On Sunday I headed east to return to my old
stamping ground for a couple of days. Around Rosedale, images of the coffee and
sandwich in the back of the ute were beginning to pop into my head. I swung
south toward Holey Plains State Park and the Merrimans Creek picnic area.
I took a chair, lunch and the camera down
onto the grassy river bank and after satisfying the inner man began listening
and looking. Many of the eucs were loaded with blossom and much of the
Mistletoe was in flower – the honeyeaters were abundant.
Merrimans Creek - Holey Plains State Park
A small group of White-naped Honeyeaters
were squabbling over the feeding rights of some blossom nearby and gave the
opportunity for a few nice diagnostic pics of this often very active bird.
Incidentally, I wonder why it’s not called
the Red-eyed Honeyeater? Usually I hear this bird first, then a scan through
the binoculars catches the red eye patch in the black face to confirm the
sighting. I find the white nape band is often hard to see.
'Ahhh, there's the white nape'.
My normal perception is that many birds go
quiet in the middle of the day. This day however was the exception to the rule.
Golden Whistlers began calling from both sides of the creek and oddly over the
next half hour or more I could only tick several males, with not a female to be
seen – perhaps it was a territorial dispute.
First Golden Whistler on the opposite bank.
The male ‘goldens’ called to, (yelled at?),
one another from both sides of the creek without giving much attention to my
presence sitting in the sun right beneath and beside them. They put on a wonderful
lunchtime concert for me.
Second whistler behind me.
Things went quiet for a bit and I began to
think of making tracks back to the ute when the little bush birds that I’d seen
darting briefly from one bit of cover to the next, (thornbills and scrubwrens),
began to issue forth their more strident warning calls. Then I heard the
distinctive ‘whistling-the-dog’ call of a Shining Bronze Cuckoo as explanation.
Shining Bronze Cuckoo.
I opted to forgo a few of the tasks I
wanted to achieve for the afternoon and to stay a bit longer. The cuckoo sat
and called from various perches for some time and even after moving my chair
into some low scrub for a bit of extra camouflage, the bird continued its
I then realized there was a second bird
nearby and the individual I had in sight began to display.
This luncheon interlude in my trip east
will remain an agreeable memory for some time.