Colourful bee-eater snapped

Keith Ireland snapped this Rainbow Bee-eater with some food ready to take back to its nest.

Some years ago, while driving along a road that was not far out of Yeppoon and fairly close to the sea, I noticed some Rainbow Bee-eaters on the overhead power lines.

This seemed to be too good an opportunity to miss so I pulled over to the side of the road to watch these birds.

It wasn’t very long before I saw one bird dive down and land on the ground on the opposite side of the road.

As Bee-eaters nest by burrowing out a tunnels in soil or sand, I drove down the road to where I could turn around and come back up. I stopped about 20 metres back from where the bird had landed.

As the birds were back up on the telephone lines, I got out of the car and had a slow walk around looking for what might be a nesting tunnel. I found it very quickly so returned to the car.

By turning the car, I was able to find a position where I could open my driver’s window and had a clear view of where the nest was in the grass.

By repositioning my rear vision mirror, I was able to watch the power lines above.

After a short time, two birds came back with one having something in its beak. Down it came and stopped in front of the entrance to the tunnel.

The photo in the illustration is one that I took of that bird while it was standing there.

From then on, although there were a couple of other opportunities for photos, the birds seemed to continue their dive and go straight into the nest rather than stop before entering. When leaving, they just zoomed out and away.