After our earth shattering discovery of access to the Backpaddock, it was obvious we’d soon make a return trip for a good look at what the robins might be up to.
Again the weather dudes, made it pretty certain that a bleak, and perhaps not monumental storm was on the way, and that dire and severe and as it turned out, over active imagination weather was predicted.
We figured to go on Wednesday, and by the late afternoon of Tuesday, the weather prognosticators seemed to have the upper hand. And in the end ‘common sense’ prevailed and I decided to stay home.
However, as seems the case so often, by morning, although a bit windy, the sky was blue. Horizon to horizon. Quick phone call to Mr An Onymous, and he was soon on the way, the car was loaded, and we headed to the Northern Subs.
Once inside the gate, it didn’t take too long for three pairs of eyes, (on second thoughts, make that four pairs of eyes, as EE was with us), to locate a pair of very active, but somewhat suspicious of human activity Red-capped Robins. They were in an area that had not had a pair of birds for at least two seasons, so I figured them to be a new couple. I’m beginning to contemplate that the birds I first saw all those years ago have reached their use by date and that its only now that a new younger generation of birds are building up the numbers again. Fine theory, but??
The “Three Brothers” flock of Flame Robins were no where to be seen, but I went to look for “Sam”, and eventually found him, but he certainly didn’t want anyone leaving Tripod Holes on his Forest, and promptly disappeared.
A pair of Scarlet Robins were also in the area, and EE spent a bit of time with them, eventually getting the male to become bold enough to come in quite close.
Mr An, and I, followed a hunting party of Flames down through the scrub and eventually out manoeuvred them, and were sitting waiting for them to turn up, and they did. Sunshine, Robins, close up, and a good sit spot. Perfect. Probably shot more useful images in the hour or so than I have all season so far.
A problem for the robins was the presence of a couple of Whistling Kites, a pair of very vocal and fast, Brown Falcons, and a very noisy and low flying Brown Goshawk. The slightest alarm call from the thornbill flock and everybody went for cover.
This small Flame flock are new birds for me, and consisted of about 4 males, several females, and 4-5 juveniles. Not having any knowledge of the history of this flock, its a bit hard to determine, but I’d be betting they are on their way back from somewhere, and have chosen to tank up in the forest. They had joined the mobile Thornbill flock, of about 20-30 birds, so it was pretty noisy convoy moving through the open areas.
At least the visit proved what we’d been contemplating, that the food source inside was better than outside, and the shelter of the understory in the Grey Box suits them.
And of course today, the weather has turned feral, so we are not likely to be out there again for at least the mid of the following week.
With only a few weeks to go, its a bit hard to think the season is going to provide much data on the flocks. The encouraging thing I found was that the males were not vocal, and a female matriarch still seemed to be the one that controlled the flock movement.
4 thoughts on “Walking the Backpaddock with intent”
A lovely collection of robins Dave. As usual. I might have to try the back paddock myself when the weather picks up a bit.
Its been a long while since we’ve been out there, the paddock gate has been locked since Feb.
The Flame Robins are really short term, maybe a couple of weeks. The usual Pardalotes and other small birds seem to be absent. But not had enough time out there to work out the territories. No sighting of the Eastern Yellow Robins in the sugar gums either.
Good Luck and fine weather when you venture out.
Another delightful series of shots David, my fave this time being the second one with the pair of red-caps. Even if your visits are short, the information gathered about their behaviour is fascinating and gives us a little glimpse into their daily lives.
The storms are heading our way today 😦
Flickr seems in a hiccup today.
The forest is a great place for these birds to winter over, and they have always come in as largish flocks and then broken that down into smaller hunting groups each with their own preferred area. Then as the season wears on they seem to regroup for the long flight to the nesting areas.
Woodlands is one of the places where Red-caps are predictable all year, so close to Melbourne.
Hope the storms don’t do much damage. Its just chilly cold, today, and our daughter from Ballarat just sent some shots of snow falling.