Golden Whistler

GOLDEN WHISTLER Pachycephala pectoralis


There were plenty of bird voices amongst the bushes, small wattles, furze bushes and cassinia, at Kilmore East. The sun was bright and birds were busy.

I could hear the Golden Whistlers calling to each other and they were very intent on their conversation.

Very preoccupied, because they did not mind me moving closer to where they were sitting in the low branches of a dead wattle, maybe twenty metres apart.

The golden coloured male was bobbing his head as he called, watching carefully the brown streaked mate over the way.


Their song is very loud, with both birds taking part in the debate.  Their calls, very easy to identify,  carry well through the trees and bushes, adding a sparkle to the sunny morning.


Butcher Birds

BUTCHER BIRD Cracticus torquatus

This young Butcher Bird and another, I assume to be its mother, sat calling and calling to another bird, fifty metres or more away.

The younger bird shown in the top photograph, is lighter in colour than the adult. It sat on a branch adjacent to the adult, watching and listening carefully, very attentive to what was being said and done.

It is interesting to note that my last photographs of the singing Butcher birds were taken a year ago within a few days, and in the same spot as last year, along the train line at Kilmore East.


It could be the same bird with her young from 2018.  Was she calling to the same mate?


Wattle Birds

RED WATTLEBIRDS   Antohocaera carunculata


We wake each morning, just as the light appears, to the sound of wattlebirds, cheeook, cheeooking outside our bedroom windows. I think it is a beautiful sound, my daughter thinks otherswise.

"They wake me every morning and I can't get back to sleep."

Wattlebirds are one of the most common birds in our area; magpies, crows, currawongs and wattlebirds.

Bossy as they are, they are bright visitors to the gardens of our street, individually and in small groups. The other morning I saw a large group of more than twenty wattlebirds sitting in a tree,seeming to be just enjoying  the enjoy the morning sun.

On Sunday, the sun was trying to peep through the overcast sky, each beam of sunlight brilliantly lighting up the red hot pokers in my neighbour's garden. And the birds were there to admire and to feed off their red, orange and yellow heads.



Superb fairy-wren


A dull grey day yesterday was brightened by the blue wrens feeding amongst the furze bushes along the creek at the end of Moore's Lane. The male was in fulliridescent colours, showing off to a harem of females.




 As a child, much of my understanding of the natural world was England based.

I knee more more squirrels and baby deer than I did about possums and kangaroo joeys. I knew about Moley and Badger than I did of Blinky Bill and bandicoots.

I knew about robin red-breasts, with their scarlet coats. One of my earliest memories is of myself, skipping around a muddy back yard singing a little song my grandmother taught me.

"Little robin red breast sits in the tree,
Up goes pussy and down went he"

I had seen robin red-breasts and thought they were all over England.

I have just spent 6 weeks in Oxford. How disappointing to when I saw the English robins in the garden. Cheeky and cheer as they were, but their chests were a dull rusty colour. Where were the rosy red robins I had known and believed to be from England?


No red breasts at all. Rusty, perhaps ornage. I looked through all the books and internet sites I could find. No Scarlet Robins, no Flame Robins, no Pink Robins. No Yellow or Rose or Red-capped Robins either.

Just the European or Red-breasted Robin, Erithacus rubecula


The disappointment  only lasted a short while. They are a cheeky, inquisitive and entertaining bird; a little larger than most Australian robins. Whilst digging in the garden, they would be around my feet, waiting to see what I turned up. The shyer ones would sit on the handle of my spade or on a perch above my head, watching and waiting. Very friendly, very sociable. I soon became entranced with them.

It is very easy for we Australians to take our bird life for granted. We are so lucky to be able to enjoy the beauty and the variety of birds we have around us.


Golden Whistlers, Fame Robins, White-eared Honeyeaters


Late Autumn is here and Winter not far away.

We have had some good rain this week, the first for many months  and the countryside and bush has suddenly turned green. Tiny shoots are carpeting the ground everywhere turning, what last week was dry dusty ground, to a carpet of green.

Today the sun was in and out of the clouds all day, and little birds were in and about the trees and scrub of the Monument Hill.

Male Flame Robin

This White-eared Honey-eater was enjoying a bath in a middle of the track puddle

Male Golden Whistler

Female Yellow Whistler


Red Wattlebird


The Red Wattlebirds are beautiful. With their yellow bellies and their bright red wattles, they stand so straight and tall, like soldiers at attention. They are cheeky and so often seen, it is a little easy to neglect their regal elegance.


 Described in The Australian Bird Guide as 'Noisy, pugnacious and conspicuous; actively chases smaller birds from food sources by swooping and bill clapping.'

Some also regard their voices as unpleasant; 'a harsh, grating cough or bark' says Michael Morcombe's book. Poor wattlebirds, nobody seems to like them much.

That sounds like the report of an active young boy in his first year at school by a exasperated infant teacher. I liked those lively young boys with 'go' in them at school. Perhaps that is why I like the wattlebirds.

One of my pleasures of early Spring, is to wake in the predawn, to hear  them 'schhhkkkkk, schhkkking, in the trees around our house, like an old man sucking on his false teeth.