Spring stirrings

Shows crimson rosella, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Inquisitive crimson rosella in the fork of a peppermint

Middle Sprinter

Professor Tim Entwisle makes the observation that Australia has a different set of seasons than those of Europe. This graphic illustrates five seasons based on local weather, plant and animal life. Spring – called Sprinter – commences at the beginning of August and finishes at the end of September with the shift to Sprummer.

A walk around the Reserve shows that Spring has definitely arrived. It’s not just the beautiful weather but also the gathering in the native flora, with new growth, flowering and so much insect activity

Bird life

Birds are more in evidence and the swallows are back at the reservoir.

This White-browed Scrubwren, Sericornis frontalis, is one of a pair tending a nest in the undergrowth. It’s difficult to see but is a rounded structure made of strips of bark, bracken and grasses. The pair enter through the small opening and the nest is only 20cm above the ground in a grassy tussock. They seemed to be taking insects inside the nest – or perhaps it was more nest materials. The sound they made did change to a soft low trilling, so perhaps young were inside.

Nest building commences in July and scrub wrens can raise up to three broods in the feather lined nest.

Shows white-browed scrub wren, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

White-browed scrubwren

Shows white-browed scrub wren, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Shows nest of white-browed scrub wren, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Entrance to the white-browed scrubwren nest

Shows nest of white-browed scrub wren, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Difficult to see among the tangle of grasses, bracken and schrubs.

This pair of Laughing Kookaburras (Dacelo novaeguineae) were involved in actively making a tree hollow larger. In the quiet of the Reserve, it was possible to hear a dull thunking sound, which led us to the pair. The one on the right was observed flying to and from its perch to the hollow.

Shows Laughing Kookaburra removing wood from tree hollow, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Lodged into a tree hollow, knocking out chunks of wood

Shows pair of Laughing Kookaburras, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Laughing Kookaburra pair

This pair of Crimson Rosellas (Platycercus elegans) was observed spending time with a hollow. While the red rosella looked on, the green one spent some time inside the hollow. Their breeding season commences in September, so if they are searching for a hollow, it seems they may have found one.

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Some of the other birds seen lately include the Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) which was one of a calling pair – introduced in this country in the 1800s; the Crescent Honeyeater (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus) – which had landed in a young eucalypt, foraging for insects; the Varied Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) – searching for food in the bark of a messmate; the gorgeous Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) – fossicking as a large group through the undergrowth; and the Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) – one of a pair of small brown birds foraging through the bushes.

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 Sources and further information

BirdLife Australia (2012) White-browed scrub wren. http://birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/White-browed-Scrubwren

Birds in Backyards (nd) Brown Thornbill: Basic Information. http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Acanthiza-pusilla

Birds in Backyards (nd) Crescent Honeyeater: Basic Information. http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Phylidonyris-pyrrhopterus

Birds in Backyards (nd) Superb Fairy-wren: Basic Information. http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Malurus-cyaneus

Birds in Backyards (nd) Spotted Dove: Basic Information. http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Streptopelia-chinensis

Birds in Backyards (nd) Varied Sittella: Basic Information. http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Daphoenositta-chrysoptera

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