Grassland critters - western Melbourne, Victoria.

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Grassland critters - western Melbourne, Victoria.
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 16:01:50 +1100
Hi birders

I have a long term survey going in a large privately owned grassland in the west of Melbourne (Victoria) - targeting the nationally vulnerable Striped Legless Lizard (or Many-lined Delma) _Delma impar_. The grassland has large native sections, along with badly weed-infested, degraded areas. Delma occurs in both - though more commonly in the predominantly native grassland. I've been out there for the last 2 days checking the lizards out - but noting a few interesting birds along the way.

Singing Bushlarks are relatively abundant there, and are nesting on at least two of my study plots. Regionally rare species - perhaps more common than we think if this farm is any indication. As Skylarks are super-abundant too, it has been an excellent opportunity to watch them both, and revisit how differently they behave and sound. They rarely fly as high as the Skylarks, and so their smaller, more slender body form is obvious. They often circle around just 8-10m above ground, with fluttering shallow wing beats and body mostly horizontal - contrast with Skylarks mostly 30-50m up, body somewhat oblique, obviously bulkier. The bushlark's vocalisations are somewhat more jarring in tone than the liquid notes of the Skylark. Blah ..... very different jizz altogether.

A few Zebra Finches occur wherever there are boxthorn bushes - regionally uncommon species.

I didn't see any Southern Whitefaces this time, but have seen up to 20 - another regionally uncommon species.

Stubble Quail                        Coturnix pectoralis
Straw-necked Ibis                    Threskiornis spinicollis
Whistling Kite                       Haliastur sphenurus
Brown Falcon                         Falco berigora
Nankeen Kestrel                      Falco cenchroides
Rock Dove                            Columba livia
Spotted Turtle-Dove                  Streptopelia chinensis
Galah                                Cacatua roseicapilla
Superb Fairy-wren                    Malurus cyaneus
Yellow-rumped Thornbill              Acanthiza chrysorrhoa
Red Wattlebird                       Anthochaera carunculata
White-plumed Honeyeater              Lichenostomus penicillatus
White-fronted Chat                   Epthianura albifrons
Rufous Whistler                      Pachycephala rufiventris
Magpie-lark                          Grallina cyanoleuca
Willie Wagtail                       Rhipidura leucophrys
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike            Coracina novaehollandiae
Australian Magpie                    Gymnorhina tibicen
Australian Raven                     Corvus coronoides
Little Raven                         Corvus mellori
Singing Bushlark                     Mirafra javanica
Skylark                              Alauda arvensis
Australian Pipit                     Anthus australis
House Sparrow                        Passer domesticus
Zebra Finch                           Taeniopygia guttata
European Greenfinch                  Carduelis chloris
European Goldfinch                   Carduelis carduelis
Welcome Swallow                      Hirundo neoxena
Brown Songlark                       Cincloramphus cruralis
Golden-headed Cisticola              Cisticola exilis
Common Blackbird                     Turdus merula
Common Starling                      Sturnus vulgaris
Common Myna                          Acridotheres tristis
House Mouse                          Mus musculus
Fox                                  Vulpes vulpes
Brown Hare                           Lepus capensis
Rabbit                               Oryctolagus cuniculus
Spotted Grass Frog                   Limnodynastes tasmaniensis
Striped Legless Lizard               Delma impar
Little Whip Snake                    Suta flagellum

Lawrie Conole
Senior Ecologist
Ornithology & Terrestrial Ecology

Ecology Australia Pty. Ltd.
Flora and Fauna Consultants
88B Station Street
FAIRFIELD VIC 3078 Australia
Ph: (03) 9489 4191; Mob: (0419) 588 993
Fax: (03) 9481 7679
ABN 83 006 757 142

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