Looking back over the past decade or so of bird sightings at Woodlands Historic Park, one species (among many) that featured in the earlier accounts is the Rose Robin.
The record keepers seem to have quite a number of sightings over the years, and when I first started seriously following the birds as Woodlands, my mate, and mentor, Ray, was often asking about Rose Robin sightings.
However the past few years have seen little evidence of the bird in the area, and no real confirmed sightings that I am aware of.
The past couple of seasons have been highlighted by at least one female Pink Robin, but alas no Rose.
And now we fast forward to 2017, and it seems at least one pair, or small family have taken to making the park their winter residence and making the hearts of birdfollowers beat with an added intensity.
EE and I were a bit more interested in the arrival of the Flame Robin flocks, as they offer a more likely photographic essay.
And so we journeyed under a porridge sky to Woodlands for a morning looksee. Funnily enough every birding person, armed with a wide (and expensive) range of photo hardware asked the same question. “Have you seen the Rose Robin?????” A blunt, “No, and we’re not looking for them at the moment,” didn’t seem to be the right answer, so we modified it, to “No, but we’ll keep looking.” Much more positive.
We dawdled (The wise will understand), off to the Backpaddock, and entered the inner sanctum of the Bandicoot Hilton. And within a few minutes, we had located Flame, Scarlet and Red-capped Robins and set about our morning’s work. I’ll publish over on Studio Werkz some of the portraits.
Job done, weather closing in, so off to Greenvale for a lunch and coffee. On emerging, the light had gone up by about 1 f/Stop, and we concluded that it might be worthwhile going and at least surveying the hospital dam area for future possibilities and scout for the Rose Robin.
Again we met a number of Rose Enthusiasts with their eternal question, and several people who were in various stages of attempting to find the ideal spot for finding a Rose Robin.
We separated into a well know “Sweep and Detect” formation and worked our way around the dam, and then up to the fence line, where my good mate Andrew H had managed a few fine shots of a Rose male, a few days before. And he’d had Sunshine! How much luck is that!
What we did find were heaps of Thornbills, a Golden Whistler, a number of Red-browed Finches, and a lone Fantail Cuckoo that was enjoying a large grub afternoon meal.
In the tree about head height. The familiar wing flicking and mouthorgan like call of Rose Robin! My first guess is it was a female. EE dawdled up and we intensified the formation. Then we decided to meander further north along the hospital fence, and quite quickly came across a male Rose Robin—there I’ve written it again, I get paid heaps for using Rose and Robin in the same sentence 🙂
And with him, another bird, probably the female. They seemed to have a lot to discuss and there was much wing flapping to accompany it all. Pity that (A) the light was now a grey mush and (B) they were ensconced in some small new growth eucalypt, but we both managed some good views and a few shots.
A third bird arrived. And I am putting my lack of id skills at even graver risk going to guess it to be a juvenile and the interaction with the first two birds would I suspect in normal times be an indication of some family connection.
And then more arrivals with cameras, and the like, and the birds, well, they left.
For all those who’ve spent countless hours at Woodlands looking for Rose Robin, ($$$$ Cha-ching), take heart that your searching has not been in vain. The birds have indeed graced us with a visit. Hopefully all will get some good views throughout the season.