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Opportunism

August 16, 2013

Grey Shrike-thrush

Grey Shrike-thrush

A lovely 30 year-old specimen of a Smooth-barked Apple (Angophora costata) in our garden (an area exempt from our ‘plant local indigenous species’ policy) unfortunately succumbed to the extremely dry period extending from last spring through to early this winter. When we recently felled and sawed up the tree we discovered what may have been another contributing factor to its demise – the trunk and branches were riddled with wood-eating larvae, commonly and loosely referred to as bardi or witchetty grubs. It took very little time for our resident pair of Grey Shrike-thrushes (Colluricincla harmonica) to discover that the larvae represented a feast for them. Their long, slightly hooked bills are ideal for winkling out the grubs from their holes. For a good close-up picture of a grub click HERE to see a previous post by Ronlit.

Angophora stump - spot the bird!

Angophora stump – spot the bird!

Wood-eating grub - possibly a longicorn beetle larva?

Wood-eating grub – possibly a longicorn beetle larva?

 

The species name from the Greek harmonikos, meaning skilled in music, is entirely appropriate for this wonderful songster. A sample of its range of calls can be heard by clicking on the audio bar below.

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