Today, the weather turned again. The clouds returned, the air was cool and eventually, the rain came. The avian population along the banks of the Barwon however, had not yet noticed this change in the weather. Out for one of our regular Friday rides, I couldn't help but notice that the birds were in full flight.
As I rode, I did my usual head count, noting the number of different species out and about on this particular day. By the boat sheds and through town there were the regulars - moorhens, coots, rock doves (pigeons), seagulls, pacific black ducks, plovers and a single wood duck. All along the river as I headed towards Fyansford, the rainbow lorikeets were everywhere, screeching and chattering, zooming overhead with their rapid wing beats. Above the Deviation it seemed the Currawongs were having a convocation whilst on the common at Fyansford, the swallows and red-browed finches were trying to prove the approach of spring by sheer weight of numbers. A pair of laughing kookaburras were doing just as their name suggested on nearby Redgum Island and the red-rumped parrots which frequent the dead gum tree near the foot-bridge over the Barwon were out and about too.
|Snake sculpture, Barwon River|
There I found them, located at a convenient height for photography in a eucalypt - one of their preferred food sources - crunching away on gum nuts. This was only the second time I had seen gang gangs on the river (or anywhere for that matter), with the previous occasion being only a few weeks ago a little further downriver at Barwon Valley.
|Male Gang Gang Cockatoo|
|Female Gang Gang Cockatoo|
So much for gang gangs. We took our photos, ate our lunch and moved on, heading back towards Fyansford. The weather by now was starting to close in a bit, with large dark clouds massing overhead. Regardless, I was keen to continue riding, so off we went again. The birds it seemed, were still unconcerned by the impending weather. In addition to those mentioned already, we saw new holland honeyeaters, blackbirds, spotted doves, superb fairy wrens, the ever-present red wattlebirds, mudlarks, magpies, Australian ravens, willie wagtails, even a darter and a heron. At several points I could hear the grey butcherbirds in the trees beside the track, but didn't manage to catch sight of any.
Today this proved to be exactly the case. The low light and nervous birds left me with three grainy photos to show for my efforts, so it appears I will have to continue my quest for the perfect snap. In the meantime, to the left is one I took earlier.
So, with the clouds continuing to pile up, the rain beginning to come down a little more persistently and the temperature back to far more wintry levels, I headed for home. The birds were still on the move, particularly as I passed Balyang Sanctuary where the sulphur-crested cockies were creating a racket and there, perched amongst them trying to look like one of the crowd, I also spotted a solitary corella.
In all I think, about 29 different birds. Not a bad effort given that I have so far only seen around 70 species along the entire length of the river. So, only slightly damp and with a few more kilometres under my belt I made it home once again.