we just got lucky!

Pictured below is St. Geordie – the patron saint of birds in a heat wave, keeping our new family of Grey Fantails cool in the 44C heat. The parents and three newly fledged youngsters were doing it tough today, but with Geordie in their corner at least they’ll have a sporting chance.

The ‘patron saint of birds in a heatwave’ … lives right next door!

One of the three Grey Fantails … just fledged, Wyndham Street Newstead, 4th January 2019

Fledgling #2

One of the parents … looking anxious and tattered

Adult and fledgling Grey Fantails

Adult Grey Fantail

Happy New Year and 2018 reprised

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

Bird baths doing their job

Returning home after a few days on the coast I was pleased to see our bird baths doing their job. I’d filled them to the brim when we left on 23 December and most had at least a pool of water remaining, after a succession of days in the ‘high thirties’.

Heatwave conditions can be tough, for small birds especially. There was a steady procession last evening to our home garden watering points – Weebill, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Common Bronzewing and Brown-headed Honeyeater, in addition to those pictured below.

Galahs, Wyndham Street Newstead, 28th December 2018

Australian Magpie

New Holland Honeyeater

Male Spotted Pardalote


This Superb Fairy-wren has been parading around the front garden in recent days … looking, well, superb!

Superb Fairy-wren, Wyndham Street Newstead, 11th November 2018



Colour in the garden

With so much action in the bush and along the river in recent weeks activity in the garden has been overlooked. Along with those pictured below we’ve been hearing Pallid Cuckoo, Olive-backed Oriole, Blue-faced Honeyeater and Mistletoebird.

Common Bronzewing, Wyndham Street Newstead, 29th October 2018

Cimson Rosella feasting on Capeweed


Eastern Rosella

Not fussed!

I used to get frustrated with the fact that native Australian birds often seemed quite at home amongst ‘foreign’ weeds.

My emotions have mellowed over time.

Eastern Yellow Robins seem to really like hanging out amongst the clumps of Blackberry along the Loddon River, while our fledgling Red Wattlebirds have spent most of the past week hiding amongst the foliage and flowers of exotic shrubs bordering our yard.

Red Wattlebird fledgling, Wyndham Street Newstead, 29th September 2018


Eastern Yellow Robin, Loddon River @ Newstead, 29th September 2018


Please note: This post is not advocating a case for ‘weeds’, merely observing that some of our more adaptable species are quite at home in local ‘weedscapes’. I’ve yet to see a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Crested Bellbird or other more particular woodland bird in anything other than intact native habitat.

Hungry mouths

The Red Wattlebirds in the nest outside our back door have fledged … sort of!

Two fluffy youngsters spent most of their first day perched in the mistletoe beside the nest as the parents made regular visits with food. Like many songbirds, the young often leave the nest before they are capable of sustained flight and spend the first week or two lurking in cover while the adults bring food and keep watch.

It’s a tricky time and most of them will get picked off by predators – kookaburras, ravens and currawongs are adept at snatching baby birds, as of course are raptors such as goshawks and sparrowhawks.

Red Wattlebirds fledglings, Wyndham Street Newstead, 27th September 2018