Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Figs and Fruit-doves

Ravensbourne National Park, Sunday 5 February 2012 
The afternoon at Ravensbourne National Park was most enjoyable. Twenty-nine people took part including some members we hadn't seen for a while, and five visitors.  
A scatter of Natters at the Blackbean Day-use Area
While still in the picnic area Trish showed us a miserable Brown Malletwood, Rhodamnia rubescens, which had been attacked by Myrtle Rust. In the fruiting season last year it had been a mass of Topknot Pigeons, Lopholaimus antarcticus.
The Brown Malletwood
and Myrtle Rust
The rain stayed away, and deciding that afternoon tea could wait we set off for the Rainforest Circuit. That may have been a mistake as the normally 40 minute walk took us 2 hours! 

There was plenty to interest us, and gradually we were strung out along the track with the birdos up front, the botanists some distance behind, and the fungi enthusiasts last of all.

We weren't long on the circuit when we came upon a large Moreton Bay Fig, Ficus macrophylla. Its fruit was dropping like rain and there was the clatter of pigeon wings far above us. The eagle eyes of our younger members soon found Topknot Pigeons, Lopholaimus antarcticus, and Wompoo Fruit-doves, Ptilinopus magnificus. We spent some time here making sure everybody had good views of these lovely birds.

Checking out the fruit-doves
in the fig on the Rainforest Circuit
Eventually we all straggled back to the car park, so we moved up to Beutel's Lookout for our afternoon tea. This was a brilliant idea because the lone Moreton Bay Fig in the Cedar Block picnic area was also full of birds. As well as the fruit-doves there were Australasian Figbirds, Sphecotheres vieilloti, Green Catbirds, Ailuroedus crassirostris, and one lone male Regent Bowerbird, Sericulus chrysocephalus. What a sighting!

In the sunny, open areas there were plenty of butterflies, especially Wanderers, Danaus plexippus.

A few of us walked the Cedar Block Circuit before our bbq. We saw quite a few branches and vines down, possibly from high winds in the area. That part of the park is very susceptible to wind damage being right on the edge of the range. There was no sign of Black-breasted Button-quail platelets at all. Very few birds were about in fact. They were all out in the sun enjoying a respite from the wet week we'd had. So it was back to the bbq tea and a quiet chat.

Birds: Blackbean Day-use Area and Rainforest Circuit: White-headed Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Topknot Pigeon, Australian Pelican (overhead), Wedge-tailed Eagle (overhead), Galah, Noisy Pitta (heard), White-throated Treecreeper, White-browed Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, Eastern Spinebill (heard), Lewin's Honeyeater, Eastern Whipbird, Golden Whistler, Pied Currawong, Spangled Drongo, Rufous Fantail, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, Black-faced Monarch, Paradise Riflebird (heard), Eastern Yellow Robin, Silvereye, Red-browed Finch. 26 species
Birds: Cedar Block Day-use Area and Circuit: Australian Brush-turkey, White-headed Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Topknot Pigeon, Rainbow Lorikeet, Little Lorikeet, Pheasant Coucal, Eastern Koel, White-throated Treecreeper, Green Catbird, Regent Bowerbird, Superb Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, Lewin's Honeyeater, Eastern Whipbird, Cicadabird, (heard), Australasian Figbird, Pied Currawong, Spangled Drongo, Black-faced Monarch, Eastern Yellow Robin, Silvereye, Red-browed Finch. 25 species  Total: 36 species

Butterflies: Mainly Blackbean Day-use Area: Blue Triangle Graphium sarpedon, Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus, Large Grass-yellow Eurema hecabe, Black Jezebel Delias nigrina, Brown Ringlet Hypocysta metirius, White-banded Plane Phaedyma shepherdi, Wanderer or Monarch Danaus plexippus. 7 species

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