Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spring is Springing

Whilst we may still officially be in the throes of winter [austral seasons] the birds have already started giving out clear signs that spring is well and truly on its way. At school a couple of Year 4 lads [9-10 year olds] grabbed me the other day [playground duty] to point out a Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala at its nest. Fay and I, monitoring the birds of the open woodland below Meandu Creek Dam [part of the Tarong Power Station complex], noted a pair of Torresian Crows Corvus orru collecting a few of the larger fallen leaves. Nearer home, the Australian Magpies Cracticus tibicen appear to be in nesting mode – and our local pair still has a couple of almost, but not quite, fully fledged juveniles from a previous breeding attempt.

An even more telling sign came from the school grounds a little over a week ago when I heard the first Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus. It scheduled its first appearance on a Monday, during the weekly school parade. Most of those present accepted that I would suddenly leave the hall to investigate the call: “Mr B” is the local lunatic birdwatcher; he does things like that!

A few days later the first Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis appeared at Allen Road. It was almost immediately followed by our own first Noisy Friarbird.

Other signs abound. In avian terms alone the Grey-crowned Babblers Pomatostomus temporalis are busily collecting nesting materials. A pair of Pale-headed Rosellas Platycercus adscitus has twice investigated the recently repositioned nestbox; will we finally break our failure at attracting these truly beautiful birds to accept our nestbox? The local White-winged Choughs Corcorax melanorhampus appear to be more visible and active. Along Berlin Road last Sunday we observed a Galah Eolophus roseicapillus closely examining a number of hollows in the sole tall gum tree left standing on the corner with Jensen Road.

The nights may still be below ten but the days are warming up. Spring is around the next corner.