Noisy Pitta and Russet-tailed Thrush

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Noisy Pitta and Russet-tailed Thrush
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002 13:06:28 +1000
A Noisy Pitta and a Russett-tailed Thrush were both enjoying a good source
of food in a remnant watercourse at Ravensbourne the other morning, each
busily foraging no more than maybe three metres apart.

So intent were they both, that I was able to creep ever closer to them,
snapping photographs from very distant to distant to fairly near as I went,
with John Raby alongside videoing. Well, we began by creeping and holding
our breath, which degenerated into  clumping around and talking to each
other as the birds proved not to really care about us, up to a distance of
maybe seven or eight metres from the two of them.

The pitta was moving around a lot more than the thrush, which was mostly
concentrating on just one small patch in the litter, and when they came
close to each other the pitta reacted aggressively, offering a spectacular
threat display, head down, wings spread, with iridescent blue wing coverts
flashing like beacons right in the thrushes face. There were two or three
such confrontations, and in every case the thrush was driven a little way
off. But the pickings must have been too good for it to move back too far,
it just relocated a little and got on with foraging in the litter a couple
of metres off from the pitta - which seemed to be an acceptable distance.

I managed to get some photographs of the pitta in display mode, but of
course I ran out of film and equally predictably the pitta subsequently
wandered up to within a few feet of me! Full-frame distance from a big,
brilliant, chunky Noisy Pitta! John's videos were great, he captured the
whole thing, and I'm anticipating getting some still shots from him in due

Red-tailed Cockies are around every day, and Glossy Black Cockies remain
frequent. A couple of days ago a Peregrine Falcon arrived clutching a Common
Myna which must have come from a neighbour's place - we see mynas in our
air-space sometimes, but they don't have landing rights at Abberton. The
Peregrine took his catch up to a dead tree and sat for a while, letting us
scope them both briefly, before it headed further upstream in search of a
suitable feeding spot.

We've been seeing quite a few Banded Lapwings lately, and last week I found
one sitting on three eggs - not on anything recognisable as a nest, of
course, just the eggs in the shallowest of scrapes in the middle of a dry,
almost grassy paddock. I was able to photograph the beautiful green eggs
when she was off the nest, and noted happily that she was back settled on
them just a few minutes later.

Bill Jolly

Lockyer Valley, Queensland.

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