Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gluepot delivers again!

A day at Gluepot is always a pleasure and this weekend was no exception.
Leaving home at 4am can be a struggle though and even though I had 1.5 litres of iced coffee and 15 cans of pepsi max in the vehicle I still struggled to function for the first few hours. This may also be due to the weather still being minus 3 even at 7am!
The main reason for this trip was to help my friend get his 500th tick. There were only 2 target species for him – Red-lored Whistler and Black-eared Miner. So we decided to go and visit my little mate Bluey, a friendly Red-lored Whistler who is always happy to have a short visit. I do not use playback with Bluey, he responds to my simple whistling and again,  sure enough, Bluey was waiting for us to arrive. He is a peceptive little bird and realising Stu’s levels of pre-tick anxiety he put on a great show. He sat out in the open, in the sun, posed at all angles, called happily, hopped along the ground, flew closer to us and was still juggling 5 tennis balls and jumping through rings of fire when we left.
Crippling views of my favourite little bird and by 7.45am Bluey became bird # 500 for my friend. Bluey was well & truly ticked.
Red-lored Whistler

It took a few hrs of casual birding and exploring the mallee before we got onto our first large flock of miners. By this time my birding mates pre-tick anxiety levels were at extreme levels again. No amount of reassurance, offers of valium & alcohol, chocolate or therapy helped. It was a good thing the Miners arrived when they did or I think I could have had a medical emergancy on my hands!
This flock of approx 20 birds, like the others I've observed in this area recently were made up of approx 50% Yellow Throats, 30% hybrids and the rest Black-eared. Good views of 3 individual Blacked Eared identifying the main distinguishing features. TICK # 501
Another satisfied K-os Birding customer….my work here is done.
We then said hi to one of our friends who was also visiting the park and compared birding notes.  She had just photographed a couple of Scarlet Chested Parrots so we decided to go and have a look around in that area.

At this stage it was my anxiety levels going through the roof. This is because I got a flock of 20 of them a few weeks ago yet as they were too far away I felt it was not a tickable view. Therefore I am keen to improve the view ASAP. However this did not happen. I was on the verge of a melt down when we suddenly got my other Bogey Bird, GREY FALCON!!
We had been sitting stationary in my car scanning the area when a large white raptor soared towards us and then went right over the car. It was only 2 metres above us so we had a great close up view! Stunned we jumped out of the car and watched it soaring below canopy level before carelessly soaring away into the distance. It was awesome!!  It looked totally different to any raptor I’ve ever seen before and after studying all the distinguishing features we are certain it  was indeed a Grey Falcon. We discussed all other possibilities and all were discounted.  Interestingly one had been reported in this location only a few weeks ago!!
So, the mythical Grey Falcon does exist after all!!