Night birds by day

Even in the depths of a central Victorian winter there are is plenty of activity in the bird world to be enjoyed.

This Australian Owlet-nightjar was snapped enjoying a brief burst of sunshine at the entrance to its roosting hollow, while Powerful Owls are clearly keeping the local Galah population in check.

Australian Owlet-nightjar, Rise and Shine, 8th July 2018

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Powerful Owl with Galah, Newstead, 8th July 2018

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Three of each

Nothing terribly original here … but these two species have been lining up in front of the camera in recent days, demanding to be seen!

Jacky Winter, Newstead Cemetery, 6th July 2018

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Nankeen Kestrel (female) near Walkers Swamp Moolort Plains, 7th July 2018

Male Nankeen Kestrel on Clarkes Road, Moolort Plains

A different male in the same area

‘Muskies’ up close

Lovely close-up views, earlier this week of Musk Lorikeets at the Welshmans Reef Caravan Park.

Higher up in the flowering Yellow Gums were a small number of Purple-crowned Lorikeets – they remained hidden amongst the foliage and impossible to photograph. They’ll be worth another try at a later date.

Musk Lorikeet, Welshmans Reef, 3rd July 2018

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Kites doing ‘good work’

It seems there has been a small influx of Black-shouldered Kites onto the Moolort Plains in recent weeks.

This species, along with the Brown Falcons and Nankeen Kestrel, are very fond of house mice and perform a wonderful ecosystem service in rodent control.

Black-shouldered Kite near Frogmore Swamp, 4th July 2018

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One of a pair near Joyce’s Creek enjoying a meal of Mus musculus

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Its partner

The cemetery in winter

The Newstead Cemetery and environs are a favourite and well-known birding spot, especially from late spring through summer when Rainbow Bee-eaters are breeding.

It’s a place that also worth a visit in winter – especially for Flame Robins which can be reliably seen in small numbers.

Earlier this week I was rewarded with good views of a male Flame Robin, but the real highlight was a male Hooded Robin. I suspect this bird is resident in the bushland to the north (ideal ‘hoodie’ habitat), making occasional forays into more open country over the cooler months.

Red-browed Firetail, Newstead Cemetery, 3rd July 2018

Jacky Winter

A diagnostic shot!

Male Hooded Robin

Darter @ dusk

This Australasian Darter made a compelling silhouette on dusk at Welshmans Reef, before departing north across the lake.

Australasian Darter @ dusk, Welshmans Reef, 1st July 2018

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Flame Robin portraits

The adult male Flame Robin is described in most field guides as having slate-grey upper parts and an orange-red throat, breast and belly.

As you can see from the images below, an individual spotted in the Mia Mia on Sunday, there are often some subtle ‘imperfections’. Firstly, the underparts contain areas of lighter orange – not a uniform orange-red, with these areas becoming visible as the bird turns in to the light. Secondly, the crown is suffused with faint but easily discernible traces of orange. This is difficult to see at a distance but close up the detail is evident. What a glorious bird!

Flame Robin (adult male) Mia Mia Track, 1st July 2018

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