Late arrivals

One of our common migrants has been slow to arrive this year – Rufous Songlarks typically move in from northern climes to breed in mid-spring, however this year it appears to be later with smaller numbers of birds than usual. I observed this pair along the Loddon River last evening, either attending a nest or involved in courtship. The male was arriving regularly at an exposed perch, then uttering a soft, chirring call, very different to the usual rollicking song. This was followed by the appearance of the much smaller female, whereupon both adults would disappear into the rank grass below a fallen River Red-gum.

This the first time I’ve been able to photograph the male and female at the same time, so I was very pleased with the encounter. The songlarks were not the only highlight along the river – tunnel nesters including Sacred Kingfishers, Rainbow Bee-eaters and White-backed Swallows all in good numbers.

RSL1

Rufous Songlark (male), Loddon River @ Newstead, 2nd December 2015.

RSL2

Female Rufous Songlark.

RSL3

The male is conspicuously larger and has bolder markings on the head and face.

RSL4

The female has a pale bill and lacks the rufous tinges around the head.

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