Sunday, 15 April 2012

A Visit to the Rubbish Tip

A spur of the moment visit to the local tip / rubbish dump this morning proved to be a pleasant few hours of birding. The weather was overcast with light rain threatening but we went anyway. We saw two Radjah Shelduck in a muddy puddle in the sugar cane fields on the way in as well as two Nankeen Kestrel. One was being harassed by a White-breasted Woodswallow. The dam produced 3 Black-winged Stilt and a duck of domestic origin (not sure what type). We could hear Mangrove Robin calling from both sides but were unable to sight them.

Black-winged Stilt

A loader working at the green waste pile was chasing up a lot of insects. A Willie Wagtail and a flock of Welcome Swallows were taking full advantage of this and swooping in to catch as many as possible. We also saw a mixed flock of Nutmeg and Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, Olive-backed Sunbird, Spangled Drongo and what may have been a Pallid Cuckoo.

On the way out of the gate we stopped to look at some Rainbow Lorikeets feeding in a flowering Paperbark tree. There seemed to be about ten birds in the flock as well as two Mistletoe Birds.

Rainbow Lorikeet
Something disturbed them and more than thirty birds exploded from the tree! How can so many brightly coloured birds remain unseen!

We decided on a quick visit to Cooya Beach to try and find the southern form of the Masked Lapwing I saw last week but had no luck. We did see a lot of Rainbow Bee-eater and one Straw-necked Ibis.

Rainbow Bee-eater
On the way home we took a back road detour to see if there were any Fairy Martin about. We came across a small flock of about thirty all swooping through a drain pipe under the road. On closer inspection we found their bottle shaped mud nests clustered on the roof of the drain.

Fairy Martin

According to Pizzey and Knight’s Field Guide to the Birds of Australia and HANZAB, Fairy Martins do not breed as far north as here. Perhaps this merits further investigation!

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