Satin Bower-bird in Ivanhoe

Subject: Satin Bower-bird in Ivanhoe
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2013 11:29:05 +1100
Yesterday evening (22 Dec.) at 6.30 (DST) Brian and I were walking down Clark Rd, Ivanhoe, when we saw a large passerine bird land on a neighbour's roof-edge. It was definitely not one of the usual locals (Magpie, Little Raven, Pied Currawong) but a rather chunky, shorter-legged bird with a blunt bill, and monotone colouring in a green tone. The colour first made me think Green-backed Oriole, but it turned towards us and I saw that it lacked the white breast - plain dull green with no markings at all, and its head shape was definitely Bowerbird, with feathers at the base of the bill.

I decided it was a Satin Bower-bird, immature, lacking the scallop markings of older and female birds. I did not see if the eyes were blue; they may have been brown or dark. In a state of disbelief, I walked down the front path for a closer look if possible but the bird took off, showing the wing-feathers distinctive bronze tone. It flapped off over the house, towards Darebin Creek, which runs behind the Clark Rd houses. Light conditions were reasonable on an overcast evening. Alas, I had no camera with me.

Brian thinks he may have seen it in our backyard the morning before, near our mulberry tree, which is full of fruit and frequented by Common Mynahs, Blackbirds, Rainbow Lorikeets, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes, flying-foxes and Brushtail Possums. Unfortunately, Brian does not wear his glasses when he is gardening.

I presume that a dispersing immature bird could have followed the Yarra River down from the ranges in the Warburton area. The Darebin Ck./Yarra River confluence is about 500 metres away in a straight line.

Anthea Fleming

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