I first met this bird and his good lady, while I was working the Backpaddock at Woodlands Historic Park.
In those days I’d often bump into a birding friend, Ray, somewhere along the track.
Ray had been walking the Woodlands area for quite a number of years and knew just about every honeyeater spot, robin territory, Brown Falcon feeding area, and eagle’s lair over the park. I used to think that a White-throated Treecreeper announced his presence in the area.
He graciously shared his wide knowledge of the park, and most of what I knew about the various robins at Woodlands was handed to me by Ray.
We would occasionally catch up at the gate entrance to the enclosed Backpaddock—this is in the days before it became the infamous “Bandicoot Hilton”— and its usefulness to the birds waned; what I learned from that is that is if you mess with one part of the ecology to satisfy one species, don’t be surprised if things go out of kilter elsewhere.
As we stood near the little map shelter talking, Mr. Mighty would come and sit on one of the close branches, and listen so it seemed, to our discussions. He would turn his head, fly closer, walk along a branch to get nearer and occasionally add a cheery, “drrrt, drrrt, drrrt”, call to the conversation.
His territory extended from near the gateway some 50-60 metres into the open Grey Box forest beyond. It was not unusual to sit on a log in the area and within a few minutes Mr. Mighty would drop by for a visit. So over several good seasons I managed some interesting moments with him, and the good lady, and their offspring. It wasn’t unusual for her to build 3-5 nest sites and pretend to be working on them all, mostly I guess to kept predatory ravens, magpies and cuckoo-shrikes confused.
She would, however, lose several nestings to these relentless marauders. Perhaps as many as 5 clutches would be started, but only one or possibly two would be successful.
Those who go back to the days of Bird Observers and Conservation Australia, (BOCA) might remember seeing this shot as the penultimate cover of Bird Observer (Aug 2011, No. 870) the quarterly magazine of BOCA just before the merger to form BIrdLife Australia.
During the past week, I’ve been rebuilding my photo database and among other surprises managed to find a folio of Mr. Mighty. Put a smile on my face.