Sunday, 21 June 2020

Superb Fruit Dove - Again!

female Superb Fruit dove
Here on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland it is generally rare to have rarities. And, as a result, it is rare to have the opportunity to twitch.

  TWITCH (v)

To go chasing after a rare bird, or a bird that is not on your life-list.

But recently in our 'Zone of Happiness' * two different pigeon species have been located and it has created somewhat of a stir.

The two birds?

The first a Superb Fruit Dove. This bird is generally an uncommon bird on the Sunshine Coast in Summer. It was located at Gardner Falls near the Blackall Range village of Maleny. The bird, surprisingly, was easy to find as it was feeding low in a variety of the introduced Privet bushes. When you examine the pictures you will note that the bird could prove difficult to find while feeding in the foliage, particularly if high.
Fruit dove Feasting on the fruits of an introduced tree

The second is a Torresian Imperial Pigeon located near the David Lowe Way. Now this bird is a long way from its normal distribution; some 1000 kilometres further north one should travel before this is an expected specie. Non birding locals claim that this bird has been flying around for nearly twelve months while it has remained embarrassingly invisible to the birding community.

So I felt obliged to twitch the pair.

First target was the Superb. On a semi soaked Saturday I waited much of the day until the rain had subsided before I set out. Braver folks had set out earlier and I saw their successes through the pages of Facebook. It was an anxious first fifty minutes after arrival; the alleged easy bird was playing stay unseen and it was definitely winning. Finally I found it feeding in a small shrub across the creek. Several poor shots later it stood up and flew thankfully to my side of the creek where I enjoyed plenty of good views!

So first target - SUCCESS!

Superb 'having a moment'
Sunday morning was surprisingly fine so I ventured down to the Twin Waters area where the TIP [Torresian Imperial Pigeon] had been recorded. The strategy was simple; stroll the suburbs and keep eyes open, especially concentrating on any potential feed trees, conspicuous roost sites in tall trees, TV antennas and powerlines. Adorned  with binoculars and camera I had not strolled for long when I was first accosted by a local. "You lookin' for the big white bird?" After a bit of a chat he acknowledged that the TIP has, in fact, been a resident for many months, and it had gone 'thataway', a direction being demonstrated with a flick of a wrist. 'Others have been looking too", he added [perhaps unnecessarily].

Another lady, upon seeing me yelled out she had seen it this morning. 'Sat atop that TV antenna,' she claimed. 'I photographed it before I had my shower,' she added just a little insensitively.

The third local came marching out at me almost in a 'get off my lawn' sort of attitude.. He was fine though demanding to know if I was searching for a big white bird. Yes, he had seen it. Many times and he helpfully pointed out the exact tree it had been perching politely in.

So, I was in the right place.

I saw Crested Pigeons, Spotted Doves, Noisy Miners, Brown, Scarlet and Blue faced Honeyeaters, Welcome Swallows, Figbirds, Pied and Grey Butcherbirds, Rainbow and Scaly breasted Lorikeets, Magpies and Pied Currawongs, White breasted Sea Eagle, Brahminy, whistling and a distant Black Kite, Rainbow Bee-eaters   but not the bird I was looking for... Nobody likes a Dip.

DIP (n)

A rare bird that a birder missed seeing.


* Zone of Happiness - an area defined on the Sunshine Coast Birdlife page on Facebook. The entire area of interest. Search for it on Facebook!

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