Here’s a piece from our occasional correspondent from Shean’s Creek, Penny Algar.

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“Rainbow Bea-eaters (Merops ornatus, this one obviously needs glasses!!), usually arrive at our place sometime after August and depart towards the end March. Hearing the first warbly, almost guttural calls that herald their arrival, is exciting. The Bee-eaters’ iridescent green and blue plumage is extraordinarily beautiful. I first noticed these birds after hearing tapping sounds on dead timber, a behaviour that seems to be a technique to smash prey, usually butterflies and other insects and presumably bees! I have seen Rainbow Bee-eaters swooping gracefully en masse to take insects on the wing as well as bathing in dust and foraging on the ground. They are very social and seem to always travel in chatty groups.

“This year their numbers seemed to be slightly down on previous years. I have never seen a nest but there are many areas of eroded gully banks nearby where they might breed. These photos were taken with a 500mm lens near the house dam. The dead tree perch is popular with many birds but is particularly enjoyed by the Bee-eaters. This bird had just caught a female Common Brown Butterfly (Heteronympha merope).”