Meeting the family

Melbourne turned on one of those great days for the long-weekend holiday.

Not too hot, plenty of sunshine, mild breeze.  Load up the car and go for a picnic.  Well, put in the cameras and to look for Red-capped Robins.

There is never a guarantee about what we might find, but within about 10 minutes we had found both of the young redcaps we had been folowing, and their doting father.  Although I think he is now pretty much in advisory category rather than working hard to feed his young family.  They seem both quite grown up, and taking on much more of the female’s red bonnet and buff chest.  What was a surprise was that the female turned up.  She is quite the well dressed young thing.  So its likely she has moulted into winter dress.  And what a stunning combination she is showing, not a feather out of place, and with a lovely apricot wash on her chest.

He, on the other hand, is still much in the process of preparing for winter and has a few streaky feathers in his cap, and a collection of used feathers elsewhere.

The young are scruffy, but very active.  One of them plopped down on a branch less than a metre from my camera and sat there for nearly a minute.  It is always interesting to see them closeup, as it’s easy to forget how small they really are. We look at the pictures on the big screen and forget the scale of the bird.  This little tiny breathing wisp, is all a red-cap really is.

Juvenile Red-capped Robin. This youngster has just swallowed a large moth, you can still see the moth down on its beak. It needed to rest for a few minutes to digest the huge meal.
Male Red-capped Robin, he is now in caretaker mode, not very vocal, and just starting to moult through for winter.
For us, the shot of the day: Female Red-capped Robin, sporting her new winter dress of apricot wash. She has been conspicuous by her absence the past few times we have been out. So nice to have her back on the block.
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2 thoughts on “Meeting the family

  1. David, just found your blog, lots of beautiful photos. I am a learning photographer who is quickly falling in love with all the local birds. As it is very close to home I am a frequent visitor to Woodlands Historic Park, but have never been lucky enough to spot any of the stunning little red capped robins. Do they hang out in any particular area of the park?

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    1. Hi Andrew,

      The redcaps do indeed seem to frequent the area of the park to the East, down Providence Road and in the “Back Paddock” fenced area. It is mostly amongst the Grey Box forest with the light understory. Right at the moment, I think the males are moulting into winter coats, and vain little creatures that they are, they seem to disappear for the two weeks or so of the process. We have been very unlucky of the past several trips not to find any at all. The Scarlet is still in the area around the Map Shelter. But, he is very active and may be as much as 500-700 metres in any direction.
      Let’s know if you have some success.
      David

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