Sunday, December 8, 2013

Seed-eaters of the Daintree Valley

Whilst you may associate Daintree with it's famous World Heritage-listed rainforest, the area is well known for birds because of it's diversity.
Between the rivers, mangroves, wetlands and rainforest is productive farmland which creates it's own habitats. At this time of year many of the pasture grasses are seeding, providing food for many species.
Common residents, but no less beautiful because of it, include Chestnut-breasted Mannikin which travel together in large flocks, feeding, at this time of year.

Chestnet-breasted Mannikin (Fred Forsell)
Also resident in the local fields is Golden-headed Cisticola. Typically the breeding male attracts attention by calling from the top of fences or tall grasses and is a common sight in the fields just prior to the "Wet' season. This beautiful photo shows their demeanor perfectly.

Golden-headed Cisticola (Fred Forsell)
Everyone's favourites are fairy-wrens and the Red-backed Fairy-Wren is no exception. Widespread throughout north/eastern Australia they are often seen in the fields and on the fencelines of the Daintree Valley. The contrast of the black and flashy red of the male is easily spotted. Females are less conspicuous, but they will often be in family groups of 4 or 5 birds.

Red-backed Fairy-Wren Male (Fred Forsell)


Red-backed Fairy-Wren Female (Fred Forsell)

Other Daintree news includes the presence of 5 Spotted Whistling Ducks on the Daintree River! Considered outside their range, but occasional visitors, they are a treat to see.
Good numbers of Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher nesting along Stewart Creek Rd.
Pied Heron, Hardhead, Plumed Whistling Duck, Grey Teal at a dam on Ferraro Rd near Pt Douglas.
Pale-vented Bushhen loving the water left around from recent rains. Seen skittling across the road near Pt Douglas and locally.
The pond is full at Red Mill House so regular Azure Kingfisher, not Little unfortunately. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Pied Imperial Pigeon and Figbirds loving all the fruits.

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