Elster Creek’s surprise visitor: a Pallid Cuckoo

Yesterday was hot and humid and after a lazy day I decided on a late afternoon walk along the creek at my back fence. I took my camera and 1.4 Extender to see what I could find up at the Elster Creek lake inside the Golf Course. At the lake, I ran into a young local birder/naturalist –  Gio F and we explored the creek up to a dense section looking for roosting Nankeen Night Herons but instead spotted a Pallid Cuckoo. It flushed a few times from high in the trees and we followed it around a few large Conifers trying to get a better angle for a picture. We ran into another local birder – David E (my birding mate from the Lake Tutchewop Twitch), who suggested that it was a young female Cuckoo probably starting the migration north and just passing through our area. They are quite rare in our part of the urban landscape.

Pallid Cuckoo, Elster Creek

Pallid Cuckoo, Elster Creek

Pallid Cuckoo, Elster Creek

Pallid Cuckoo II

Pallid Cuckoo, Elster Creek

Pallid Cuckoo III

 

Noisy Miners are native honeyeaters that have adapted extremely well to urban locations. They are a communal bird that are very aggressive and push out other species from areas. Some councils around Australia have started culling programs to reduce their numbers and it has worked – other species are making a come back.  The Miners, while being a pest are actually interesting to watch and study as they have 11 known warning calls for predators and a specific one for “raptors above”. We heard it used while standing at the lake and soon spotted a Brown Goshawk flying over.

The one below came over to have look at what we were up to – had it seen the Cuckoo, it would have put out a challenge call and brought the rest of the pack over. It seemed quite hot and was panting while it watched us.

Noisy Miner, Elster Creek

Noisy Miner, Elster Creek

Noisy Miner, Elster Creek

Noisy Miner II

Eastern Rosella

Eastern Rosella – this immature bird also came over to see what I was up to at the lake’s edge  – I was trying to entice a Little Grassbird out of the reeds by doing a bad impression.

Eastern Rosella

Eastern Rosella – I tried to mimic the Rosella’s calls ( a wide variety of piping chimes) and after a bit of a chat, the look he gave me suggested that I was a bit “special” and he took off…

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant in the evening light

Australian Reed Warbler

Australian Reed Warbler – I did entice this guy out with a call.

Australian Reed Warbler

Australian Reed Warbler II

4 responses to “Elster Creek’s surprise visitor: a Pallid Cuckoo

  1. One day you and I are clearly going to bump into each other… I regularly walk that section of the canal and around the Lake (admittedly at odd hours) and have been known to sneak into the golf course to look for wildlife… (the first time I distinctly recall I was following an eel up the canal). I live up in St Kilda next to the Botanic Gardens… the best time for birds here… probably spring… favourite bird up here – we have Tawny Frogmouths if you keep your eyes open.

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  2. I am sure we will meet up soon Andrew. And we have a few Tawny’s down this end as well. I have heard of the ones at the Gardens but have yet to find them. David E often reports them in his weekly surveys.

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  3. I most commonly see the frogmouths at night on the fence that surrounds the park. I have a snapshot of one sitting on my front gate post, and have also seen them along the canal. A few years back we had a visiting powerful owl. Very big bird. Thinned the possums out a bit before it moved on. Hideous screeches in the night as it went about its business.

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  4. Pingback: Spring is here… | The Gap Year and Beyond

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