It’s been some time since I’ve wandered across to Rotunda Park – one of the best birding spots in the district.
A flock of White-browed Babblers allowed me to enjoy extremely close-up views, while the Common Bronzewings were taking advantage of some scattered seed.
White-browed babbler, Rotunda Park, 10th September 2017
Male Common Bronzewing
Female Common Bronzewing
I’d never observed a Red-capped Robin at Rotunda Park … and, until today, I’d never observed a Rose Robin locally.
The Red-capped Robin, a male, was moving in a mixed flock with a few thornbills, honeyeaters and a Golden Whistler. As I’ve seen ‘Red-caps’ just to the north in the Muckleford bush (near Fence Track) this was not entirely a surprise.
Red-capped Robin, Rotunda Park Newstead, 30th April 2017
The Rose Robin however, really stopped me in my tracks. I noticed it chasing insects in the lower foliage of in a large Yellow Box near the shelter. I watched it foraging for a few minutes and noted its habit of dropping its wings and then tumbling in a slightly erratic fashion pursuing insects. This species spends the warmer months at higher altitudes, nesting in the cool, tall forests of the Great Divide. Like the Golden Whistler and Eastern Spinebill, it disperses to the foothills during winter, with a few birds seen along the Murray Valley corridor. This one was a male, possibly immature, as the rose-washed breast was not that vibrant.
Over past weeks our local Yellow Gums have started to flower … but not the heavy blossoming that I was hoping for.
Rotunda Park is notable for its magnificent veteran Yellow Gums and in the past these have lured Swift Parrots to feed on the nectar during April as they arrived back on the mainland from their Tasmanian breeding grounds. In years of bountiful flowering the birds remained right throughout winter.
I fear that once again this year the paucity of flowering won’t be sufficient to encourage the parrots to pay anything more than a fleeting visit. With the Easter break promising excellent weather I’m hoping a few ‘swifties’ might be about.
Juvenile Red Wattlebird, Rotunda Park, 11th April 2017
Yellow Gum buds
Silvereye feeding on Box-thorn
… that the first Eastern Spinebills arriving around Newstead are almost all juveniles, products of summer breeding in the high country to our south.
The adults are not far behind – I’m expecting to see them in about a week or so. I’d be interested to know if other readers have noted a similar pattern.
Juvenile Eastern Spinebills, Rotunda Park Newstead, 3rd April 2017
I’ve spent some time in the Rotunda Park over the past few days – bird activity has been terrific, with Eastern Spinebills, Yellow and Striated Thornbills, Spotted Pardalote, Golden Whistler, Grey Fantail and various honeyeaters prominent.
It was great to see the local family of White-browed Babblers – at least 8 individuals in total, utilising the Newstead Landcare Group plantings to fossick amongst the leaf litter for insects.
White-browed Babbler, Rotunda Park Newstead, 3rd April 2017
A few Eastern Spinebills, all juveniles, have arrived at Rotunda Park – travelling ‘downhill’ from the ranges as they do every autumn.
This species is also affectionately known as the Cobblers Awl, on account of its beautifully shaped bill – perfectly adapted for draining nectar from flowers such as those on offer on the planted Correas in the park.
Eastern Spinebill (juvenile), Rotunda Park Newstead, 2nd April 2017
Feeding on a planted Correa glabra
Last evening I was mildly surprised to find a pair of Weebills tending a nest in Rotunda Park.
It’s unusual, but not entirely unexpected to find woodlands birds breeding in late summer, especially after such a favourable spring.
Weebill in nest, Rotunda Park Newstead, 13th February b2017
Weebill above the nest site
The nest was ~ 2metres above the ground in a flowering Yellow Box
The entrance to the domed nest faces north-east
I thought this juvenile Grey Shrike-thrush also warranted a mention – it’s not long out of the nest and a bit younger than the bird featured yesterday by the Loddon River. In this species the rufous markings around the head and face diminish as they mature.
Juvenile Grey Shrike-thrush @ Rotunda Park