Two summers at Wongarbon

Subject: Two summers at Wongarbon
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 15:54:11 +1100
I moved from Dubbo to the sleepy village of Wongarbon (17km east of Dubbo) 
in September 01.

Two summers have come and gone (a sad day as it can only mean winter is on 
it's way).  The contrast between these two summers has been stark.  Summer 
01/02 in my garden was full of songlarks, trillers and Brown Quail and 
cuckoos.  The callistemons had a bountiful flowering and were full of 
Little & Noisy Friarbirds, Spiny-cheeked, Striped & Blue-faced Honeyeaters 
and Yellow-throated Miners.  Apostlebirds and Choughs were regular, if not 
daily, visitors.  Double-barred Finches were in the garden most days.

Summer 02/03 has been an extremely dry one.  The callistemons barely 
bothered putting on flowers and the number of honeyeaters was reduced to 
the resident pair of Striped, a couple of Spiny-cheeked and only the 
occasional visit by the miners and Blue-faced.  I had a male triller for a 
week before it moved on.  Songlarks have been completely absent as have 
the quail - probably as a result of the paddocks across the road and next 
door having been reduced to bare earth - not a blade of grass to be seen. 
I haven't seen a cuckoo all summer around Dubbo until a fortnight ago when 
a lone Pallid was seen between Wongarbon and Dubbo.  The Apostlebirds have 
been constant but the Choughs appear to have found better foraging 
grounds.  The finches haven't been seen at all this summer.  Into the 
garden have moved White-eared Honeyeaters (invariable seen at the pond by 
my window).  A family of Sittellas have been coming into the garden on a 
regular basis.  These latter two species have obviously moved from the 
nearby forest reserve.  The drought, however, seems to have knocked the 
finches out completely.  Undoubtedly they'll return once the drought's 
back is broken.



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