Birds at the eclipse

Subject: Birds at the eclipse
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2012 08:33:55 +1000
We came up to cairns for the eclipse, we were staying in palm cove but decided 
that there would be too much morning cloud over the sea. So we drove inland to 
Mareeba and a little further west and had perfect views of the eclipse from a 
stop by the road on high ground facing east amidst mango orchards.
Around about were white-bellied cuckoo-shrikes, figbirds, pied butcherbirds and 
magpie larks. In front of us was a weedy field with cisticolas calling from it.
The eclipse was about an hour after sunrise, and so not as dramatic as it would 
have been later; it only got appreciably dark five minutes before totality, and 
totality itself was quite short, only about 1 minute.
My attention was torn between the sun and the birds, I didn't notice any 
unusual behaviour, all that happened was that for about the ten minutes of 
darkness the birds fell silent and didn't move about. After the eclipse they 
carried on as before.
If we'd been on the coast it would have been interesting to see if the 
torresian imperial pigeons headed offshore when it got dark!

John Leonard

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