A visit to Joyce’s Creek yesterday turned up an unexpected delight. While watching Brown Falcons and Whistling Kites upstream from the highway bridge I heard the unmistakable ‘bhzzt … lek’ calls of a Golden-headed Cisticola – at least two birds were calling along the margins of the creek.
Until yesterday I’ve never managed any half-decent photographs of this species. They are widespread in the district and can be seen, or more often heard, in rank roadside grassy areas, on the margins of wetlands, crops and as in this case along waterways. They are especially fond of open sites with tall grasses, thistles and rushes.
Males develop a golden cap during the breeding season – I suspect the bird pictured is a male as it was calling from exposed perches, but then again males have shorter tails than females and this bird has quite a long tail! If it is a male the boldly streaked crown will be transformed to gold in coming weeks. These birds will almost certainly breed along Joyce’s Creek – the nest is an intricately woven dome of grass, spiders web, plant down and leaves with a side entrance. What a delightful bird!