A couple of weeks ago I was commenting that we hadn’t seen rainbow bee eaters around January when they visit to sample local bees and a few establish nesting burrows at the western end of the arboretum. Last week we saw a flock of them on a track and wondered what they were eating, and today saw about 20 south of the claypit. These birds are acrobats of the bird world being fast and agile doing loop the loops as they catch bees on the wing, and have a lovely rolling chirrup call.World War II Spitfire fighter planes copied their wing shape to maximise manoeuvrability. We couldn’t find any nests in the usual area but then saw nests in the road burden on the side of the track on the north side of the arboretum.
The burrows look very similar to lizard or goanna diggings, but are rounder and deeper. No doubt a few chicks become goanna tucker. Bee eaters normally burrow in gully walls that are harder for predators to reach.
Alan Kerrigan took a great image of a western bearded dragon digging a burrow. Lucky him, I haven't seen on in decades but they must be moderately common.
Racehorse goannas are also rarely seen as they are usually active in hot weather. They may look fierce but always run away at great speed, which can frighten the daylights out of one. They have been rumoured to climb people, mistaking them for trees, but in my eperience take off in the opposite direction. If you are a nervous type, just take a tall person with you when walking (they are also useful if there is a chance of lightning).