Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Flame Robin Rethink

I spent a few hours on Goat Bluff, South Arm, this morning. I'd fallen back on this venue as it offers several options. With an early morning temperature in the mid single digits, and strong southerly winds, this is one place you can generally find some sheltered birding. I settled for the eastern side in an area of low coastal scrub. As I parked my car, I could hear a Flame Robin calling. This was not unexpected, as two pairs have spent all Winter here, but I've found getting good photograps of, what are usually easily approached birds, quite difficult. I watched a male robiin for sometime, sussing out his preferred perches, and chose a sunny spot and waited, eventually taking the shot at right. But as I waited, I realised that in this small area of perhaps a few acres, there was not one, but four male Flame Robins calling, all from prominent perches, visible from my position. I mentioned in earlier articles that I had found 'Flames' in generally wetter and more heavily wooded areas than Scarlet Robins, at least during the breeding season, but this doesn't conform to that scenario. This is an area of scrub, mostly less than a metre high, atop cliffs, with a few 'skeleton' casuarinas, burnt in a fire several years ago. The area supports several Striated Fieldwrens, which may give an indication of the vegetation. My assumption is that the 'Flames' are breeding here, although I only sighted one female. If that is so, the density of 'Flames' here seems very high, and perhaps I had better have a rethink about their preferred habitat! I'll keep an eye on this spot.

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