Early autumn in wet forest in Vic Central Highlands

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Early autumn in wet forest in Vic Central Highlands
From: Merrilyn Serong <>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 11:22:29 +1100
Hi all

During the past week in Toolangi and Black Range State forests and in
Yarra Ranges National Park, I have seen most of the usual summer birds
species.  They are still here.  The male Golden Whistlers are bright in
their gorgeous yellow and I guess have finished moulting by now.  Some
of them were looking pretty shabby a few weeks or so ago.  The Rufous
Fantails are still flitting about, but are fairly quiet.  I think there
are less Grew Fantails now.  Honeyeaters include Yellow-faced,
White-eared, Lewin's, Brown-headed and Crescent.  The Eastern Spinebills
are always interesting to watch flying madly about and poking their
beaks into the Mountain Correa flowers many of which are open now.  It
is also interesting to watch the Spinebills working over the Silver
Wattles and looking for caterpillars just like the Golden Whistlers
do.   Shining Bronze-cuckoos do the same thing, too.
There are plenty of Flame Robins by the roadsides.  The Pink Robins
haven't read their field guides as I saw and heard some high in some old
Silver Wattles the other day, with Rose Robins nearby as well.  The Rose
Robins are in good numbers and doing lots of singing.  The other Robin
that is widespread as usual is the Eastern Yellow.
I saw a couple of Red-browed Finches the other day.  I only see them in
this area at this time of year.  I have seen the odd Blue-winged Parrot,
a species I only see here in late summer and early autumn and they are
fairly rare at that.  Another species that I seldom see is the Wonga
Pigeon, but I disturbed one a couple of days ago and it flew up with a
loud clatter of wings, landing not far up the track so I had a good look
at it.  The same day I saw a Whistling Kite not far away, and it's the
first one I've seen in the area.  Usually the only raptors I see here
regularly are Wedge-tailed Eagles and Brown Goshawks.
I haven't seen as many White-throated Needletails this season as I have
for the past couple of summers.
I think there may have been more King Parrots about over summer, not
that there are ever very many.  The Crimson Rosellas are ever present.
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos are about as usual, but I don't think I've
seen any Gang-gangs in the past couple of weeks.
I've seen a number of Fan-tailed Cuckoos recently, sitting out in the
open on overhanging branches.  I watched one fly down and then return to
its perch with a huge furry caterpillar in its bill.  It took a while to
swallow it.  An immature Fan-tailed Cuckoo was being persistently chased
by a Lewin's Honeyeater.  Each time the Cuckoo landed in a tree, the
Lewin's would arrive a second later and chase it off again.
Grey Shrike-thrushes are singing occasionally and making their single
calls that seem typical of winter, and they also make another repeated
call that is a bit reminiscent of a raptor sound.  Speaking of unusual
calls, I  very rarely hear Golden Whistlers making a high pitched
vibrating call, that if I hadn't seen them doing it, I would never have
guessed a GW would make a sound like that.
The other usual birds in the area include the most common, the Brown
Thornbill, as well as White-browed Scrub-wrens, White-throated (and
rarely Red-browed) Treecreepers, lots of wonderful Superb Lyrebirds,
Olive Whistlers,Silvereyes everywhere, Pilotbirds that occasionally come
out of hiding, but call frequently enough, bands of Striated Thornbills
that fly quickly through an area, foraging as they go.  Kookaburras are
widespread and so are Red Wattle birds.  A man in O'Shannassy catchment
area told me he saw an Eastern Rosella there one day, but I have only
seen the Crimsons.  Crested Shrike-tits appear regularly, but not in
large numbers.  There are Spotted Pardalotes in reasonable numbers and
Striated Pardalotes in the older areas.   Bassian Thrushes come out more
often in wet weather and forage along the tracks.  Brush Bronzewings
also forage along the tracks and roads.  Of course there are Eastern
Whipbirds that make a lot of noise foraging about on the ground in the
thick shrubbery or low in the trees where they poke about under
decorticating bark.
I'd better stop now.  I really only intended to mention that the summer
bird species are still present, but probably won't be for long, and I
got carried away.
Happy birding,
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