Birds on the Town Common (and a few insects)

olive bird with white belly
White-throated Honeyeater

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)
The lagoon in front of Payet’s Tower, with its lone Egret

… and one each of …

… 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.

purple-blue butterfly
Shining Oak-blue inside the tree

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.

brown dragonfly perching
Common Glider

3 thoughts on “Birds on the Town Common (and a few insects)”

  1. I had seen White-throated Honeyeaters on a previous visit to the Common and in other parklands but I had never seen them in my own garden until yesterday, i.e. a week after I took these photos on the Common. I’m not sure how much of that is pure coincidence and how much is a spike in seasonal activity, but it is still nice to add them to my list of ‘my’ birds.
    They were feeding in the poplar gum, not on flowers because there aren’t any but on insects like this Rainbow Lorikeet.

    1. If you’re talking about the Oak Blues then yes, we do get them in the suburbs but not (in my experience) very often. I probably see one Oak Blue in my garden for every 20 Crows, 30 Cairns Birdwings and 40 Eurema. It’s mostly a matter of food plants, I think.

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