Author Archives: Geoff Park

Golden Brown …

… texture like sun – late afternoon observations from Joyces’ Creek.

Golden-headed Cisticola, Joyce’s Creek, 15th May 2020

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Australian Shelducks

Brown Quail

A nod to Dave Greenfield (29/3/1949 – 3/5/2020) keyboard genius from The Stranglers.

Falco portrait

Just this today … Brown Falcon Falco berigora, a portrait in monochrome.

I’ve observed a few raptors in our skies in recent days – Collared Sparrowhawk and Australian Hobby in town and this Brown Falcon at Picnic Point.

Brown Falcon, Picnic Point, 12th May 2020

Mixed bag

Quite an assortment of birds last evening at Picnic Point.

The Zebra Finches were a highlight – a flock of around a dozen – the first I’ve seen for some months.

Brown Falcon, Picnic Point, 12th May 2020

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Male Flame Robin

Female Flame Robin

Galahs heading north over Picnic Point

Zebra Finch – female

Zebra Finch – male

Picnic Point in the golden hour

Coming in second behind a Cisticola

These two adult White-bellied Sea-Eagles were eclipsed by the tiny Golden-headed Cisticola in yesterday’s post. I unwittingly disturbed them from their perch in the fringing River Red Gums to the east of Joyce’s Creek on Sunday afternoon. I’m puzzled by the dark blotch on the breast of the bird in the last image – is it a trace of remaining immature plumage or mud? I suspect the former.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Joyce’s Creek, 10th May 2020

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Cisticola exilis

A pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagles soaring over Joyce’s Creek yesterday afternoon was no match for this little bird …at least in my book!

It’s a Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis.

This species inhabits areas of dense, tall grassland and rushes, usually near wetlands in this part of the world. I have also seen them in overgrown grassy habitat along roadsides on the Moolort Plains. This spot, either side of the railway bridge at Joyce’s Creek, has been a happy hunting ground for Golden-headed Cisticolas in recent years.

This one is a non-breeding male and it was alone when I observed it amongst dead thistles and knotweed as it flitted about in search of insects. They are curious birds and will often ascend to perch on a high-point to investigate a newcomer. They have a distinctive thin, buzzing call mixed with liquid chirps, unlike any other local species. My local observations tend to have been over the cooler months and I suspect they are at least partly migratory in central Victoria.

Golden-headed Cisticola, Joyce’s Creek, 10th May 2020

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Cisticola habitat @ Joyce’s Creek

Just another sunny autumn afternoon in the ‘Shine’

Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, 9th May 2020

Australian Owlet-nightjar

Flame Robin

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Autumn Greenhoods Pterostylis revoluta

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Eastern Yellow (Blue and Green) Robin

Spent some time with a pair of Eastern Yellow Robins last weekend at the northern edge of the Mia Mia. Both individuals were banded, image III is the female, while the remaining images are of the male (See comment from Lana Austin and footnote).

See here for more on the Monash genetics study that these birds are contributing  to.

Eastern Yellow Robin, Bell’s Lane Track, 5th May 2020

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Footnote provided by Lana Austin (PhD candidate, Monash University):

Images 1, 2, 4 & 5 – an adult male (dark green – light blue/dark blue), and image 3 is an adult female (light blue/black – dark green). This pair didn’t have any luck with breeding last season, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. One particular nest they built was directly over Bells Lane, 12 m off the ground (this is approaching the maximum height for EYR nests!). They managed to keep their brood safe for around 2 weeks before the nestlings were predated, most likely by another bird. They probably tried again after that, however the extreme heatwaves in December cut the breeding season short. As the pair are still spending time together I would expect them to breed again this coming August (normally divorce happens either during, or immediately after, the breeding season). We will be out there keeping an eye on things so I can keep you posted!