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The Robin Routine

May 15, 2020

Some fauna like humans are creatures of habit. On my daily cycling trips I know what birds will be in what areas because in the right season they come back to the same spot. At the moment the robins are coming down from the highlands to winter in the district. It is a sure sign, if my fingers numbed with cold didn’t remind me, that winter is approaching. And every year they sit on the same stretches of fence line and ignore others.

First back, that is now, are the Flame Robins (Petroica phoenicea), pictured left. The scientific name comes from the Greek petros meaning rock, oikos meaning dwelling place and phoenicius meaning scarlet i.e. scarlet rock-dweller – a nod to the habitat where the type specimen for robins comes from, Norfolk Island.

Robins usually roam the landscape as part of a mixed flock of birds. Later on in the season they will be joined by Scarlet Robins (Petroica boodang) forming a colourful and noisy group. At first glance the two species look identical but the Scarlet Robin is black (as opposed to grey), has a black throat and a large white flash on the forehead (pictured right).

At the moment the Flame Robins are mixing with Yellow-rumped Thornbills (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) and European Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis), pictured below. The latter, introduced residents to Australia, are found widely throughout Europe and Asia. I have not seen Goldfinches in these areas before.

The bush is getting cosmopolitan (or over-run).

One Comment leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    May 15, 2020 8:00 am

    It is interested that this is the same sequence and species that occurs at my place near Murchison. Except the European finch, I have not seen those here yet.

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