As promised, here is some of the wildlife I saw on the Town Common a few days ago, beginning with the birds.
- White-throated Honeyeater, Melithreptus albogularis, above and (a more identifiable photo) on flickr.
- Rainbow bee-eaters – lots, perching high in bare trees and swooping for their food.
- White-breasted Woodswallow, Artamus leucorynchus, several competing with the Bee-eaters for good high perches.
- Welcome Swallows, Hirundo neoxena, quite a large group feeding in mid-air above the lagoon at Payet’s Tower.
- Peaceful Doves, several.
- Bar-shouldered Dove, Geopelia humeralis, in two different locations.
- A pair of Fairy-wrens, probably Red-backed but too far away for me to be sure.
- Plovers (two)
- Ibis (two)
… and one each of …
- Great Egret
- Forest Kingfisher
- Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike.
- White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
- Double-barred Finch
… and not even one Magpie Goose or Cormorant!
The usual butterflies were reasonably abundant – Swamp, Plain and Blue Tigers, Crow, Glasswing, Grass Yellow, Migrant and Argus – but I didn’t come across any aggregations like this over-wintering group. On the other hand, I did see a small group of Oak Blues deep within a group of small trees in a gully on the Many Peaks path.
Oak Blues (I think mine were Shining Oak-blues, Arhopala micale) are amongst the largest and brightest of a family of small butterflies, the Blues or Lycaenidae. I don’t see them very often, so this one is a bit special.
In spite of the common name of the family, nearly all Lycaenidae imitate dry leaves with their underside coloration and few are brightly coloured even on the upper surface of the wing (see them all here).
The most numerous insects on the Common that day were the grasshoppers and green-ants. I also saw a very handsome native cockroach (click here to see it, especially if you don’t believe cockroaches can ever be attractive) and a few dragonflies.