May 19, 2010

Flutterings at Franke Scrub

The dam adjacent to Franke Scrub

My latest visit to the scrub was on a beautiful autumn morning. It was still quite cool in the scrub but the edges were alive with fluttering. Along the road verge it was all Caper White Belenois java, Cabbage White Pieris rapae, Wanderer Danaus Plexippus, and Large Grass Yellow Eurema hecabe butterflies. As I walked down the fenceline towards the water course my eye was caught by fluttering at the edge of the neighbour’s dam. Although in heavy shade there was much bird activity so perhaps the water was warming up enough to stir the insects. A number of small birds were flying down to the water then back to the wires on the fence or the scrub. They included, Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Double-barred Finch, Superb Fairy-wren, White-throated Scrubwren and Yellow-rumped Thornbill.

The constant to-and-fro made me pause and I sat on the grass to watch for about fifteen minutes. They were mainly after insects and I watched a beautifully coloured male Superb Fairy-wren bash the living daylights out of a large moth it had caught. The finches were more involved in drinking and bathing, but what interested me the most was one White-throated Scrubwren that looked as if it was actually after insects in the water. It was dipping its face into the water and making small movements. When it raised its head it didn’t seem to drink, but neither did I see it catch anything. I’ve never seen or heard of this with Scrubwrens before.


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