Spring time feathers and scales

Spring has sprung into summer  – spring has been the warmest on record – and the conditions seem to have been ideal for lizards and birds, as we can see a wide variety of them in the Reserve at present.

Lizards

Lizards have been active and soaking up the warmth.

This blue-tongue (Eastern Blue-tongue, Tiliqua scincoides) didn’t really want to move, curled up in the afternoon sun. But it was watching carefully…

Shows Eastern blue-tongue lizard, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Eastern blue-tongue lizard – Curled in the sun

Skinks can be found among the tussocky grassy banks in the sun and close to the water. This one – either a Yellow-bellied water skink (Eulamprus heatwolei) or Southern water skink (Eulamprus tympanum) – hesitated long enough for us to collect an image.

Shows Water Skink, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Water Skink

Shows lizard, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

This small skink – probably a Southern Grass Skink (Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii) – is one of many. Eating small invertebrates, this lizard is found among the grassy, tussocky areas of the Reserve.

Shows Southern Grass Skink, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Grass Skink

Birds and reptiles share a common ancestry : while they seem to have diverged when it comes to being warm blooded or dependent on the sun for warmth, it seems most apparent in their shared bright inquisitive eyes and quick movements.

Birds

The Red Wattlebirds (Anthochaera carunculata ) have been on regular patrol since August and their numbers are currently quite high. They feed on nectar, and their number is probably consistent with the availability of flowering peppermint gums in the Reserve over the last few months. Blackbird numbers are almost on par at the moment – it’s been a good season for all birds – but the wattlebirds are effective at driving them off.

Shows red wattlebird, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Wattlebird

There is a pair of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus) spending time in the Reserve, visiting, in particular, around the reservoir. They particularly enjoyed the banksia cones on offer earlier on in the season. The female’s beak is whiter (up on the higher branch); the male’s has a darker upper (on the lower branch). In the morning sun, it’s possible to see the degree of variation in the apparently all-black feathers.

Shows pair of Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos

Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) have been breeding here and seem to spend their time in the eastern and northern portion of the Reserve. They are particularly associated with eucalypts and banksia habitat – which makes the Reserve ideal for them.

Shows Rainbow Lorikeet, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Rainbow Lorikeet

Shows preening Rainbow Lorikeet, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Preening

Birds in the Reserve include the spring/summer migrants. Their pattern is to head north during the cold winter months and then to soak up the warmth in the south during spring and summer for breeding. The Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) is one of these. These birds are mainly land foragers – they like lizards, for example – although a group of four has been seen quite recently in and around the reservior area.

Shows Sacred Kingfisher, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Sacred Kingfisher

Another visitor is the Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis). We don’t often see these birds but there have been a couple of flocks.

Shows Silvereye, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Silvereye – one of a small flock found in the eastern part of the Reserve

Shows preening Silvereye, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Preening

4 responses to “Spring time feathers and scales

  1. Wonderful post with great photographs, as always. I was excited to learn that Sacred Kingfishers are visiting the Reserve. Do you have any advice for someone hoping to catch a glimpse of these magnificent birds?

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