Monday, June 10, 2013

May Moments on Allen Road

t was always going to be rather doubtful that May would produce anything outstanding, or indeed come up with any real species diversity or abundance in numbers of any given species.  May is late autumn in the southern hemisphere and we have already experienced some rather chilly evenings.  It does not auger well for the rapidly approaching austral winter.  And birds tend to be scarcer during the colder spells.

Not that May 2013 was numerical retarded on previous Mays.  The 49 species was admittedly well below the 63 of May 2003 [the current record] but only one behind the 50 species of May 2004.  It was one better than the 48 of 2010 and two ahead of the 47 species in May 2009.  It clearly overshadowed the 30 species of May 2006 [still the lowest May on record for Allen Road].

There were, as always, the regular faces, or should that read, ”the regular feathers”?  They were there each and every day: the Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae and Torresian Crow Corvus orru; the Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen and Magpie-lark Grallina cyanoleuca; the Galah Eolophus roseicapillus and Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus; the Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus; the Apostlebird Struthidea cinerea and Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala; the Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes and Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia humeralis; etc.

They were accompanied by the less frequent but nevertheless reasonably well-presented regulars: the Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata; the Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles; the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita and Australian King-Parrot Alisterus scapularis; the Blue-faced Entomyzon cyanotis and Striped Honeyeaters Plectorhyncha lanceolata; the Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus; etc.

On the other hand, a number of species managed to put in only the one appearance throughout the entire month.  The Australian Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles cristatus [never known to outstay its welcome] called on20 May; the Bush Stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius early in the month, on 2 May; the Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus on 5 May; the Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flablliformis, while in evidence all around us in the broader South Burnett, visited us only on the 24th of the month; the Pied Butcherbird Cracticus nigrogularis, always in the shadow of its smaller cousin, the Grey Butcherbird, called only on the last day, 31st May.

Then there was the Black Kite Milvus migrans on 5 May.  It was the first new addition to the Backyard List in a long time.  We’d walked to the “top” end of Allen Road [to its junction with the Nanango-Maidenwell Road.  I spotted the “crow” flying across; Fay corrected the call to Black Kite on seeing the distinctive forked tail.  Oddly enough, two Whistling Kites, perhaps a breeding pair, were in the same airspace at the same time and to all intents and purposes it appeared as if the Black Kite was “associating” with the Whistling Kites.
Photograph from 
The sudden appearance of the Black Kites in and around Nanango is a tale for another place at another time.