Nudgee Beach Autumn update.
by, 02-05-2014 at 03:23 AM (66722 Views)
Autumn has certainly arrived here, the scent of particular flowering plants, the air temperature and change in humidity, the bird behaviour, fish behaviour. Less mosquitos, but they are still hanging in there after recent rains.
The most noticable change is the courting behaviour of the Brown Honey-eater. Quiet (but present) for the last few weeks of Summer, Autumn finds the little 'Browns' playing games of chasey and chatting to each other over short distances. Birds appear mainly in pairs (sometimes several metres apart at times *3-15m?) or individually. Banksia and Callistemon blooms become a part of the diet, and less active insects amongst the mangrove leaves might mean insects occupy a smaller portion of the birds' diet at this time. Boy chases girl at breakneck speeds, pulling radical manoeuvres between the Eucalyptus, Banksia, and Casaurina branches - both of them stopping suddenly to feed for several seconds before the mad chase is on again. In several weeks their song will evolve and so will their behaviour. They are a different bird when nesting, and better photo opportunities are possible as the adults get busy. I have found that Brown Honey-eaters will land within metres of your face and belt out a variety of songs to some unseen rival or mate, while perched atop a shrub out in the open. This seems to happen more often during later Winter and throughout Spring - at least at Nudgee Beach. The Browns will quieten down again come mid-Summer as they deal with the kids.
Striped Honey-eaters have returned. I see them here fairly often, but they seemed to be practically absent for most of Jan/Feb. They are harder to approach and won't approach me, but sometimes I seem to accidentally surprise one (or vice versā), and at that point you have precisely 2.9 seconds to aim-focus-shoot before the bird noiselessly vanishes into thin air. They tend not to perch at eye level, but can sometimes be caught lurking among the sprawling native Hibiscus and you can get a few chances to peg them through the gaps.
Mangrove Honey-eaters are still present but apparently dwindling as the days grow cooler. This species has been common here for several months now, in groups of up to perhaps six or seven birds. Now they are pairs, individuals and the odd trio. I might have had my eyes closed last year, but I recall these guys being absent for several months, so I'm keen to see if that reoccurs this year.
White-throated Honey-eater occasionally among the lower branches of tall shrubs and small trees. Fast, fairly bold, but don't seem to stay in one tree for too long. Quick, efficient browsing then move on.
Leaden Fly-catchers starting to be seen after many months not spotted (seen, that is - not covered in spots!). Very shy and not at all curious.
Migrants have been absent for 2-3 weeks, apart from some teenagers holding over for the season. Some Whimbrel, one or two Bar-Tailed Godwit (non-breeding plumage), a Curlew or so (small). No plovers. Black-winged Stilts ever-present but in lower numbers, though still in large flock. Pied Oystercatchers (pair).