Sunday, December 31, 2017

Three Recent Birds

Our beautiful town is blessed with some wonderful bird habitat. Tall trees, remnant understorey, wetlands and even a small patch or two of grassland means that a wide range of bird species enjoy living with us, (but for how much longer?).

Three interesting sightings recently have confirmed that Drouin's bird population is relatively healthy.

European Goldfinch
The natural range for this bird is throughout European and North African countries. It was introduced to Australia in the 1860's.

European Goldfinch
The Goldfinch inhabits wasteland areas like neglected industrial sites, roadside and railway corridors and some open paddocks. It particularly likes the seeds of thistles and other introduced weeds and sometimes eats fruit and insects.

Cooling off at McNeilly Wetlands one recent hot day
Improved farming practices such as weed eradication resulted in a decline in numbers in many areas but anecdotally they seem to making a comeback, perhaps suggesting they are adapting to native habitat.

Buff-banded Rail
This cryptic bird is probably more common than we realize. The Rail is a ground-dwelling bird that inhabits the reed beds of a wide range of terrestrial and coastal wetlands.

Right beside the Two Towns Trail in Civic Park
Buff-banded Rails feed on a variety of molluscs, insects and larvae taken from wet ground. 

A worm for breakfast
The bird looks a little like a small domestic hen, particularly when it runs for cover rather than flying when disturbed.

Nankeen Night Heron
Recently one evening we briefly glimpsed a Nankeen Night Heron working the shallows of the pond at Bellbird Park.

This bird, despite its size, is often overlooked. The Night Heron is an active nocturnal feeder around our wetlands, lakes, billabongs, large dams, estuaries and tidal channels. It takes a range of fish, frogs and other aquatic species.

Nankeen Night Heron with breeding plumes (Port Albert)
Throughout the day Nankeen Night Herons roost quietly in some nearby tall trees, often in big numbers.

Communal daytime roost (Heyfield)

'Nankeen' is a yellow-buff coloured cloth that originally was imported from Nanking in China, giving rise to the naming of the bird with supposedly similar colouring.

How lucky are we human residents of Drouin to share this little corner of our world with such fascinating and beautiful animals?

Happy New Year to all followers and supporters of the Friends of Drouin's Trees

1 comment:

  1. Another bird to make its presence known in the first week of the year is the male Common Eastern Koel. It’s distinctive call has been clearly heard in the area of Albert Rd and McNeilly Rd.