Saturday, July 18, 2009


G'day Bird Lovers,
Today I decided to take a leaf from Tyto Tony's book, (see link under 'Favourite Sites' in the right hand coloumn), and try birdwatching from a bicycle. Next year I might try it again if the pain has gone away, (I'm typing this while standing up). The Heyfield Flora Reserve is just a few kilometres down the road, so I pumped up the tyres, oiled the chain and loaded the bike, except for the binoculars as I discovered at the first stop.

I parked the bike in a secluded spot and started wandering around the tracks, but the birds were quiet as has been the case of late around here. Black cockies were screeching way in the distance, a couple of Crimson Rosellas flashed by and the persistent piping of a treecreeper were about the only avian evidence I could record - at first.

Along the western boundary track I began to hear the musical tinkling of some thornbills and some wrens. Then a group of mixed species appeared in the trees and scrub. It always intrigues me the way the different species often 'work' the foliage as a group.

Among them was a number of Scarlet Robins. This too intrigued me, as most of my sightings of this gorgeous little bird have been of a single bird, or perhaps a pair. I'm pretty sure there were 3 males and an equal number of females. Whacko! There was a bit of territorial scrapping going on too.
Eventually things settled down a bit and one or two individuals let me get some shots off when they rested briefly on the fence wire.
The thornbills remained in the trees while all this was going on and after satisfying myself that I had an acceptable shot of the robins, I started 'hunting' these little blighters too.
Buff-rumped? I don't know for certain. They lacked any striations around the ear coverts and were distinctly a fawn colour underneath. Who'd like to make a suggestion?

Now, where did I leave that bike? It was in a gully behind a bush but there are several gullies and hundreds of bushes. Uhm, must remember the binoculars and the GPS for the next trip.


  1. Thanks Gouldiae, your experiments with bike-riding have obviously saved the rest of us some pain and suffering :-) Interesting to know that Tony apparently only told part of the story!!
    btw the Robins are beautiful - maybe even worth the bike ride to see them?

  2. Hi Gouldiae
    I second Mick's comments on both the bike riding and the Robins.
    Your Thornbill looks like a Buffy to me. Their light metallic rattling call is significantly different from the Brown, Your bird is not nearly yellow enough for the Yellow (Little) TB, nor the Yellow-tailed relative.

  3. Mick, I think TT does much of his birding by pedal power. Yeah, the robins were worth the ride, for sure.

    I reckon you are right Denis. I know the most frequent call of the Brown, the deep pee-orr, and I didn't hear that. Complete absence of striations, no red eye, etc all eliminates the Brown in my book. Our Yellows can be pale, but they have strong striations around the eyes. I'm still going for Buff-rumps at this stage.