Sunday, March 18, 2007

One More for My Peter Murrell Reserve List.

Another brief visit to the Peter Murrell Reserve over the long weekend, allowed me to add one more species to my personal list of birds for this reserve. You won't get too excited over the species, a pair of Wood Duck. Nevertheless, although I must have seen many hundreds, these were the first here. As you can see from the male at right, it wasn't quite as pleased to see me! Depending how you view it, the growth in Wood Duck nunbers has been quite extraordinary.. There is a note in the 1973 Tasmanian Bird Report of a sighting of a pair with a clutch of young at Ross, with a note saying "this appears to be the first record of the species breeding in Tasmania". Nowadays, in some areas in the South, this is probably the most commonly found duck.
I also saw several small groups of Forty-spotted Pardalotes, some of them engaging in vigorous chasing, possibly part of a pairing ritual. Amongst the same trees, a loose group of Yellow Wattlebirds were feeding in the outer branches, and also engaging in chasing. This time quite obviously the males chasing the females, there being a distinct size difference, with the males larger. As I walked down the Western boundary, I fell into conversation with a local, who, while not being a birder, had more than a passing knowledge of the local birds. I suspect he's one of a growing number of people who enjoy being able to ID their local birds, but have no desire to formalise this by joining birding organisations. He mentioned that he had seen a Grey Goshawk nearby recently, another species which I have yet to record in this reserve.
As I neared the car park on my return, I noticed 2 Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes hunting insects in the gums, and managed the accompanying shot. They have an interesting strategy. They patiently sit watching for movement among shrubs or the canopy, sometimes from below, other times from above. When they spot movement they quickly grab their prey. A very efficient method requiring minimal expenditure of energy! As I wandered back to my car, I did ponder why so many birds have black faces. It doesn't make photography any easier., but presumably there must be some advantage for the birds.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic site. Visit it regularly for your pics and observations. Your wood duck is however a male rather than a female.

BirdingTas said...

Thanks for the rap on the site, and pointing out my error. Always afraid of making elementary mistakes, but some, perhaps inevitably, slip through.