Jim Thomson | Bee Eaters at home on the river bank

SUPER HUNTER: A pair of Bee Eaters on the banks of the Hunter River with with a butterfly that's on borrowed time.
SUPER HUNTER: A pair of Bee Eaters on the banks of the Hunter River with with a butterfly that's on borrowed time.

Large numbers of Bee Eaters arrive in the southern states of Australia usually late September to breed before returning to Queensland for the winter months.

We are fortunate to have large numbers of these magnificent birds in our area.

Bee Eaters tunnel into the banks of rivers or sand pits, with a chamber at the end which they line with feathers or soft material where they lay their eggs.

It is amazing to watch them in flight, making sweeps of their area and invariably coming back with either bees, dragon flies, sometimes butterflies or other insects. They never seem to miss and the speed of them is something to behold.

Also their colours are undeniably magnificent.

They habitat open countryside and are never found in thickly wooded county .

In recent weeks I have found a number of them nesting in the banks of the Hunter River, quite close to town. Usually sit high in trees and fly back and forth, picking up food or diving down to their nest hole.

This year I was lucky to find a pair on on an isolated branch which was growing out of the water. From the bank – a high point above – I was able to photograph them time after time as they landed with insects.

Every now and again one would swoop down and into a hole in the bank where they were developing the nest. Happy days.

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