Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"The First Koel"

This morning, after the fog lifted about 10:00am (hooray), and watery sunshine broke through, I heard a strange bird calling. Strange for Robertson, anyway. It was a Koel. (Eudynamys scolopacea) - referred to as the "Common Koel" - obviously not a name from Robertson!

These birds are common on the coast, and these days they are common around Bowral in summer, but I have never seen or heard one in Robertson before.

Koels are Cuckoos which parasitise the nests of the large members of the Honeyeater family of birds - generally Red Wattlebirds and Noisy Friarbirds. As Robertson is not an area where Eucalypts dominate the vegetation, we have relatively few nectar-bearing native plants here. As such, we are not a popular area for the Wattlebirds and Friarbirds. I have seen both here - but as migrants, flying through in migrating flocks in spring and autumn. We do have visits by the "Brush Wattlebird", but they come in when the local Mistletoes are in flower, on the Blackwood Wattles. While here, they also visit the other nectar-producing flowers we people tend to grow in our gardens. But as far as the natural bvegatation is concerned, the Mistletoes are about the only food source, for the Brush Wattlebirds here, and even they are seasonal, for only one species grows on the one species of Wattle. When these plants are not in flower the Wattlebirds move out of the area. Consequently, without their favourite "host species" of birds it has not surprised me that Koels are generally absent from Robertson.

However, here it was this morning - on Christmas Morning.

Nobody who has heard the Koel's call would refer to it as "carolling" - but forgive me a seasonal pun... it was "The First Koel", visiting me, simply for musical reasons and in search of seasonal relevance.

You may listen to the Koel call here (scroll down to the bottom right of that page, and click on the MP3 link). My bird was apparently a female, doing the second of these calls, not the slow single "ko-el" call, which is the one first played on the recording.


mick said...

How nice to have a new bird in your area. I hope however, that you don't have too many of them - and especially not calling right outside your window all night!

Snail said...

It's so much fun seeing birds new to the area. Pun forgiven!

A belated Merry Christmas to you.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick - I know they are often not the favourite birds to have around - for the reason you suggest.

Thanks Snail - I do need to be forgiven for the dreadful pun.
Best wishes for the New Year.

Duncan said...

I think you were darned lucky Denis, to have a bird pop up and give you a seasonal blog title like that. The title can often be the hardest part of blog composition. Good one!

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Duncan.

I agree it is like what songwriters refer to as getting a "hook". Once you have worked that out, everything else falls into place.
Cheers & Happy New Year. Good birding and Mothing, and everything.