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.