|Grey shrike-thrush, Keperra.|
The rain didn’t deter me from spending last Saturday morning up on the Keperra escarpment, and if anything, it seemed to embolden the birds!
Twenty-nine species were recorded in the two hours I spent in the bushland reserve, with most being found in the open ironbark woodland at the top of the ridge.
Perhaps due to the steep ascent, I seem to be the only birder on 'eBird Australia' that bothers with this place, allowing me to slowly build the bird list with each new visit.
This time I was able to add records of pheasant coucal (Centropus phasianinus), rufous whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris) and a passing flock of topknot pigeons (Lopholaimus antarcticus) to the site information.
In contrast, birds such as the rainbow bee-eater (Merops ornatus), striated pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) and grey shrike-thrush (Colluricincla harmonica) have been seen on all my visits, including last weekend.
This reserve is one of my favourite spots to photograph the shrike-thrush, as I have found the pair that live on the ridgetop to be quite approachable and co-operative.
Less favourable for photography on Saturday was the light, with the overcast conditions reducing any birds in the trees to dark silhouettes.
As the rain picked up intensity, I put the camera away, only to find myself then presented with one marvellous photo opportunity after another!
At one point, I had a clear view of a male mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundiniaceum) sitting alongside a female spotted pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) in a shrub right in front of me.
After muttering a swear word or two, I forced myself to take a deep breath and absorb the moment through my binoculars alone.
Along the western part of the circuit track, the forest red gums (Eucalyptus tereticornis), wattles and some naturalised mango (Mangifera indica) trees are all currently in flower, attracting crowds of honeyeaters.
Most numerous on Saturday were the yellow-faced honeyeaters (Caligavis chrysops), but the blood-red male scarlet honeyeaters (Myzomela sanguinolenta) were easy to spot amongst the foliage also.
Birds previously seen at this location but not recorded this time around include the pale-vented bush-hen (Amaurornis moluccana), black-faced cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae) and spangled drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus), perhaps reflecting the seasonal movements of these species.