Monday, April 11, 2011


For the second time in as many months I have been kicked into action by the unfamiliar sound of a Crested Shrike-Tit calling about our house. Funny how your hearing becomes accustomed to the familiar sounds of home so quickly...

The first time I caught a glimpse of two birds working methodically along the branches and outer canopy of our neighbours' enormous River Red Gum. They had a distinctive 'chucking' sound used to keep in contact with each other while they went about their business, sadly, they didn't allow enough time for me to grab the camera - they took off after about 45 seconds.

Good things come to those who wait....or at least, those who live next door to one of the biggest Red Gum's in the area. Anyway, on April 3rd I was working in the backyard when an unusually strident, double-noted whistle tipped me off that something was nearby. Not the 'chucking' sound I had heard before....but enough for me to grab the bin's for a closer look. Sure enough...a CST! I ran inside and grabbed the camera, hoping it would still be there when I got back outside. I had missed it, but heard it call from another neighbouring yard. I did my best to mimic the double-note whistle and within 5 seconds the bird was within 5 metres of me, looking around with frantic curiosity trying to work out who was doing such a shoddy rendition of such a lovely call. I gave up on the whistling upon seeing that the bird seemed somewhat agitated....and gladly it obliged me with some cracking views!

Sadly, things are not going so well for this species in the Adelaide Hills and Plains with the Eastern subspecies Falcunculus frontatus  now listed as 'vulnerable'.

Wati Tjulpu