Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Winter in the Nuggettys – Nature News 4th July 2017

Posted on 6 July, 2017 by Connecting Country

For this month’s Nature News (also on page 15 of this week’s Midland Express), Nuggety Ranges Landcarer  Jane Mitchell writes about living on her property ‘Sunnydale’. This Nature News is dedicated to Jane’s recently departed daughter Clara Annie Patterson.

At ‘Sunnydale’ the birds are feeding off the last fruits of the year. Grey Currawong, usually too shy to come close, are attracted to the Persimmon tree near the back door along with groups of Silvereyes. The Pomegranate, planted by our European forebears, is a favourite of the Crimson Rosellas who tear at the split fruit with their strong beaks to reach the jewels inside. Then the smaller birds can follow now access has been granted.

Grey Currawong in Persimmon Tree, Sunnydale. Photographed by Jane Mitchell.

‘Sunnydale’, our home of 32 years, is in the Nuggetty Ranges which lie on the northern side of Maldon. Surrounding our land is Box-Ironbark bushland which provides habitat for over 60 species of birds and counting.

The Hedge Wattles are a favourite safe house for the Blue Wrens. Kookaburras have vantage points in the Grey Box and Yellow Gums to observe for their hunting purposes.

Overhead are Little Eagles, Wedge-tailed Eagles and Brown Falcons. There is a constant background sound-scape from Spotted Pardalotes. New Holland Honeyeaters exert their territorial rights in groups. Family groups of Red-browed Finches share the bird bath in turns returning to and fro their bush hideaway.

Then there are the seasonal visits from the male and female Scarlet Robin and Black-faced Cuckoo- shrikes who have their own particular flight habit. The thornbills twitter and flick through the taller canopy so fast they can barely be discerned.

Crimson Rosellas’ clear ringing call reaches across the valley. My special friend the Grey Shrike-thrush is a warming presence. Now the bronze-wings and Peaceful Doves are looking for any leftover Ruby Salt-bush seeds and are helping themselves to fallen pomegranates in their quiet, purposeful manner.

After the sun sinks the dark brings new visitors. A Southern Boobook call is a low, throaty sound from different vantage points. I hesitate to confirm but on a few evenings in the past the single and duet call from Barking Owls have been heard.

We are so fortunate to have this special place to live and share with our feathered friends. Each day I delight in their presence.

Silvereye in Persimmon Tree at Sunnydale. Photographed by Julie Hough

4 responses to “Winter in the Nuggettys – Nature News 4th July 2017”

  1. Carol Barker says:

    A beautifully written account of your treasured life in the Nuggettys Jane. I was there with you whilst reading your report, enjoying your wonderful birdlife. I have recently done a 20 minute survey nearby along the Box Track. Masses of Varied Sitella, Yellow Thornbill and Fuscous Honeyeater all busy feeding at their particular niches of the same habitat of Box Ironbark country. Thinking of you Jane, love Carol

  2. Cathy McCallum says:

    Your writing is a wonderful way to honour your daughters life and provide such vivid stories of the birds in your garden at Sunnydale. Thank you for sharing with us Jane.

  3. Pauline Marshall says:

    Thank you for the walk around your garden in the company of the birds, Jane. Your commitment to their habitat and the beauty that surrounds them rings through with their songs. x Pauline

  4. Sue Boekel says:

    Thank you for your lovely story to brighten winter, Jane and such an important reminder that we should hold all the beautiful, little life forms close and always care for them respectfully. Love Sue x

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