Saturday, 3 June 2017

AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR

On 3 June 2017, I was returning from my morning walk, contemplating my monthly bird total.  I thought I'd seen every species of bird that was easily seen in walking distance from my home, except Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Magpie-lark and Feral Pigeon.  I had not seen House Sparrow or Silver Gull, but I don't usually get these so close to home.  The large flock of Little Corellas that invaded my area in March, seems to have moved on.  My June total was 14 species and I figured I could expect just three more.  No sooner had I registered this thought, than a pair of Masked Lapwings flew overhead, calling.  I hadn't counted on them!  I had heard a Spotted Pardalote on 31 May, but, try as I might, I could not see it.  If I could manage to see it, it would make a welcome addition to my list.

Later in the day, I was sitting, reading, when the Noisy Miners started a war outside.  They sounded in a frenzy.  Anyone who knows me, knows what I think of Noisy Miners.  Their population has exploded beyond natural bounds.  They are extremely aggressive.  In the interest of biodiversity, they should be culled.  I went outside to see what was causing the commotion.

A small flock of miners, ably assisted by two magpies, was bombing a Tawny Frogmouth!  It sat innocently in the neighbours' almost leafless silver birch, pretending to ignore the chaos around it.  A bird I had not expected to add to my June list.
Tawny Frogmouth in the neighbours' silver birch

I've seen frogmouths at home just once before, about ten years ago.  An adult appeared in our oak tree, together with its half-grown young.  They sat in the oak for a few hours, then moved to a low evergreen shrub, at about eye height.  The next day they had gone.  Of course I looked around about, but I could not find them.

I don't see frogmouths every year.  We used to look for them at the You Yangs, around the information centre, but they are not always there.  My cousin often has them near her home in Blackburn.  Once I saw a pair at the Melbourne General Cemetery.  I have seen them nesting at Blackburn Lake, and I sometimes see them in various places at Banyule, but they are never guaranteed.  How wonderful to have one at my own back door.  Sadly, it did not stay the night, and this morning I could not find it anywhere.