Despite the strong wind I had a rewarding day birding at Long Forest.
Inspired by the book 'Birds of the Long Forest - 1889-2005' I went to
enjoy the Mallee and other habitats close to Melbourne. Just after
sunrise I sat down along a dam in the Oldhouse block for a cuppa and a
dozen stunning Spotted Pardalotes joined in for a drink including 2
Fuscous Honeyeaters. Within minutes after I started walking I suprised
2 Speckled Warblers behind the second dam along Oldhouse track. Close
range views but not for long. Next was a walk around Canopus block.
Along Steep track the first birds were 2 Yellow-rumped Spotted
Pardalotes. Compared to the nominate race these Yellow-rumped looked
also slightly bigger. Does anyone else have the same experience?
At the bottom of Steep track close to Coimadai creek I found a Rufous
Fantail which is a rare sighting for Long Forest. Still, highlight of
the day should have been the 3 Chestnut-rumped Thornbill I saw at
Djerriwarrh block but I could not nail them 100%. I've seen a whitish
eye (not red but also not bright white; a bit like Western Thornbill),
red rump, broad black tail with thin white tip (I saw them often
flying away from me; they always stayed low; foraging on the ground or
lower parts of the trees), no stripes on chin/chest but the birds
seemed a bit too warm in colour on their back and flanks. It wasn't
slaty-grey; more brownish with warm whitish flanks which confused me.
Where it Brown Thornbills after all? I don't think so if I take the
red rump and broad black tail into account. Idid follow them for appr.
10 minutes, may be more because I was aware of the fact that I was
onto something special. I'm familiar with Brown Thornbills which were
also around. They were even warmer brown, foraging slightly higher;
were in different groups and did not mix with what I call
Chestnut-rumped Thornbills. Unfortunately I'm not sure what sound they
made. If anyone can shed some light on this case/birds, please email
me. What does a juvenile look like?
Anyway other nice species were Varied Sittella, Fuscous &
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Brown Treecreeper and lots more.
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