|Rufous Whistler, photo by Jim O'Toole|
I expect winter in Rutherglen to be cold, but Monday morning was very cold - someone said minus 3. Certainly I haven't seen white frost like that since I was a child. It crunched underfoot. The best bird before breakfast was a male Rufous Whistler, who'd forgotten he was supposed to be a summer migrant. Then, before morning tea, we saw a flock of Diamond Firetails on the road out of Chiltern's No 1 dam. At Cyanide I had great close views of a pair of Turquoise Parrots, who wanted to make friends rather than fly away. I saw 57 species of birds (and also heard Whistling Kite and Eastern Yellow Robin) but, notwithstanding the Turquoise Parrots, the day belonged to the beasts. I saw lots of kangaroos and one wallaby, but also a couple of antechinus (always a thrill) and, most unusually, a koala on the Greenhill Road. I hoped to add platypus to this list, but I could not. The nearest I came to another animal, was a huge, just dug wombat hole near Lake Kerford on the Beechworth Forest Drive the following day.
|Gang-gang Cockatoo, photo by Richard Schurmann|
On Tuesday, I managed 60 birds, including 25 I had not seen on Monday. Before breakfast, there was a flock of shovellers on Lake King. In Beechworth township, a pair of Gang-gangs sat in a street tree. I visited Woolshed Falls to add Striated Thornbill to my list, and back at Cyanide dam, I saw a Speckled Warbler, one of my very favourite birds. I was walking along Cyanide Road and I could hear 'chip' contact calls overhead. It seemed to be three birds in the canopy of three different trees. I guessed they were Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters, so I spent some time craning my neck in an attempt to identify them. Finally, I managed to see that one was a Spotted Pardalote, then, after another five minutes, I saw that another was an Eastern Spinebill. The third bird, was, as expected, a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. Were these three different species making a 'chip' contact call to each other? How very odd. I wished PJ had been there to discuss it with.