Latest bird news from Bruny Island, Tasmania

Subject: Latest bird news from Bruny Island, Tasmania
From: Dr Tonia Cochran <>
Date: Sun, 03 May 1998 10:25:18
Hi all,

A few birding sights lately have inspired me to send an update on the bird
happenings here on Inala (Bruny Island Tasmania).

Most of our summer immigrants have now left us, and the endemics and
'regulars' are more noticeable because of it. The New-holland honeyeaters
and Yellow wattle birds are making the most of the flowering whitegums
(Eucalyptus viminalis). Black-headed and Yellow-throated honeyeaters, and
green rosellas are also numerous at present, as are Crescent honeyeaters
who seem to be "Egypting" all over the place. The Forty-spotted pardalotes
are looking relaxed now that they are not being hassled by the Striated
pardalotes, which are also common in the whitegums here over the summer
months but leave us over winter.

Birds of prey are also very noticeable- one of the pair of white goshawks
still pays a daily visit, and a single Wedge-tailed eagle (vulnerable
Tassie subspecies) is also a regular visitor. The Brown goshawks are also
regularly patrolling over the denser forest behind my house. They
successfully reared one young this season and I had great pleasure watching
it grow up and fledge, as their nest is situated in a large messmate
stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua) just next to one of the bush tracks. They
reared 2 young in the same nest last year. A pair of White-bellied
sea-eagles also flew just over my head yesterday as I was walking around
the property-they're rather large up close, aren't they?

Last Monday, as I was walking around the property with some visitors, we
saw 4 different male Pink robins within an area of approximately 300 square
metres. I have noted where they are most likely to be over the years and
every territory we came to, we were greeted by the familiar "tick" of an
irrate male. One seemed to be a young bird which appeared to have just
moulted into his male colours. While we watched from approx. 2 metres away,
he performed this most amazing head bobbing/chattering to another brown
bird that was almost completely obscured from our vision, which I first
assumed to be a female Pink robin, but which may have been a Tasmanian
thornbill (I heard a few distinctive thornbill sounds as it moved off
through the undergrowth). Can anyone guess whether this was some sort of
begging behaviour or a practice territorial thing? Whatever it was, he was
so engrossed in it that he was oblivious to our presence/talking and we
were able to watch the performance for several minutes. By the way, from my
experience, I tend to see most Pink robins on days that are overcast, or in
fine drizzle or light rain. Any comments on similar experiences?

Still on robins, there are many Flame and Scarlet robins around, and one
often sees the males of both species together-a most eye-catching sight!
Our endemic Dusky robin is also a common sight on fence posts and tree

Over the last couple of weeks, a Lewin's rail has also become a regular
visitor to my front verandah (Yes, they do exist folks, so stick that page
back into the field guides). It usually appears early in the morning or
just before dark, and it is wonderful to watch it poke about approximately
2-3 metres away as I am eating my breakfast at the kitchen table. It
doesn't seem to be bothered by sudden noises (I guess its used to me
crashing around the house) and I often wonder if it can see me as I move
around inside the house. The resident Tasmanian native hens that live just
outside my house have certainly become used to my presence and don't take
much notice of me any more. They don't seem to hassle the Lewin's rail,

The Black currawongs are also starting to make an appearance in largish
groups. They tend to disappear into the higher altitudes over summer
(mainly the SW wilderness) and visit us over winter. It is not unusual to
see a flock of up to 200 in the paddocks here during the winter, turning
the cow pats to look for worms.

Well that's about all for now. I'll keep birding-aus posted as new birding
developments occur here.

Cheers, Tonia.

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