Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dusky Robin 'Oasis'

Having not sighted more than the odd Dusky Robin for some weeks, a recent walk in the Peter Murrell reserve at Kingston, made for a memorable morning. I have been on the lookout for a chance to get some shots of Dusky Robins (amongst other species) and I knew from previous visits that there was one area in this reserve that I could be almost certain to find a pair or more.
I entered the reserve at the northern, "Fork in the Road" end and walked down the western side, mainly to fully enjoy the early morning sun. I managed to photograph some of the individuals in a flock of Superb Fairy Wrens, fossicking among dead blackberries. I noted several Forty-spotted Pardalotes silently feeding with rather noisy Spotted Pardalotes, and heard a Striated Pardalote calling repeatedly, which suggests that they will breed shortly. I followed the horse riding trail until I reached the 'Middle Fire Trail', and it was here, as I expected, that I saw my first Dusky Robin of the day. I took up position at the gate and watched and waited for my opportunity to get a few shots. I had chosen my spot well, because in no time I had several birds around me, mostly feeding on the ground, but returning to the several posts in the vicinity as vantage points to find further prey. The party was however quickly spoilt by the Yellow-throated Honeyeater pictured. Evidently the 'Duskies' had flown into the honeyeaters territory, and it hotly pursued them. They in turn ended up too near the mates of other Duskies', and it was on for young and old. Decorum was finally restored and as they got used to my presence, they came ever closer, enabling me to get several shots. I've since pondered on why that particular spot holds so many Dusky Robins, obviously for them it has special properties, but they're not readily apparent. It has good cover, posts and similar as vantage points, open paddocks where there's apparently a plentiful food supply, but so has, at least to my eyes, many other spots. When I contributed to the nest record scheme, many years ago now, I did find that Dusky Robins do nest quite close together in some favoured sites. Perhaps this spot is worthy of more detailed study.

3 comments:

John Tongue said...

Hi Alan,
For a bird that often sits still for fairly long periods, in pretty prominent positions, I still find the Dusky Robin a difficult one to get any decent shots of.

Anonymous said...

Hi all!

Good to find your comments - thank you.

The Dusky has interested me for some time. I am currently considering a long term study of this understudied bird (ph.D).

I would be keen to hear of any areas folk have enjoyed frequent sightings of Duskys.

Many thanks,

Martin Pepperday

BirdingTas said...

Hi Martin,
Just in case you read this it's a few years old now--suggest you contact me and I'll pass on your contact info to possible interested parties. Alan. My email at top right of blog page.