Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter rain brings the birds out to play

It may have been less than ideal weather for anyone camping or heading to the beach, but the cooler temperatures and wet conditions this Easter were received with enthusiasm by Brisbane's birds, especially coming off the back of a long, dry summer.

On Sunday I briefly called into Dawn Road Reserve in Albany Creek, and though I was intending to take a closer look at the amazing plant life there, the surprising amount of bird activity on display quickly captured my full attention.

Tawny frogmouths, Albany Creek.

Most pleasing to see were a pair of tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides), huddled up in the mid-canopy.

These birds continue to survive in respectable numbers around Brisbane thanks to suburban bush reserves and leafy gardens that allow them to find shelter and food; overall, however, a population decline is being observed

Elsewhere in the reserve, I found many insectivorous birds had gathered together into mixed-species flocks, a common occurrence outside of the breeding season that allows small birds to find safety in numbers while foraging.

Pheasant coucal (Centropus phasianinus), Albany Creek.
This phenomenon means that birdwatching in autumn and winter can have a 'stop-start' feel to it, where you might not see any birds along a ten-minute walk through the bush, and then suddenly find five to ten species all at once.

At Dawn Road Reserve, I was delighted to observe spangled drongos (Dicrurus bracteatus), white-throated treecreepers (Cormobates leucophaea), silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis), striated pardalotes (Pardalotus striatus), two honeyeaters and all three local fantails—including the willy wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys)—while standing still in the one spot.

I was also impressed by the amount of bird activity given the time of day I had visited; most birders will agree that early morning is the best time to see a maximum amount of birds, yet thanks to the weather, Dawn Road was positively brimming with feathered friends in the mid-afternoon.

Like the birds, I too am looking forward to a reprieve from summer temperatures!

Shared with 'Wild Bird Wednesday', a collection of bird blogs from around the world.

14 comments:

  1. Great shots - enjoying a cool few days by the sea - not many birds (yet), but I live in hope!
    Even though I see them most weeks at this time of year, I still love seeing Frogmouths!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thanks Stewart, yes frogmouths never fail to delight! Enjoy your time by the sea, I wish you jaegers, penguins, orange-bellied parrots and all the rarities you can handle!

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  2. Beautiful photo of the Frogmouths.

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    1. Thank you Neil, they are charismatic photography subjects!

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  3. Hello, the frogmouths are awesome birds. It is upsetting to hear they may be on the decline. Great photos and birds. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

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    1. Thank you Eileen, and yes, it is very upsetting to think we are creating a country that is slowly becoming inhospitable for such beautiful creatures.

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  4. This is a bird that I have never seen "in the flesh". I do hope to see some one day!

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    1. You'd have a few out in the suburbs your way Liz, so be on the lookout! Any chunky bird sitting on aerial wires at night will most likely be a frogmouth :)

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  5. Hi Chritian. Youe really captured the essence of the frogmouth there the way it blends into the backgound and relies upon its camouflage to "hide from you. They must take a lot of finding, especially if they are high up and don't move much or at all.

    The Pheasant Coucal seems to be well named with the colourful plumage and the head of the coucal family. Alternatively it could be mistaken for a bird of prey?

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    1. Thanks Phil, sometimes the frogmouths are hard to find and sometimes they are easy. They often "hide in plain sight" so your eyes will suddenly focus on them!

      I suppose the coucal looks like a bird of prey with its large size and streaky plumage! They usually lurk in long grass so with their large tails, your average person thinks they've seen a pheasant rather than a hawk!

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