Morning around Woodlands

Just as the weather goes back into climate overload, and the weather man predicts high temps, we decided on a stroll to the former Bandicoot Hilton to see how the redcaps were faring.

On the way we lucked out and had a chat with Travis the Bandicoot Hilton concierge.  He was doing the usual fence and gate inspection, and informed us of the pending likelihood of another lock out due to fox renovations.  At this time of the year its not a concern as there is plenty of other things happening in the park. But as the release day for the Bandicoots is rapidly,as they say, drawing closer it’s likely to be about the same time as the Flame Robin return, and another season’s opportunities with the flocks will go down the gurgler.

A big problem for us with the redcaps out there is the lack of info this year on territories. As they are quite furtive little birds when nesting, it is really difficult to know where to look with any assurance.  Knowing the area each pair is moving about in narrows where to look. But we lost that opportunity for this year, as we couldn’t get in.

Travis made the point, and I agree, that the best piece of environmental information comes from being in a spot for an hour or so and logging what is happening. Even a butterfly going past is helpful info.

He did warm my old heart, by explaining that the old, now somewhat redundant fence-line, across Gellibrand Hill was in stages being removed. So it will be easier to gain access down to the area south of Gellibrand without a hike around and down. And then a hike. Back up again. That’s the part that keeps me out of there at the moment.  Must go see if the Wedge-tailed Eagles know about all this.

After an hour or so around the area inside the fence, it was obvious today was not to be a red cap red letter day. Major find for the day was a Brown Goshawk that propped in a tree for a bit of a rest.  Then a Brown Falcon cackling as  it sped by, and high overhead a Little Eagle doing its U shaped dive and dips So we sauntered on down to the old dam area. It, as I suspected is rapidly running out of water, and won’t be much fun for wintering over waterbirds.

And quickly we came across a very co-operative Shining Bronze Cuckoo, and then a small family party of Red-capped Robins, a female, two juveniles, and a pair of older juveniles moulting into adult plumage.  One of which is no doubt a male. He was very attentive to the female, feeding her several times in the 30 minutes or so I was watching.  But trying to get near for a photo was not going to work. I’ve said before, when you chase them at 5m, they will fly 10m. Then when you’ve halved the distance, they fly another 10. Now the base is 15m and they are tiny little blobs in the viewfinder.  But.  I was in a hurry and gave it my best shot anyway.  He is quite skittish and I must go back and settle down and see what happens.
Lovely to think there is a replacement or two for the pairs that don’t seem to have survived this summer.

I’ve taken to mailing the pics out of iPhoto to get them in here.  Size differences, but over in Flickr the majority of the images are available a bit larger in size.
This way you get a spread rather than just the isolated ‘best’ of the day.

Brown Goshawk
Shining Bronze Cuckoo
Shining Bronze Cuckoo
Shining Bronze Cuckoo
Male Red-capped Robin Moulting in.
Male Red-capped Robin beginning to show chest colours
Male Red-capped Robin juvenile moulting in.
Male Juvenile Red-capped Robin.

3 thoughts on “Morning around Woodlands

  1. Gday David been lucky enough to see the red caps nearly everytime I have been to woodlands over the last 5 months, and none of them inside the back paddock which is surprising but have notice the lack of birds now inside…. If you need any details of where I have seen them feel free too email me


    1. Hi Philip,
      Glad you’ve had success with the redcaps. Met a couple just recently from the US and they were hoping to add redcaps to their Ozzie list and managed to find a pair. So that was nice.
      The area from the carpark to the backpaddock is particularly quiet. A pair that were permanent along the trackside have either moved or… no sign for a couple of months. He was having a really hard time from a Scarlet Male who had moved in to the territory. So maybe in the end they looked for other areas.
      Down by the Dam, East of the track, 500m is worthwile place, but again I don’t have a permanent pair to work with.
      The backpaddock this time last year had about 5 pairs working in about 500m of the gate. But so far this year we’ve struggled to find any.
      Nor is there any on the ridge that runs down to the old quarry. But. I suspect in the water course on the east of that ridge there may be a couple of permanent pairs.
      When the backpaddock was locked for the bandicoot quarantine, we lost were the territories were, and really haven’t been able to make up in the meantime.

      I try to keep this blog fairly current of our activities and if I find any thing will be glad to drop you an email.
      My mate Andrew H, (he has a blog on wordpress, see the side bar,) is a regular out there and being younger and fitter than I, covers more ground, so he is worth watching too. He also has a good site over on Flickr. I’ll add a link.

      Hopefully catch you out there one day.


  2. G’day David, the first pair of red caps were only about 50 to 70 metres from the carpark on providence road, the first group of trees on the right hand side near the dead gum tree, but haven’t seen them the last 2 months but the last 3 trips I have found the red caps on the road between the back paddock and the cemetery about 150 metres to the west of the back paddock gate. On Friday I saw them in this exact spot it’s just south of the hospital dam. The scarlet robin is still around near the big gum tree south of the power lines in that 50 metres between the power line and the back paddock in the thin wattle grove. I got 60 species on friday which is by far my best daily tally at the park

    Cheers Phil


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