Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, August 13, 2007

Road graders help the birds

This morning, my house was shaking in time with terrible rumbling noises from outside. Lena was going frantic. I had a better idea of what was up (than she did). The road-grading team from the Wingecarribee Shire Council had arrived.

Our local road (to the Cemetery) in fact was not as bad as many local roads which had been badly damaged by the June rains. Belmore Falls Road (the next road south-west from here) has some terrible pot-holes, which may or may not have been fixed by these people. Those pot-holes had not been fixed two days ago.

The freshly graded road, this afternoon.
Anyway, this afternoon, after all was quiet, and the moisture levels were rising in the air, the local birds came out to check out the "fresh pickings".

How about this image - below? Forget the poor level of detail (which is not great) - how often does one get three species like these in the one frame?

Eastern Whipbird (male) - (Psophodes olivaceus) - a notorious "skulker" - which seldom shows itself in the open, was hopping round as bold as brass, getting insects. You can clearly see the black crest, the white cheek mark, and the long dark tail. This bird is famous for its "Whip-crack" call - the female birds give an answering call. There is a recorded version of this bird's call on the linked site (see the name, above). The tone is "flat" (to my ears), but it gives you the idea. (Scroll right to the bottom of the page, and click on "call" - in MP3 format).

I have previously written about my friend George's Whipbird, photographed in his yard.

Grey Shrike-thrush (Colluricincla harmonica) was catching worms out on the open road (grey wings, brown back). This bird is quite distinctive, with its posture (often seen listening for insects, with its head held on the side).

It also has a distinctive "plain" appearance, with a prominent dark eye (clearly visible in the lower photo). This bird is also famous for its harmonious calls - (see its specific name!). Again, the site linked (above) has a convenient MP3 file of the call.

And the Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis) - (sitting patiently on a low branch) is waiting for these mid-sized birds to clear away, to give him the chance to catch some dinner. Once again, that site has an MP3 file of the call, available for easy download.

So a day which started with horrid rumbling sounds and feelings, ended harmoniously.


Gaye from the Hunter said...

What a fabulous collection of feathered beauties all in the one frame !! You certainly did well to capture their banquet :)

I have never been fortunate enough to get such a good look at the Eastern Whip Bird that is mostly heard but not seen.

The Eastern Yellow Robin is one of my favourite birds of the forest. They do not inhabit rural or urban Hunter Valley, but they are a common resident of the forest fringes of the mountains to the east - always delightfully busy.

A most enjoyable account of nature to read first thing in the morning.


Anni said...

I didn't know about Grey Shrike-thrush's (some English words are a pain...) charming Latin name. Well deserved!

Denis Wilson said...

The Grey Shrike-thrushes love these dull, misty days (like today). I saw one in the Cherry Trees on the main street of Robbo this morning. I was with Jim, and commented to him about its Latin name referring to its "harmonious" call. He agreed it was appropriate.

I was surprised to see it in "suburbia" like that, as I think of it as a bird of the forest, or else the forest edge.