April signs

April is the time when Golden Whistlers arrive in numbers to the box-ironbark country, as they disperse from their breeding grounds at higher altitudes to the south. Immature birds dominate the early influx, with the spectacular males lagging by a few weeks. Colloquially known as thickheads (the first image below explains why), the female is rather nondescript, lacking the fine streaks of its woodland counterpart, the Rufous Whistler. Close inspection reveals the lemon vent, a diagnostic feature. Also returning are small numbers of Scarlet Robins, largely absent during the heat of summer, after breeding locally during spring. Their movements are something of a mystery to me as they are found year round further north, although reporting rates are higher during the cooler months.


Female Golden Whistler, Mia Mia Track area, 3rd April 2021


Female Golden Whistler in full voice


The yellow vent is diagnostic


Male Scarlet Robin


Female Scarlet Robin


Female Red-capped Robin

2 responses to “April signs

  1. Lovely photos! I monitor Scarlet Robin on a survey transect at Rise n Shine, close to where the Sandon Rd turns west. They have nested there over the past 3/4 years and usually stay in the vicinity all year. It always gives me a thrill when I locate them there over winter!

  2. I was watching Scarlet Robins play on Thursday (April 1) morning in the bush near Expedition Pass Res.

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